It was “Sunday Night Live” Sunday evening at Woolsey Hall when self-described “professional clown” and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Darrell Hammond performed 75 minutes of comedy. Yale College Council President Elliott Mogul ’05 said at least 1,600 students were in attendance. After the show, the Yale Daily News chatted with Hammond about politics, comedy, and superheroes.
Yale Daily News: Happy Birthday, in advance. [Hammond's birthday is Oct. 8, two days after the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live."] I know you play a lot of people who are older than you are, which is a very rare thing in television. How are you going to celebrate turning 43?
Hammond: I have to give this speech that night in honor of the president of NBC. Let me tell you how my life is — I have a daughter who is five and a half and I got back together with my wife and her. I do things like I watch CSI and I just want to take care of them. One of the tabloids had pictures of Chris Farley and Belushi and me with a question mark — those were much darker times — [My wife, daughter and I] go to the park, we go to our favorite restaurants. I should do something wild and crazy I guess. I’ll probably just hang out with the family and kick back.
Yale Daily News: How did you get your start in comedy?
Hammond: I started out doing these voices for Disney World, for the theme park — and I decided to do an open mic night. At that time, there were a lot of open mic nights in Florida. Then I came to New York and got turned down at every club. It was weird how every club I went to someone would turn me down.
Yale Daily News: What reactions have you received from people you’ve impersonated on SNL?
Hammond: They really like it. They like it a lot. You know, [Vice President Dick] Cheney has invited me more than once to private affairs. I’ve been invited to Congress to perform and I have. I’ve played the Clinton White House and the Bush White House. People respond to it really well. Maybe they don’t like it, but — I don’t really get personal with people. And maybe that’s why they like me a little bit more. Sean Connery said something nice to me the other day.
Yale Daily News: Are you going to do a Cody Banks sequel?
Hammond: I don’t know. I don’t think I’m going to be in that sequel. I was just doing “Scary Movie 3″ and this Olsen twins movie. It’s odd that I auditioned for so long for parts but people could only see me as, you know, Clinton, you know. It took a long time for people to actually go, “Oh, yeah” — I auditioned for such a long time before people started offering.
Yale Daily News: Do you ever go into Harlem and go golfing with Bill Clinton?
Hammond: Go to Harlem to go golfing with Bill Clinton?
Yale Daily News: Yeah.
Hammond: No, I’ve never hung out to do things like that. It’s usually more like formal affairs. But I certainly would.
Yale Daily News: OK, if you were a superhero, who would you be?
Yale Daily News: OK, who would be your sidekick: Horatio Sanz or Jimmy Fallon?
Hammond (incredulously): Sidekick?
Yale Daily News: Yeah, you can pick someone else if you want.
Hammond: I don’t know. I like them both a lot. It would have to be both. Together, they’re just unbelievable.
Yale Daily News: I know you’re going to be in the Olsen twins movie, “New York Minute.” Why did you pick that movie? What was your mindset?
Hammond: Well, they had Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin in it, who are like idols of mine. And it has Andy Richter in it.
Yale Daily News: So the Olsen twins aren’t idols of yours?
Hammond: No. I didn’t really know much about them. I didn’t understand they were a giant, giant corporation. It’s awe-inspiring to watch.
Yale Daily News: Will you promise to never, ever, ever leave SNL?
Hammond: They’ve offered me to stay as long as I want. It keeps me in New York. Good money. I love the job. I don’t know why I would [leave SNL]. Maybe I would. I haven’t thought about it yet. But thank you for that compliment.