On Stage at the Kennedy Center: The Mark Twain Prize Celebrating Lorne Michaels 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)
Carol Burnett once said "Comedy is tragedy plus time," and if so, then "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) star Darrell Hammond has waited long enough. The only child of an unstable housewife and a World War II veteran, Hammond suffered an emotionally and physically abusive childhood, the scars of which haunted him into adulthood. He developed an ear for mimicry, using his natural comedic talents and eye for observation to help soften his mother's rage, and later studied broadcasting at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Though an initial move to New York City ended in him returning to Florida, Hammond returned a few years later and caught the eye of "SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels. After joining the legendary sketch series in 1995, Hammond's impressions of everyone from Bill Clinton and Sean Connery to Dick Cheney and Chris Matthews made him one of the show's core performers. Outside of "SNL," Hammond appeared in the Judd Apatow-written "Celtic Pride" (1996) and the ill-conceived "Blues Brothers 2000" (1999); lent his voice to the animated film "The King and I" (1999); and even wrote and starred in his own 2000 Comedy Central stand-up special. But his success wasn't enough to heal his painful past; he struggled with drugs and alcohol and cut himself on a regular basis. A revolving door of psychiatrists and mental hospitals led to him and his wife divorcing in 1994, only to remarry three years later. Hammond's star kept rising even as he was falling; in between flashbacks and drug relapses he appeared on such shows as "Primetime Glick" (Comedy Central, 2001-03); made his Broadway debut in 2007 in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee;" and was cast in a recurring role on the legal thriller "Damages" (FX 2007-2010, Audience Network 2011-12). The release of his 2011 memoir, "God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked," drew widespread acclaim and signaled a turning point for the troubled but talented actor. He has been knocked down, but Hammond keeps getting up again.