'SNL' Star Darrell Hammond Used Acting Skills to Hide Crack Addiction

Some stars don't do a very good job of hiding their struggles with addiction (Andy Dick, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan . . .), while some manage to keep the worst of their troubles out of the public eye. For Saturday Night Live comic Darrell Hammond, he's definitely had more than his fair share of substance abuse demons—but it's only now that he's written a book that people realize how bad things truly were.

Hammond, who became famous for his impressions of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Dick Cheney, has published an autobiography titled God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F-----. In it, he pulls no punches when it comes to difficult revelations about his past addictions, and even describes being taken from NBC "in a straightjacket."


Hammond confesses that he heavily indulged in alcohol and drugs as he rose to fame on SNL, saying,

I kept a pint of Remy in my desk at work. The drinking calmed my nerves and quieted the disturbing images that sprang into my head ... when drinking didn’t work, I cut myself.”

In what had to be a rock bottom incident for Hammond in 1998, cops took him from the NBC infirmary to New York Hospital in a straitjacket. He wrote that his wife came, but he couldn't even recognize her at the time.

Things continued to spiral out of control, and Hammond wrote that in 2002,

I’d started adding an obscene amount of cocaine to my binges ... I had to be creative about how I did it without other people catching on or letting it interfere with the work. At least too much.

During his 14th SNL season, and having one rehab stint under his belt, Hammond relapsed in 2009—and this time he started using crack.

Hammond finally kicked his habits after months of treatment, and he recently started earning raves doing the one-man show “Tru." Unfortunately, the play was cut short because he was struck by another vehicle during the summer, in an accident which broke his ribs and injured his back.

I'm kind of amazed the guy went through all this and never really ended up in the tabloids, but it just goes to show you never know what's going on with people. Anyone could be holding it together on the outside while their private life is falling to pieces. As someone who's personally struggled with addiction, I know firsthand how humiliating and shameful it is to admit your own failings, and I'm sure it's been a healing process for him to write this book. I hope he's able to continue his path to recovery, even while weathering the setback of injury.

As for what his former workplace has to say, copies of Hammond’s book were sent over to SNL Thursday, and he’s waiting for reaction. He says,

I don’t have anything bad to say about anyone there. They all really went above and beyond the call for me.

Did you have any idea Darrell Hammond had these kinds of problems? Do you think SNL shouldn't have covered it up?

Image via Flickr/zachklein

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