Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: Gregorio Binuya / Getty Images
Photo: Gregorio Binuya / Getty Images

When it comes to Donald Trump impressions, two people immediately come to mind: The President Show’s Anthony Atamanuik and Saturday Night Live’s Alec Baldwin. We don’t often think of Darrell Hammond, who played our current president on the latter show when he was just a dickbag reality show host instead of one of the most powerful people on the planet. Yesterday, the Washington Post published a piece that chronicles Hammond’s reaction to being overlooked for Baldwin, and it’s fucking sad, man.

In late 2015, Hammond returned to SNL to play Trump, and the actor ended up moving to New York once it became clear that Trump wasn’t going anywhere and that there would be more opportunities for him on the show. Longtime showrunner Lorne Michaels decided that wouldn’t end up being the case, however.

“I needed another force, on an acting level, to have the power that Trump was embodying then,” Michaels says. “The Darrell Trump… it wasn’t the Trump that had gotten darker. It was the Trump from ‘The Apprentice.’ ”

Hammond did not take the news well. It was all his girlfriend could do to get him back to his apartment.

“I just started crying,” he says. “In front of everyone. I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock, and I stayed in shock for a long time. Everything wiped out. The brand, me, what I do. Corporate appearances canceled. It was a hell of a shock, and all of it was apparent to me in one breath. That ends me.”


What really hurt Hammond, however, was that Michaels himself never spoke to him about the decision personally, which comes as a shock considering the showrunner has seen Hammond through his dark days of drug abuse and self-harm (see Nathan Rabin’s deep dive into Hammond’s memoir for more on that). In the wake of his disappointment, Hammond disassociated himself from all things Trump and was prescribed medication to temper his anxiety and maintain his sobriety. Now, a little less than a year later, he’s putting himself out there again in Michael Moore’s current Broadway show.

Check out the whole article for much more, including some debate about whether this sort of celebrity-style Trump impression is even right in 2017.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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