Out of the dozens of impressions Darrell Hammond became known for during his time on Saturday Night Live, there's not one that's more remembered than that of Sean Connery. Hammond's Connery impression was a mainstay on SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy sketch, something that's spawned a handful of iconic quotable moments throughout the years for any fans of pop culture. The impression helped launch Hammond's comedy career — in fact, in one recent interview he says his Connery impression is the most successful thing he's done in his performing career.
"When I was doing shows at colleges, kids from many countries would hold up signs with their favorite 'Celebrity Jeopardy' lines. I say to people it's the most popular thing I ever did, but I feel like I almost did nothing. And I am not doing false modesty here when I tell you that," Hammond recently told THR. "The writers were Emmy winners, the hair and makeup were Emmy winners, the costumers are Emmy winners. Nobody looks less like Sean Connery than me and they made me look a lot Sean Connery. So I always would tell myself, just go out there and speak trippingly."
Connery passed away over the weekend at 90 years of age. It was revealed by his wife after the fact he had suffered from dementia in the later years of his life.
"It was like a last-ditch effort on a Tuesday night around four o'clock in the morning because I had nothing to turn in or sell to any of the writers. I was always taught that an audience needs to understand your premise and kind of agree with it in order to laugh," Hammond said of his first-ever Connery impression. "In other words, you can't educate or show them something new and get them to laugh at the same moment. So I thought, nobody's going to believe Sean Connery doesn't know things, or nobody's going to believe that he hates Alex Trebek. The premise doesn't make any sense. And yet it's one of these instances where the stars were in alignment."
The comedian concluded, "He's one of those guys like [President Bill] Clinton that's so popular — someone actually said this once of Daffy Duck, as well — the character is so popular that you can do anything. You can do slapstick with Sean Connery, you could do drawing-room comedy with Sean Connery — there's no kind of comedy that you can't do when people are so eager to hear from that person."
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