One of Saturday Night Live's longest-tenured cast members is being called upon to replace SNL's longest-serving employee. In August, SNL announcer Don Pardo passed away at the age of 96. Pardo had introduced the cast nearly every season since the sketch comedy show kicked off in 1975. With the 40th season of Saturday Night Live set to premiere on September 27th, producer Lorne Michaels has recruited Darrell Hammond, a member of the SNL cast from 1995 to 2009, to take over in the announcer role, the New York Times reports.
During his 14 years on SNL, Hammond established himself as one of the show's greatest impressionists, most notably his impersonations of then-President Bill Clinton and Sean Connery in those incredible Celebrity Jeopardy! sketches.
As the New York Times notes, Hammond was also forced to impersonate Pardo himself when the announcer suffered from laryngitis during a 1999 episode. On that James Van Der Beek-hosted show, Hammond's Pardo actually interacted with the guest host as part of the opening monologue. Overall, Hammond was thrust into the announcer role a handful of times during his tenure, so he was the logical choice to succeed Pardo.
"I’m really happy about it. I think it will be good to have Darrell doing his own separate thing," Michaels said of Hammond's new role. However, as opposed to doing a Pardo impression, Hammond will instead voice the intros in a way that will be both different and a tribute to the longtime announcer. "It can't be what it was, but it could sort of be in the same tradition," Michaels told USA Today. "And it will be nice to have Darrell around. He understands the show and will probably be helpful in ways we haven't yet figured out."
Earlier this month, Chris Pratt and Ariana Grande were announced as the show's host and musical guest for the season premiere. Sarah Silverman and Maroon 5 will appear the following week, with SNL alum Bill Hader returning to host the show on October 11.