Saturday Night Live‘s longest-serving cast member has returned to the fold.
Darrell Hammond, 58, will belt out the names of cast members old and new when SNL kicks off its 40th anniversary season on Sept. 27, 2014.
Hammond has appeared onscreen in a record 280 episodes of SNL, both as a regular cast member from 1995-2009 and also in cameo roles to reprise his impersonations of Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and others. Hammond is replacing Don Pardo, who died last month at the age of 96. Hammond had filled in for Pardo before, and had expressed interest in returning.
“I sat in for Don when he had laryngitis several times over the years,” Hammond told USA Today. “He was a lovely person. When he passed, they wanted me; it felt right for me to be the one to replace him. It’s been a very improbable life; I didn’t expect something like this, but it feels real good.”
And Lorne Michaels told The New York Times: “There were a lot of sweet ideas about carrying on with Don somehow. Because everyone has a Pardo impression. But he had the greatest run and he’s a completely beloved figure. So I thought: Don’t turn this into something else. That period ended.”