Darrell Hammond performs in Sarasota

The long-time 'Saturday Night Live' star brings his stand-up act to McCurdy's

mclear@bradenton.comJuly 10, 2014 

Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Darrell Hammond brings his stand-up act to McCurdy's Comedy Theatre in Sarasota this weekend. PUBLICITY PHOTO

If you been meaning to check out the new McCurdy's Comedy Theatre in Sarasota, this is a great weekend to do so.

Darrell Hammond, the Tampa-born comedian and impersonator who holds the record for being a "Saturday Night Live" cast member longer than anybody else, will bring his stand-up act to McCurdy's for four shows Friday and Saturday.

Hammond is a McCurdy's veteran, going back to the days when he was performing at open mic nights around Florida.

"A lot of the 'Saturday Night Live' people haven't done well with the transition to stand-up," said Les McCurdy, the owner of McCurdy's Comedy Theatre. "Darrell's one of the ones who does stand-up really well."

Hammond said he has soft spot for McCurdy's.

"When I first started out, I worked at one of his clubs," he said in a phone interview from his Manhattan home. "It's great club and he's a great guy."

Unlike most of the people who have passed through 'SNL' over the years, Hammond came from stand-up comedy.

" 'Saturday Night Live' does sometimes pick stand-up comedians, not just sketch comedians," Hammond said. "People like Norm McDonald and Dennis Miller. That's how they found me, doing stand-up at Caroline's in New York City."

Still, people who know Hammond from 'SNL' will see a lot of familiar elements when they see him in Sarasota, including his spot-on impersonations of everyone from Sean Connery to Bill Clinton.

"I do a lot of politicians, but it's not political humor," he said. "It's good for Democrats and Republicans. I'm not really talking about their politics. It's more like, 'This guy's funny when he does this.' "

When he's not doing stand-up, Hammond is devoting his time to developing a stage version of his memoir. The book deals with -- among other things -- his violently abusive mother and his struggles with depression and addiction.

The show, which is still unnamed, has been in development for a couple of years. It started out with a full cast, but has been pared down to a one-man show with Hammond playing himself and the other characters in his life.

It will open in La Jolla, Calif., and, after a few dozen performances, it should hit Broadway in early 2015.

"They say it takes three to five years to get a show ready for Broadway," he said. "We started with this one about two and a half years ago, so we're right on schedule."

The new McCurdy's -- the fourth location for the 25-year-old, nationally known comedy club -- opened a few weeks ago on Ringling Boulevard. It's about a third larger than the previous club.

Details: July 11-12, McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Show times: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $43, Information: 941-925-3869, mccurdyscomedy.com.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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