Darrell Hammond opens up about cutting, abuse in NPR interview

darrell-hammond-gi.jpgFormer "Saturday Night Live" cast member Darrell Hammond opens up about his less-than-idyllic upbringing and decades-long struggles with drugs and mental illness in his new memoir, "God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F-----: Tales of Stand-Up, 'Saturday Night Live' and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem."

In an interview with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air" to promote his book, Hammond speaks very frankly about his struggles with self-mutilation and abusive parents, frequently pausing after becoming overwhelmed with emotion.

"I've been in treatment since I was 19 and I'm 56," he admits. 

He opens up about cutting himself, saying, "It's just enough to draw red and create a crisis that's manageable," though says he was on seven different medications while appearing on "Saturday Night Live," and now he's only taking one antidepressant. 

Hammond says he wrote his memoir because he wanted to speak out about his horrific childhood. "The agreement between perpetrator and victim in which the victim agrees to remain silent because he's in fear. I wanted to write about it," he tells Gross.

Tragically, Hammond says he was never able to speak to his parents about his upbringing. "When I began trauma therapy, I called [my mother] on the phone and I said, 'I'm being treated for the symptoms that prisoners of war [get], Mom, but all I did was grow up in your house. Can you talk to me about that?' There was a pause and then a husky-throaty thing where she said, 'Don't ever call us again.' Click. And I didn't talk to them until their deathbed.' "

Hammond made headlines in late October when revelations from his book first came to light, including the fact that he was addicted to crack and even spent time in a Harlem crack house during his 14-season "SNL" run.
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