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The Staggering Number Of Cold Opens SNL's Darrell Hammond Actually Filmed

"Saturday Night Live" is one of the longest-running comedy series on American television. And over the years, over 100 cast members have come and gone. Many of these cast members would go on to have successful careers elsewhere. However, a select few would stick around "SNL" for extra-long stretches, continuing to share their comedy through the seemingly timeless sketch comedy format.

Among these veteran cast members, however, few can say they've been with the show for quite as long as Darrell Hammond, who appeared on the show for 14 consecutive years between 1995 and 2009 (via Hollywood Reporter). Save for Kenan Thompson, who dethroned Hammond as the show's longest-tenured cast member in 2017, nobody has been with the show that long. Even then, that record only applies to Hammond as a player in skits. If you count his time as the show's announcer — a position he has filled since 2014 — no other player (former or current) has had such a long working relationship with "SNL."

But that's not the only "SNL" record that Hammond holds. In addition to his Silver Medal prize in the "longest cast member" competition, he's also filmed a staggering number of cold opens across his "SNL" career. 

Darrell Hammond is the kingpin of the cold open

Episodes of "SNL" start off with no introduction, no theme song, and no monologue from the night's host. All of that, as far as "SNL" is concerned, is secondary to comedy. As such, the show opens with a sketch, often one where a cast member impersonates a politician or other hot-button figure from the week's news. And, without fail, each cold open ends with that iconic phrase, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!

Darrell Hammond has been the cold open lead in more episodes on "SNL" than any other cast member in the show's history. According to Grantland, Hammond served as the cold open maestro — uttering the final catchphrase — for a grand total of 70 episodes, though he's probably appeared in more cold opens than that. Notably, Hammond was known for his impersonation of President Bill Clinton and did a ton of cold opens during the president's tenure. The large number of times he's yelled "Live from New York..." illustrates just how frequently the show relied on Hammond to set off the show. It may be an achievement that flies over most people's heads, but it's one that is undeniably crucial to one of the most important institutions in comedy history.