How Darrell Hammond Keeps The Spirit Of Don Pardo Alive As 'SNL' Announcer

05/29/2015 04:27 pm ET | Updated May 29, 2015

Darrell Hammond's new gig playing Colonel Sanders in ads for Kentucky Fried Chicken is just one thing keeping him busy these days. The "Saturday Night Live" alum returned to the iconic sketch show this past season as the series' new announcer after the 2014 death of 96-year-old Don Pardo, who occupied the position for nearly 40 years.

During a conversation with HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri on Friday, Hammond said he was initially hesitant about taking the job.

"First of all, I've never been an announcer, and I wouldn't know how to do anything like that. And [the 'SNL' team] said, 'Well, we're going to create a sound,'" Hammond said. "And I was like, 'How? What kind of sound do you want to create?' And they said -- and this sounds weird -- 'It's going to be Pardo but not Pardo.' I was like, 'I'm down. I'll try it.'"

Hammond and the producers spent a week working in a sound booth to arrive at the voice viewers hear at the start of each show, which is a mix of the new and the old.

"What we ended up doing was decided to put Pardo in four or five different vowels. So when you hear the montage, there are four or five vowels that I'm clearly doing Don Pardo. But it's just the vowels," he said.

Ultimately, Hammond is pleased that he gets to pay tribute each Saturday to Pardo, who he called "one of the classiest dudes I ever knew."

"So basically, he's not forgotten. We know that he's gone, but he's not forgotten. That's how we designed it," Hammond said.

Also on HuffPost:

  • 1 Sean Connery
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    Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Wiig as Kathie Lee Gifford, Tom Hanks, Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery, Norm McDonald as Burt Reynolds during the 'Jeopardy!' skit on May 16, 2009 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 2 Dick Cheney
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    Pictured: (l-r) Darrell Hammond as Dick Cheney, Will Ferrell as George W. Bush during the 'Cheney In Makeup' skit on May 16, 2009 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 3 Jay Leno
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    Pictured: (l-r) Fred Armisen as Larry King, Darrell Hammond as Jay Leno, Bill Hader as Conan O'Brien (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 4 Johnny Cash
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    Pictured: Darrell Hammond as Johnny Cash during the 'Unearthed' skit on Dec. 6, 2008 (Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 5 Bill Clinton
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    Pictured: (l-r) Seth Meyers, Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton during the 'Weekend Update' skit on Nov. 22, 2008 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 6 Regis Philbin
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    Pictured: (l-r) Darrell Hammond as Regis Philbin, Amy Poehler as Kelly Ripa during the 'Live with Regis & Kelly' skit on Nov.1, 2008 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 7 George W. Bush
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    Pictured: Darrell Hammond as President George W. Bush during 'Weapon Discoveries' skit on Nov. 1, 2008 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 8 Wolf Blitzer
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    Pictured: Darrell Hammond as Wolf Blitzer during 'The Situation Room' skit on Feb. 24, 2007 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 9 Don Imus
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    Pictured: (l-r) Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Darrell Hammond as Don Imus during 'Weekend Update' on April 14, 2007 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 10 Arnold Schwarzenegger
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    .Pictured: Darrell Hammond as Arnold Schwarzenegger during 'Kuatos' skit on April 21, 2007 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 11 John Travolta
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    Pictured: (l-r) Rachel Dratch as Rhonda Rogan, Darrell Hammond as John Travolta, Maya Rudolph as Oprah Winfrey during 'Oprah' skit (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 12 Rodney Dangerfield
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    Pictured: (l-r) Darrell Hammond as Rodney Dangerfield, Horatio Sanz as St. Peter during 'Rodney in Heaven' skit (Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 13 Donald Trump
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    Pictured: (l-r) Donald Trump as Jerry the Janitor, Darrell Hammond as Donald Trump during 'The Prince and the Pauper' skit on April 3, 2004 (Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 14 Chris Matthews
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    Pictured: Darrell Hammond as Chris Matthews during 'Hardball' skit on Oct. 28, 2006 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 15 Dan Rather
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    Pictured: Darrell Hammond as Dan Rather during 'The Fringe Candidates Debates' skit on May 12, 2007 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 16 John McCain
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    Pictured: (l-r) Andy Samberg as Carl Levin, Darrell Hammond as John McCain, Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton during the 'Petraeus Report on Iraq' skit on April 12, 2008 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 17 Jimmy Carter
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    Pictured: (l-r) Fred Armisen as Thomas Friedman, Justin Timberlake as Robin Gibb, Jimmy Fallon as Barry Gibb, Darrell Hammond as Jimmy Carter, Kristen Wiig as Sandra Day O'Connor during 'The Barry Gibb Talk Show' skit on Dec. 16, 2006 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 18 Don Knotts
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    Pictured: (l-r) Bill Hader as Vincent Price, Darrell Hammond as Don Knotts during 'Vincent Price's St. Patrick's Day Special' skit on March 11, 2006 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 19 Pervez Musharraf
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    Pictured: (l-r) Bill Hader as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Darrell Hammond as Pervez Musharraf, Amy Poehler as Kim Jong Il, Fred Armisen as Hugo Chavez during 'Hugo Chavez Political Roundup' skit on Sept. 30, 2009 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 20 Al Gore
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    Pictured: (l-r) Darrell Hammond as Al Gore, Seth Meyers as John Kerry during 'Weekend Update' on Jan. 21, 2006 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 21 Bill O'Reilly
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    Pictured: Darrell Hammond as Bill O'Reilly during 'The O'Reilly Factor' skit on Dec. 10, 2005 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 22 Clint Eastwood
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    Pictured: (l-r) Darrell Hammond as Clint Eastwood, Kenan Thompson as Bernie Mac, Seth Meyers as Sean Penn, Fred Armisen as George Carlin during 'Sean Penn's Celebrity Roast' skit (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 23 Jesse Jackson
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    Pictured: (l-r) Seth Meyers, Darrell Hammond as Jesse Jackson, Kenan Thompson as Al Sharpton during 'Weekend Update' on Feb. 10, 2007 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 24 Donald Rumsfeld
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    Pictured: (center) Darrell Hammond as Donald Rumsfield during 'Town Hall Meeting' skit (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 25 Geraldo Rivera
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    Pictured: (l-r) Darrell Hammond as Geraldo Rivera, Will Ferrell as Neil Diamond, Chris Kattan as Gay Hitler, Jeff Richards as Drunk Girl, and Jimmy Fallon as Himself during 'Weekend Update' on May 18, 2002 (Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 26 Fred Thompson
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    Pictured: (l-r) Darrell Hammond as Fred Thompson, Fred Armisen as Sam Waterston during 'A Message from Fred Thompson ' skit on Oct. 6, 2007 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 27 George Lucas
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    Pictured: Darrell Hammond as George Lucas during the 'HBO First Look' skit on Jan. 12, 2002 (Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 28 Dr. Phil
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    Pictured: (l-r) Rachel Dratch as Jamie, Tom Brady as Ken, Darrell Hammond as Dr. Phil McGraw during 'Dr. Phil' skit (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 29 Ted Koppel
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    Pictured: Darrell Hammond as Ted Koppel during 'Nightline' skit on March 6, 2004 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • 30 Brit Hume
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    Pictured: (l-r) Will Forte as George W. Bush, Darrell Hammond as Brit Hume during 'Special Report' skit on Oct. 21, 2006 (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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