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Book review: Darrell Hammond’s ‘God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked’

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God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked
Two and a half stars
By Darrell Hammond, $26

SNL impressionist Darrell Hammond packed 10 lifetime’s worth of batsh*t-crazy stories into one book. If even half of these stories are true, that guy has my respect for still being alive.

God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked isn’t your typical celebrity abuse/celebrity addiction tale; this stuff is hardcore. Hammond’s mom didn’t hit him with a belt; she used a hammer. Hammond didn’t get wasted before he went on air; he cut himself with razor blades, then went to a crack den. He didn’t get an intervention; he got carried out of NBC in a straightjacket.

But it’s hard to know what to believe. Hammond isn’t always precise with his language, and by his own admission, his memory isn’t spectacular. I also get the sense that Hammond was given the note, “Spend almost no time describing really interesting things, but lots of time going over cliché stuff.” Hence a two-page description of Times Square in the ’70s.

“You took your life into your hands if you were there after dark … peep shows, strip clubs, triple-X movie houses and head shops … Prostitutes for every appetite trolled Seventh Avenue looking for prospects: women with 48JJ breasts spilling from fake rabbit fur halter tops and lipstick red hot pants, six-foot-tall Puerto Rican transvestites in stilettos and fishnet body stockings, toothless old heroin scags charging $2 extra to take their dentures out for a blow job, young hot runaways in gold lame and fake eyelashes making eyes at the wizened chicken hawks … pimps … in a full-length fox fur coat and matching hat.”

Did he miss a single stereotype there? It’s frustrating, because Hammond is capable of writing great, brief sentences, too: “She told me on my wedding day years later that she only married my father, Max, because her own father had threatened ‘to beat the living daylights’ out of her if she didn’t.”

In the end, it gets an A for content, B for attempt, F for execution.

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