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Joy Behar Page

Interview With Darrell Hammond; Interview With Marlo Thomas

Aired November 11, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Coming up on THE JOY BEHAR SHOW, former SNL star Darrell Hammond talks about overcoming intense child abuse and drug addiction to become the sketch show`s longest-running cast member.

Plus Joy`s pal, Marlo Thomas, dishes on politics and her new Broadway show. That and more starting right now.

BEHAR: On "Saturday Night Live" Darrell Hammond was known for doing hilarious impressions of politicians. Watch.


DARRELL HAMMOND, COMEDIAN: I will take my show on the road. I will support Barack Obama and I will not allow my finances to screw this up for Hillary, because if I`ve said it once, I`ve said it a thousand times, the last thing I want to do is screw Hillary.


BEHAR: Well, you know, making people laugh like that isn`t easy. And it`s even harder when you`re depressed and drug addicted. In his new memoir, "God If You`re Not Up There I`m (EXPLETIVE DELETED): tales of stand up, "Saturday Night Live" and other mind altering mayhem". Darrell talks about his successes, his struggles and his childhood growing up with a mother who made Joan Crawford look like Mother Teresa.


BEHAR: Joining me is my old pal Darrell Hammond.


BEHAR: Welcome to the show, Darrell.

HAMMOND: Thanks for having me on.

BEHAR: Oh yes, a mother.

HAMMOND: Yes, nice one.

BEHAR: Can I just say bitch?

HAMMOND: Yes. You can take it a step further if you want. It`s a good place to start.

BEHAR: I`m going to get into that a little bit. But first, I want to talk about the fact I was at a show with you this summer as the audience. I was in the audience. You were doing Truman Capote.


BEHAR: A one-man show, which is a hard thing to do. I must apologize to you in person now because my phone went off in the middle of your show.


BEHAR: You were so great. You turned to me in the audience and said, your kidney has arrived, madam.

HAMMOND: Yes. Except I looked over there, I said the line and I got the nice laugh and then I went, no. No. No, at that point, just forget this, I almost exited stage left. I didn`t know that was you.

BEHAR: You didn`t?

HAMMOND: Not until I looked the second -- I said it, then wait a second. No.

BEHAR: I just loved it, though, that you were so nice about it. You could have turned on me.

HAMMOND: No, I would never turn on you. I`ve seen you turn on others.


Now, this book -- excuse me -- this book is full of drinking, drugging, abuse at the hand of this merciless mother, self-mutilation, mental disorder. They should make it into a musical.

HAMMOND: Yes. On ice.

BEHAR: It is -- your childhood, darling, is like something out of Dickens?

Is it? I haven`t read dickens.

HAMMOND: Is it? I haven`t read Dickens.

BEHAR: You haven`t? Yes, you did.

HAMMOND: A couple of things but --

BEHAR: Well, you quote quite a few writers in here. You quote, Victor Hugo.

HAMMOND: Yes Victor Hugo.

BEHAR: You`re very literate in the book.

HAMMOND: I know I`m good at looking like I am, but I`ve only read a few of the classics.

BEHAR: Yes but you quote them very brilliantly.

HAMMOND: Thank you.

BEHAR: As if you`ve read a lot.

HAMMOND: All part of the plan.

BEHAR: Yes. Now for -- now and also the acting out recently I was interested to hear.


BEHAR: And sorry to hear that in 2010, you got drunk and tried to cut your arm off with a large kitchen knife.


BEHAR: What was that about? Did you just go see that movie "127 hours" or what?

HAMMOND: That`s exactly what I was -- no.

BEHAR: What -- what were you doing?

HAMMOND: Well, I was planning on writing a book and I thought that would be good for the prologue.

You know it was a kind of anger that had been sort of untreated. And I have always been designed to sort of nosedive my own aircraft. That`s what I was doing.

BEHAR: Yes. I mean it`s part of the history of self-mutilation that you were into also for a while. Where did you do this? Let me see your scar? Let me see your arm.

HAMMOND: I don`t want to put that on the air. I`ll show you off the air.

BEHAR: I`d love to see it.

HAMMOND: It`s all there. (INAUDIBLE) leg and arm.

BEHAR: Jesus.

HAMMOND: The idea is, when I was younger, it was about letting the people around me know that something terrible was happening in our house because you`re afraid to say something.

BEHAR: You`re afraid.

HAMMOND: Because something worse will happen to you. But then later, it became about creating a new and more manageable crisis than the one that -- the flashback you were having when they had you on the floor.

BEHAR: The section on drugs and mutilation and drinking and everything, you were working at "Saturday Night Live during a lot of this time? Right.

HAMMOND: Yes. All of it.

BEHAR: Did anybody know?

HAMMOND: Yes. Yes. And I was pretty closely monitored. I think that after one -- I think it says in there I was taken away in a straitjacket. After that, I sat down with Lorne Michaels and Bernie Brillstein and they both let me know that this needs to level off and dissipate or we can`t have you on the show anymore.

BEHAR: Couldn`t they help you before it got to the point where they had to take you away in a straitjacket?

HAMMOND: I think that Lorne probably instinctively understood that I needed that show to stay alive. To be alive. I needed something to get through the world and not be, you know, inundated by my own problems.

BEHAR: It`s interesting how comedians often come from a lot of pain and how we use it as sort of a shield, I guess.

HAMMOND: I don`t think you came from as much pain as me, though.

BEHAR: No, I didn`t.

HAMMOND: You`re not self-destructive at all?

BEHAR: No. I came from a loving family actually but I still have issues and things.

HAMMOND: Well, issues, that`s one thing.

BEHAR: I was really raging against the larger society rather than my parents.


BEHAR: It`s a little different kind of humor. But I mean the "Saturday Night Live" has a lot of people over there who have come from a tremendous amount of pain in their childhoods. I`m thinking of Belushi and Farley and a lot of them, even Gilda, I think had difficulties.

HAMMOND: Yes, there has been that.

BEHAR: There has been that.

HAMMOND: Sure. I mean if anyone knows how to deal with it, to deal with it, has had experience at it would be Lorne Michaels. Yes.

BEHAR: He does. And I think that it`s a great defense for people too, to be funny.

Tell me how you tried to negotiate with your mother. Because she has done -- she did some awful things to you. I mean I`m just going to read a couple of things to show people how mean she was.


BEHAR: When she slammed your fingers in a car door, did you know that -- how old were you when that happened?

HAMMOND: I think I was about 6. Most of the stuff happened between, you know, the ages of like 4 and 10. I think I was about 6 years old, we had just moved to a new house.

Hold your hand right there and then slam the door.

BEHAR: What provoked it, if anything?

HAMMOND: I don`t know. You know, she would -- this look would come over her and she`d be far away and distant. I expect she was having some sort of episode herself and then she would do something cruel.

BEHAR: Just being sadistic just for the sake of it?

HAMMOND: Absolutely.

BEHAR: Did you have -- you had a brother or sister, right?

HAMMOND: Sister.

BEHAR: Where was she in all this?

HAMMOND: She told me yesterday that they used to give her money to leave the house. I didn`t even know that.

BEHAR: So you were the scapegoat.

HAMMOND: I don`t remember that. I was -- none of this would happen. I mean people like this -- excuse me -- don`t leave witness, do they?

BEHAR: No. They wanted her to leave because she would be a witness to it. That`s interesting that you say that.

HAMMOND: Well, because it`s an elaborately constructed public life to conceal a private one. And church is the best way to do that.

BEHAR: And the way you described her it`s like she was different when she was in public than what she would be like in the house with you?

HAMMOND: Absolutely. Yes.

BEHAR: I`ve heard that a lot from people, too. My mother was -- my father was considered such a bon vivant outside and meanwhile he was a horror at home. You know?

HAMMOND: All right.

BEHAR: Yes. And then she used to hit you with her high heels.

HAMMOND: She one time hit me with her high heels.

BEHAR: And chuckled about it.

HAMMOND: That was a story that she enjoyed re-telling.

BEHAR: She enjoyed that? And then she stuck your fingers in the electrical outlet?


BEHAR: How old were you when that happened?

HAMMOND: 4 or 5, I guess. Coming up -- I didn`t remember so much until I was about 4 or 5 years old. I only remembered tiny bits and pieces, you know.

BEHAR: But it`s so counter-instinctive, in a way, to what a mother does. A mother covers the electric outlet, a mother protects a child. She`s doing the exact opposite. How unsafe a child must feel in a situation like that?

HAMMOND: I grew up pretty crazy, yes. I mean it`s in the book.

BEHAR: It`s in the book. And dad, where was he in all this?

HAMMOND: Recovering from the Nazis, from the Nazi war machine that haunted him until his dying days.

BEHAR: He was a World War II vet?


BEHAR: Traumatized.

HAMMOND: He was a medal winner. He was a war hero. He believed the Nazis were verifiable evil. He wasn`t a Bible guy but he didn`t believe they were of this earth, you know.

BEHAR: And yet his wife was evil in many ways.

HAMMOND: Most of the time he was drinking, and he also traveled a lot.

BEHAR: He traveled. He was not there to protect you, your sister was paid off to leave the premises and you`re alone with this woman.

This is such an obvious question. Was she ever diagnosed with schizophrenia or something like that?

HAMMOND: I don`t know. There was a time when after the stabbing incident, where she was, I believe, was taken away, for a while. I know that I was taken out of the house and taken over to my grandfather`s house.

BEHAR: What was the stabbing incident?

HAMMOND: Just popped in the tongue.

BEHAR: In your tongue.


BEHAR: So then she was taken away. So somebody did come --

HAMMOND: Something did happen.

And I remember later in life, you know, her saying to me, something about the mind can be fixed like a broken limb can be fixed. I -- but I do remember that she was -- she left and I left, and I wasn`t in that house for a while.

BEHAR: Yes, I mean, in those days a lot of mental illness went undiagnosed I think.

HAMMOND: I think so.


HAMMOND: And I`m not sure. I mean, I`m not an expert but I want to say that it -- that sort of mental illness may not be an airborne virus, it probably comes from somewhere.

BEHAR: Ok, we`re going to have much with Darrell Hammond.


BEHAR: And trust me you don`t want to miss it. He`s a very interesting guy and funny.

HAMMOND: Thank you.


BEHAR: I`m back with comedian Darrell Hammond.

You know, we were talking before about how comedians use -- funny kids can use their humor to deflect.



BEHAR: You know we all used it in school.

HAMMOND: Yes, yes.

BEHAR: And to get the teachers off our back and this and that.

HAMMOND: Funny people get invited to the party, too.

BEHAR: Yes. Exactly.


BEHAR: We use it for different things.


BEHAR: You use it to get out of a jam, get out of a ticket.


BEHAR: And now, you really needed it, I think, for your -- to save you, to really save your life. How did it -- how did it manifest when you were a kid?

HAMMOND: Well we had -- we did -- we had a record, a Christmas Carol with actors Paul Scofield and Ralph Richardson. And we used to do those.

BEHAR: You and your mother?

HAMMOND: Yes. We took turns playing the parts. And it really transported her.

BEHAR: She liked that.

HAMMOND: She got doe-eyed and I mean, she was -- her state was altered, she was for a small time happy. Yes.

BEHAR: So for a period of time, you could keep her off of you, away from you.

HAMMOND: Yes you could change. If she started to get that look over her face, I could go into porky pig and maybe change it.

BEHAR: And tell me about how you started to do impressions?

HAMMOND: She did them.

BEHAR: She did them?


She did all the people in the neighborhood. And then one day I remember I discovered I was talking like the next door neighbor, too. And I was like, well, maybe I can do this, too.

Yes, she would come home and said, wow, what an interesting day, Coach Brown came in and he said "What in the hell" -- you know and she would do the setup in her voice and then punch line in the character`s voice and that`s how you know I ended up doing stand-up and all that stuff.

BEHAR: That`s interesting.


BEHAR: I mean, so even though she was a horror, she still gave you that?

HAMMOND: That`s all -- yes. That`s what I did. I mean, I started young and that`s -- I was doing it pretty early.

BEHAR: Although you were a late bloomer in your career.


BEHAR: And as was I -- I mean, I think in a way it`s ok to be a late bloomer as a comic.

HAMMOND: Well I think if you`re funny --



HAMMOND: -- people will -- will pay you to be funny.

BEHAR: Yes I mean, they say that you`re a comedic genius. When you hear that, what do you think? How does it make you feel?

HAMMOND: I don`t understand the term.

BEHAR: Comedic genius?


BEHAR: Well, you can be brilliant, Darrell. You can be brilliant. I mean I think that you transform yourself and you transcend the character. And that`s what makes you such a good impressionist, such a great one. Because you`re not -- it`s not echo humor with you.

HAMMOND: What`s that mean?

BEHAR: You find -- well, you`re not just imitating somebody, you`re finding what it is in the character that makes it funny that makes it -- makes you want to watch it.



HAMMOND: Well, that is better than it`s ever been explained to me before.

BEHAR: Good.

Now you confronted your parents years later.

HAMMOND: Yes, yes.

BEHAR: I mean, they`re both gone I take it.


BEHAR: So you went to -- what did you do? Tell me about that?

HAMMOND: I called up -- you know this is -- I was in the emergency room one night at New York Presbyterian hospital, I own stock in. I mean, I was there a lot.


HAMMOND: I was there one night. And I told my story to this little woman. And she said you`re not schizophrenic, you`re not psychotic, you`re not any of these things, you`re not a multiple personality. You are this way because of something that happened to you.

BEHAR: Right.

HAMMOND: So I just sort of -- that turned my whole life around.

BEHAR: So what had you thought before that? That there was something mentally ill with you?

HAMMOND: Yes, yes. And that it was not explainable or describable. You know the sense that -- I mean, I think unknown terror, unnamed fears, fears you can`t pinpoint, that`s horrible.


HAMMOND: It`s better to know what it is.

BEHAR: It is better.

HAMMOND: So suddenly, this woman said, here`s what`s wrong and here`s what we`re going to do about it. And everything began to change slowly, but it began to change.

BEHAR: And how long ago did that happen? How long?

HAMMOND: That was about 13 years ago.

BEHAR: So then you started to get some therapy and tried to help yourself out? But you did have relapses? I mean it didn`t -- it wasn`t that smooth? You did cut yourself last year.

HAMMOND: Yes. And I think not only were there relapses, there were - - there were -- once I started that trauma therapy. I mean, part -- the danger of that is that you risk the patient`s life to save it. So once we started getting into that, sure there were flashbacks and it seems real at the time.

BEHAR: Because you have to remember in order to really forget it.

HAMMOND: To move on.

BEHAR: Yes. So when you went to your parents to confront them, what was that like?

HAMMOND: My mother --


BEHAR: Tell me where were they?

HAMMOND: They were in Florida. I was in New York and I called up and said, I`m in therapy for being tortured. Being tortured. And there was a pause and she said, in a husky tone, don`t ever call us again. Click. Then we didn`t speak until they died.

BEHAR: So no remorse?

HAMMOND: Oh my God, no.

BEHAR: No empathy for the child, nothing.

HAMMOND: My father, on the other hand, you know, he did have that. I mean -- we -- I had done the show with Obama at "SNL" the night before and they said my father was dying and he had only a day or so left if that. And he had taken himself off his morphine so that I could get there and we got there and he had arrayed his war medals across his chest --


BEHAR: Oh. His identity.

HAMMOND: -- to say here`s who I am. And I thought that was just enough which is fine.


HAMMOND: Great, I mean, I felt like I understood. I had a dad you know.

BEHAR: Yes. You feel for your father.


BEHAR: He suffered, too.


BEHAR: He suffered.


BEHAR: Ok. We`ll be back after a quick break.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s just go to animal sounds for $600. This is the sound a doggy makes. Mr. Connery?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that`s the sound your mother made last night.


BEHAR: I`m back with comedian Darrell Hammond. So funny. See what I mean?

HAMMOND: Why is that the funniest thing that ever I did? I mean it doesn`t make any sense that Sean Connery, A, hates Trebek. B, it`s not tomorrow (ph).

BEHAR: And yet it`s funny.

HAMMOND: He continually goes on this show just to harangue Trebek. And you know, usually you think the audience has to know what the premise is and agree with it.


HAMMOND: But here`s something bizarre. I mean I just was in my office one night. And I was doing lines from the movie "The Untouchables" and Will Ferrell was there doing Alex Trebek. And I said, "Not a fan of ladies, are you, Trebek?" I don`t know why. And then he only mentioned I think Western civilization.

BEHAR: You know, I was reading the book and I was thinking, you know, as a comedian, we both sort of had to do the same sort of -- I did much less of roadwork than you did. But you were a total road warrior. You said that you drove 1,000 miles a week on the road doing stand up?

HAMMOND: Sure. Sure. With Billy Gardell (ph) who`s now on "Mike & Molly".

BEHAR: Yes. That`s right.

HAMMOND: He was just a kid at the time. And he would drive. We`d take turns driving. He was a big guy. And he occasionally had to collect the money. I`m sure you`ve heard stories like that.

BEHAR: Tough road, oh man.

HAMMOND: The guys would just say, I`m not paying you. That`s it.

BEHAR: Right. 1:00 in the morning with like three drunks in the audience; that was a nightmare.

HAMMOND: In Murfreesboro, Tennessee and they don`t like you. Yes.

BEHAR: What was the worst? Did you have any hell-gig stories?

HAMMOND: I used to play these sports bars where they would put the game up on TV.

BEHAR: While you`re performing?


BEHAR: Oh, yes, that`s always --

HAMMOND: So, you`re part of -- they`re making out. They have -- I remember they had these punch bowls at the table and they were sipping with these long straws so that everyone at the table could sip gallons of Long Island iced tea. They were making out, they were fighting, the NBA playoffs were on. And I`m out there, any birthdays? Who`s got a birthday, anniversaries? Guys and girls are different.

BEHAR: Oh, it`s a nightmare in hell. People have no idea what it`s like.

And people love your Bill Clinton impression. I want to watch something at the White House Correspondents` Dinner of you. Let`s watch this.


HAMMOND: Typically, when I come in to mop up at the end of an event like this, I just finish reading from some prepared text and say things like, we must find common ground. We`re going to build a bridge to the 21st century.


HAMMOND: He`s such a nice guy.

BEHAR: He is a great guy, Bill Clinton.

HAMMOND: He`s the nicest man.

BEHAR: He is a sweet guy. I mean they did a number on him with that Lewinsky thing. And the comedians were horrible. I was terrible.

HAMMOND: Me, too. I was, too. I was, too.

BEHAR: And so were you. We were terrible. Please forgive us Bill.

HAMMOND: And the guy is -- he`s the nicest fellow, and has reached out on more than one occasion to demonstrate no hard feelings.

BEHAR: And they don`t get mad. They don`t get mad, politicians.

HAMMOND: He doesn`t. I think maybe some do, but I`ve never seen it.

BEHAR: No. Hillary, she doesn`t even --

HAMMOND: I don`t think she --

BEHAR: She doesn`t care.

HAMMOND: I don`t think she does. She`s got bigger fish to fry.

BEHAR: We have to take another break. But we have more with you so stay right there.


BEHAR: OK, we`re back with comedian Darrell Hammond. You had trouble doing -- playing John McCain. I read in the book that, you know, because he is -- he was wounded in Vietnam and all that--


BEHAR: And -- so tell me about that, because that`s--

HAMMOND: I was -- I was, you know -- I had just reached the I think highest spot of my life`s prime at a very late age, bonding with my father and learning that he was a soldier, and I lived in a soldier`s home. And it was -- you know, when they play "Taps" at a military funeral, I mean, that`s powerful.

BEHAR: That`s sad.

HAMMOND: And that -- I had just gone through that, and now I was asked to play Senator McCain, who is a great guy, and --


HAMMOND: I couldn`t do it. I mean, I didn`t want to let Lorne down either, but I just was not going to make fun of this guy.

BEHAR: So, you never did it?

HAMMOND: Well, I did it.


HAMMOND: But it was really half baked stuff. You know, I just couldn`t pull the trigger.

BEHAR: OK, how did you do the arm and the handicap in a way?

HAMMOND: I`m not -- not happening.

BEHAR: And you couldn`t pull it off.

HAMMOND: I wouldn`t.


HAMMOND: I just wouldn`t.


HAMMOND: You know, and I didn`t want to let Lorne down, on the other hand, so I just went out there and did something that was good enough to get the laughs that we needed. But I wasn`t going to do that. And he`s such a gracious guy.

BEHAR: But didn`t he say -- didn`t you tell Lorne that it was the first impression that you ever saw--

HAMMOND: He said it was the best of him. I thought he was being kind to me.

BEHAR: He is a very nice person.


BEHAR: I mean, I don`t want him to be president, I didn`t vote for him. But I think he`s a nice guy.

HAMMOND: Great guy.

BEHAR: Yes You also do a great Dick Cheney. So, Let`s look at a clip of my favorite, Dick Cheney.


HAMMOND: I`d like to take this time to address concerns about my health and the fact that George W.`s only a heartbeat away from the presidency. Well, from now on, I`m going to be hooked up to a portable heart monitor at all times. Turn this baby on. The sounds of this monitor will comfort all who hear it, reminding them that Dick Cheney is alive and relatively well.


BEHAR: Didn`t he ask you -- didn`t you perform for him in his bunker or something?

HAMMOND: It was a -- beneath a hotel in Virginia, a very unremarkable room to have the Republican power structure of the United States.

BEHAR: Beneath the hotel?

HAMMOND: Yes, in the basement.

BEHAR: In the basement. He invited you to come and do Clinton, right?

HAMMOND: To do Clinton making fun of him and his pals as Clinton. That was his idea, and he was the best laugher, and it was a great idea. They had a great time.

BEHAR: Did they pay you?

HAMMOND: No, no.

BEHAR: Oh, a freebie from the Republican Party --

HAMMOND: Oh, come on, it`s the vice president. I mean, it`s kind of an honor.

BEHAR: I would have demanded cash from Cheney, are you kidding me? I don`t work free for Republicans.

You also have some kind of joke with George W., they were all such great sports when you make fun of them, aren`t they?


BEHAR: And some of the impressions are scathing. And they still say, thank you, that was great.

HAMMOND: Yeah, I love that, and I was always -- I`ve always been a little scared of those guys, you know, those politicians, but they`ve always been real nice.

BEHAR: Yeah. Is there anybody who turned on you?

HAMMOND: Not that I`m aware of.

BEHAR: No? No. You must tell me, I know this is jumping around, but I just remembered this story when you used crack. Describe the crack -- describe that to me. Just the --

HAMMOND: OK, take the greatest orgasm you ever had, multiply it by five, and prolong it for 12 hours.

BEHAR: That`s what it`s like to smoke crack?


BEHAR: So what`s the down side?

HAMMOND: Yeah, no down side. Death, destruction, and -- but that`s a -- it`s well worth it.

BEHAR: And you also had a couple of stalkers, I understand?

HAMMOND: Yeah, I mean, it`s really when I really wanted to leave SNL when I got my second stalker. I didn`t want a bodyguard anymore. You know, we`re comics, right, we`re funny, we like making people laugh. And here`s someone that`s trying to kill you. I mean, I`m leaving NBC the same way that Hillary and Obama leave, you know, in a sub-basement in a secret tunnel. I didn`t want that anymore.

BEHAR: Were you the only one?

HAMMOND: I think there were others, but it wasn`t something that was discussed.

BEHAR: Was it someone that was out to hurt you or someone that loved you?

HAMMOND: The first one wanted to kill me and my family. But also had a shrine to me in her apartment.

BEHAR: Oh, weird.

HAMMOND: The second one kept claiming that I was her uncle, even though she was of a different race and from a different country. And I have no brother. And -- but the second one was kind of mild in comparison. But it was enough. I didn`t want to be afraid for my life anymore.

BEHAR: So now, let`s talk about you now. Because we`re almost to the end of this interview, which I`m enjoying. You wrote a book, you are finished with SNL. What now, what are you doing now?

HAMMOND: Well, I`m doing "Are We There Yet, the Ice Cube sitcom on WTBS next year.

BEHAR: So you`re going to be in a sitcom?


BEHAR: Who will you be playing?

HAMMOND: I`ll be playing a psycho.

BEHAR: No kidding.


BEHAR: I wonder who thought of that?

HAMMOND: Not a stretch, right?


HAMMOND: It`s terrible.

BEHAR: How do you feel about that? You are going to have to do the lines, you`re going to have to stand in a certain place. You know, it`s a little bit restrictive, a sitcom.

HAMMOND: We`ll see what happens. You know, I have a movie coming out, in which I play another psycho. And also I`m going to do something for Will Ferrell`s Funny or Die. Probably just some stuff with them, I mean, we`re talking about that now.

BEHAR: I still have to end with the story of Lucian Halt (ph) at the Comic Strip. You first -- the people love to hear this. When you first auditioned at the Comic Strip back in the day, what did he tell you?

HAMMOND: He said -- and you know how as a comic, you go up and you have your best set ever. And I had my best set ever, and he sat me down and he was like, I don`t see any reason why you should come back here. And I`m like, I thought I had a really good set. He goes, look at the wall. He shows me Farley, Sandler, Rock, Murphy on the wall. He`s like, we`re about stars, we`re about people that have it. I don`t think you have it. And I don`t think you should come back. And I would have shot myself if I could afford a shotgun. I didn`t even have -- I had like enough -- literally change to get back to Brooklyn. That`s horrible.

BEHAR: That`s horrible.

HAMMOND: That`s pretty bad.

BEHAR: He used to tell that to people a lot, that you`re never going to make it, so just get out of the business. Yeah. You weren`t the only one. I heard other stories. I never went there, because I don`t need the rejection. I went to Catch, Catch a Rising Star.

But if they turn this book into a movie, who would you like to see play you? Let`s play that game.

HAMMOND: Really?

BEHAR: Yeah. Mickey Rourke, Robert Downey, Jr., Meryl Streep?

HAMMOND: Philip Seymour Hoffman.


HAMMOND: Philip Seymour Hoffman.

BEHAR: Philip Seymour Hoffman. Yes. Perfect. And the two of you played Truman Capote. It has such symmetry, I love it.

HAMMOND: I don`t know if I could be more flattered than that. Yeah.

BEHAR: All I can say is good luck to you, you`re a fantastic talent.

HAMMOND: Thank you.

BEHAR: And a lovely guy. And it`s lovely to have you here.

HAMMOND: Back at you.

BEHAR: Darrell Hammond. His book is called "God, if You`re Not Up There, I`m [EXPLETIVE DELETED]." We`ll be right back. I so enjoy saying that title.

HAMMOND: It`s great.


BEHAR: Actress Marlo Thomas is the toast of Broadway these days, starring in "Relatively Speaking," an evening of three one-act plays written by Woody Allen, Elaine May and Ethan Coen. Can`t they find any good writers? Take a look.


MARLO THOMAS, ACTRESS: I`m always stunned that people listen to each other`s stories. It`s like having someone give you their underwear to keep. You`ll never use it. It doesn`t fit. It just uses up your space, and you can`t throw it out because it`s in your drawer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no idea what you`re talking about.

THOMAS: Neither do I. It was kind of a metaphor, but I got so bored in the middle of it, I just said anything.


BEHAR: I`m happy to welcome Marlo Thomas to my show. The wig, Marlo.

THOMAS: Yes, it`s a great wig, isn`t it? Everybody comes back, I thought you bleached your hair. I said, are you crazy? It would be impossible to ever get it back.

BEHAR: How are you doing eight shows a week with your other things on the Huffington Post and on your website and trying to take care of Phil Donahue, I mean how do you do it?

THOMAS: Like we all do it, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. But I`m having such a ball. 1,100 people a night to make laugh, that`s my idea of a good time.

BEHAR: Phenomenal. I am going to talk about it a little more later, but first, I have got to get some hot topics from you.


BEHAR: Because you`re on top of all the news.

THOMAS: Oh no, I`m not.

BEHAR: I read your blogs. I saw your Huffington piece --

THOMAS: Yes, today, yes.

BEHAR: -- about Joe Paterno. Tell me about it. You say a couple of very interesting things, like for example that there are no women involved in any of this.

THOMAS: Interesting. Isn`t it? I wonder if there was any woman involved in that athletic department, if they wouldn`t have moved quicker? You know?

BEHAR: Do you think so?

THOMAS: Oh, I would imagine. I would imagine so.

BEHAR: It`s true.

THOMAS: We don`t have this thing of protecting the boys club. The idea that you would protect the boys club and not the children is so outrageous. I sat up in this middle of the night writing that blog, I was so upset.

BEHAR: Everyone is just up in arms about it. It`s disgraceful.

THOMAS: And they`re rioting against the firing.

BEHAR: I know. Well, they love Joe Paterno, you know what I mean, because apparently he took care of them and he made this huge, huge error.

THOMAS: Right. Well, he did. He had a great life and lots of good decisions in his life, but this was a bad decision not to follow this through.

BEHAR: This is a bad mark on his record.

THOMAS: And all the pedophile stories we`ve lived through in the past 10 years, we`ve never read or I`ve never read a description of a child in that situation, a description of a kid with his hands up against the shower. It made me so upset, I just thought I would go --

BEHAR: It`s disgusting.

THOMAS: Just disgusting.

BEHAR: And it happens all the time.

THOMAS: And the poor parents of that child.

BEHAR: I was reading the Times, there was a Times the other day about how they think that it`s the Boy Scouts and the church and this, but that nine times more than that happens is in the family, nine times. Your uncle, your father, even maybe your mother and aunt. I mean, it happens that way, too, not that often.

THOMAS: But this was a club they had formed supposedly to help children and build character for these boys, and then to make it --

BEHAR: What about the Herman Cain story? Have you ever been sexually harassed? I have.

THOMAS: Oh, yes.

BEHAR: You have?

THOMAS: Yes. But as a grown person, so I was able to say, stop it.

BEHAR: Tell us what happened. I want to know.

THOMAS: No, I don`t want to talk about it.

BEHAR: You don`t feel -- was it anybody famous?

THOMAS: No, no.

BEHAR: Some creep came up to you?

THOMAS: Yes. Yes.

BEHAR: They`re always creeps, they`re never -- they`re never George Clooney. You know, it`s always some -- I was watching the Republican debate last night, and I noticed that Maria Bartiromo -- did you happen to see it?

THOMAS: No, I didn`t. I was on stage, actually.

BEHAR: She -- oh, people were just -- they were booing her because she happened -- she dared to ask a harassment question instead of an economy question.

THOMAS: It`s just amazing to me that the records are not clean on these people. It`s amazing to me that they run knowing that this is all going to come out. We know it now. And if that`s who you are, what are you doing in something called public service?

BEHAR: Well, I think there is an arrogance to it. They don`t believe -- Herman Cain, he knows that these two suits were against him, and he just did it anyway.

THOMAS: Well, he believes that the boys club will protect him. It`s time for whistle-blowers to be in the boys club.

BEHAR: Somebody -- I was tweeting things last night, and a woman wrote to me, Joy, I admire you because you`re not afraid to say what you think. I wish that I was like that. And I thought, why aren`t all girls raised to say what they think? I was. Weren`t you?

THOMAS: We`re Italians.

BEHAR: Is that why?

THOMAS: You can`t stop Italians from talking.

BEHAR: That might be the answer. I never thought of it that way.


THOMAS: We both had Italian mothers. I couldn`t keep my mother quiet.

BEHAR: And your father was Lebanese, so--


THOMAS: He was noisy, too.

BEHAR: Yes. He was noisy. But OK, let`s talk about your show.


BEHAR: You`re in this one-act play written by Elaine May. It`s just the funniest thing to watch you do Elaine`s material.

THOMAS: It`s great.

BEHAR: You know.

THOMAS: It`s like getting up on the top of a ski mountain and just following the trees, and you are going to end safely at the bottom of the hill. I mean, she`s just a brilliant, brilliant writer.

BEHAR: She is. And you`re very funny playing a woman whose husband just dropped dead.

THOMAS: Only Elaine May could take grief and make it that funny. But what it really is is two stages of grief, two of the stages.


THOMAS: One is denial and one is acceptance. And so my character gets to make that journey from denial to acceptance. And a lot of people are shocked that the play takes that turn, because it`s so crazy funny, you know, up until then.

BEHAR: Well, some widows are happy, I guess, aren`t they?

THOMAS: But she`s not happy, she`s just running away.

BEHAR: She`s crazy. And she`s quite funny, though, and very self- absorbed.

THOMAS: Totally.

BEHAR: I mean, I thought you nailed that character of the narcissistic disorder really well.

THOMAS: That`s completely it. I`ve seen it before.

BEHAR: Oh, yes. It`s kind of all over the place.

THOMAS: I was raised in Hollywood. How far off could I be?

BEHAR: That`s true. Did you have anybody in mind? Did you make a substitution?

THOMAS: Yes. There`s a woman in my elevator, actually.

BEHAR: In your building now?


BEHAR: Really? I sure hope she`s watching, although she probably wouldn`t know who she is.

THOMAS: No, she wouldn`t know, no.

BEHAR: She would think it`s somebody else.

THOMAS: That`s right.

BEHAR: But how do you handle bad news, I was wondering?

THOMAS: Bad news?


THOMAS: I cry, depends on what news. If somebody dies, I cry. I`m very empathetic. I jumped out of the car the other day, my husband was really mad, it was raining, I jumped out of a car because a horse looked uncomfortable in front of a carriage because he was going like this and putting his head -- so I went, I said to the jockey who was smoking a cigarette and not seeing, I said, could you just lengthen that thing a little bit? So he did. He lengthened it. I`m a very empathetic person. So when it happens to me, it`s even worse, you know, I`m even more upset.

BEHAR: Of course. And the other thing is, you got great reviews for your part in this play.

THOMAS: Thank you.

BEHAR: And I`m just wondering, I mean, you had a long career. You`ve been an actress for quite a while now -- I mean, from that girl to this girl.

THOMAS: Right. Woman, woman.

BEHAR: To this woman. Yeah, you did the "Free to Be You and Me." You played a mental patient, Marie. What was her name?

THOMAS: Walter.


THOMAS: Walter.

BEHAR: Which was a great --

THOMAS: It was a wonderful -- Lee Grant, our friend Lee Grant directed that.

BEHAR: She did?

THOMAS: It was great.

BEHAR: And do you -- would you ever get any bad reviews?

THOMAS: Well, sure. I`ve gotten bad reviews. Who hasn`t?

BEHAR: How do you handle it?

THOMAS: I cry and get upset, throw things around. It`s not fair.

BEHAR: Do you read them?

THOMAS: No, I don`t read them until it`s over.

BEHAR: Until what is over?

THOMAS: Until the whole play is over.

BEHAR: Oh, I see.

THOMAS: Our producer, Julian Schlossberg (ph), read me some lines so that I would feel good about nice things people said. But I don`t want to read the whole thing. Because first of all, if they say oh, we love it when she touches her head to the thing -- then I can never do that again without being self-conscious. And if they say, I hate when she touches her hair against -- then I can`t do that either. So it`s just better that I wait until it`s over. Then I can have a distance from it and say, oh, really, that`s what they thought.

BEHAR: Yeah.

THOMAS: Now I don`t want it to affect what I`m doing. I have great joy in what I`m doing, and I`m happy the reviews are good, but I don`t want anything to touch the joy that I`m having.

BEHAR: Oh, you`re having a ball.

THOMAS: I`m having a ball and I don`t want anything to touch Doreen, the character I`m playing. I want to get out there every night free and brave and do it, you know, what I`m supposed to do.

BEHAR: Do you ever have stage fright?

THOMAS: No, I don`t, thank God.

BEHAR: Really?


BEHAR: Wow. Ever? Never? You go out there and you don`t have the shpilkus (ph) or anything?

THOMAS: I have excitement and anticipation. Stage fright means you can`t think and you can`t talk. I don`t have that, but of course I have excitement.

BEHAR: Stage -- I`ve never understood that, because I have had the nerves, but I always go out and do it.

THOMAS: Of course. Of course.

BEHAR: So that`s not stage fright?

THOMAS: No, no. Stage fright -- well, Lee Grant has talked about that.

BEHAR: She has.

THOMAS: When you stop talking and you can`t remember anything. Even the thought of that gives me stage fright.

BEHAR: Do you think Rick Perry had stage fright last night? Because he could not remember the third thing, agency that he wants to cut. He could not remember. So you`re (inaudible), you don`t know what`s going on in the world--


BEHAR: You`re in your own little world. Oh, it was brutal. You should just Google it.

THOMAS: I will, I will.

BEHAR: Google it.

THOMAS: My husband is my contact with the world right now. I come home from the theater and he says, you know what happened here, what happened here, what happened here.

BEHAR: Yes, thank God you have Phil Donahue, watching the news.

THOMAS: That`s right. I`ll get back to it.

BEHAR: Thank you so much for doing this.

THOMAS: Thanks for having me.

BEHAR: You`re just wonderful in the play.

THOMAS: Thank you.

BEHAR: Be sure to check out Marlo in the new Broadway show, "Relatively Speaking," and we`ll be right back.


BEHAR: My next guest is well known as one of the real housewives of Beverly Hills, but she`s also a real restaurateur, a real businesswoman and a real author. Her new book is called "Simply Divine," a guide to easy elegance and affordable entertaining. Please welcome to the show, Lisa Vanderpump.


BEHAR: Nice to have you, my dear.

VANDERPUMP: Thank you.

BEHAR: So affordable? I don`t think so.

VANDERPUMP: Oh yes, yes, absolutely. It`s pretty down to earth, this book (ph).


VANDERPUMP: It`s pretty down to earth. I`ve taken recipes from my restaurants and things I`ve cooked for my husband over the years. I have been married 30 years. You know what that`s like, so I kind of just put it all together. And I`ve written for a magazine for three years, so kind of a natural progression.


VANDERPUMP: You know, to put it all together.

BEHAR: Well, I went through it, and you make everything look expensive, but maybe it isn`t.

VANDERPUMP: Well, it`s all smoke and mirrors, really, but that`s what it`s about. You know?

BEHAR: That`s true. That`s true.


BEHAR: OK. Now, let`s talk about "Real Housewives," because this guy Russell Armstrong, poor thing, he committed suicide, and it`s been, you know, the show -- how did you do the show after that?

VANDERPUMP: Well, we were pretty much finished filming. I mean, it was -- we just had a couple of interviews. It was very difficult then. It was really, really the most difficult thing for us all to, you know, deal with.

BEHAR: I`m surprised they were able to continue the show?

VANDERPUMP: Well, they did. They made that decision, so we had to support it. And we went out there very kind of pretty soon after he committed suicide.

BEHAR: I know. And then the other thing is on a recent episode, one of your cast mates, Kim Richards, she dropped a bombshell that she was using a combination of all sorts of prescription drugs. Lexapro, which is anti-anxiety, like Prozac-ey, and then Topamax, which is an anti-seizure drug, and Trazodone, which is a sleeping drug.

VANDERPUMP: I don`t know any of them. Give me a Tylenol PM and it sets me over the edge. I`m useless. I can`t--


BEHAR: That`s quite a combo. I mean, Trazodone -- it`s a wonder she didn`t fall asleep in the middle of taping.

VANDERPUMP: Well, she probably was. I`m taking some heat this week, because I imitated her.

BEHAR: You imitated her?

VANDERPUMP: Yes. I was -- you know, I was talking like that. I was doing her voice. I`ve taken some heat this week for having a laugh. But you know, I love her. I`m not a doctor. I don`t know what you can take. Just give me a Tylenol PM and it`s too much.

BEHAR: Are they worried about her over there? I mean, have they intervened or something?

VANDERPUMP: No, I don`t know. That was last week she said something about that. That might not be all together. I`ve not a clue, not really what`s going on there.

BEHAR: Right. They do what they do, you do what you do.

VANDERPUMP: Yes, exactly.


VANDERPUMP: And I`m so busy getting on with my life. I don`t really know. We get together at events, but --

BEHAR: Now, Lisa, you haven`t had any plastic surgery? How do you live in Beverly Hills? I thought it was against the law to go there without it?

VANDERPUMP: No. I mean, they put pictures of me up like when I was 16 and stuff. So no, pretty much I look the same. I`ve had a bit of a filler. And I`ve had botox--

BEHAR: Oh, the filler? Oh, who hasn`t had a bit of a filler.

VANDERPUMP: No, I -- these are the same, these are my own. This is all pretty much the same, a little bit of botox.

BEHAR: You`re beautiful.

VANDERPUMP: Oh, thank you.

BEHAR: You`re very pretty. And congratulations on your happy marriage, and the new book is called "Simply Divine." Lovely.

VANDERPUMP: Thank you.

BEHAR: Thank you for watching. Good night, everybody.