“The worst crime is not what happened.
The worst crime is being expected not to tell.”

-Darrell Hammond

In Cracked Up we witness the impact that childhood trauma can have over a lifetime through the incredible story of award-winning actor, comedian, master impressionist and Saturday Night Live star, Darrell Hammond.  Darrell is famous for his impressions of Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Sean Connery and more, but few know his true story and the suffering he endured.  Darrell performed brilliantly on live TV, but behind the scenes he struggled with debilitating flashbacks, self injury, alcohol and drugs and once was taken out of SNL in a straight jacket. Darrell was misdiagnosed for 40 years with different mental illnesses and put on a long list of medications. After a suicide attempt, Darrell finally met the doctor who gave him the proper diagnosis of “childhood trauma”.  Courageously transparent, Darrell takes us through his past and present day experiences with incredible resilience, vulnerability, wisdom and humor.

Cracked Up will be a rallying cry to join a movement that is transforming our communities one by one to become trauma informed.  The science is clear - toxic stress in childhood changes the architecture of the developing brain creating ill-health downstream. Darrell’s courageous story of hope will not only move, entertain and inspire, it will break down barriers of stigma and move us all closer to better prevention and treatment with understanding and compassion.


“My doctor said to me, 'I don’t want you to say mental illness,
I want you to say mental injury…’ let's tell the whole story.”

- Darrell Hammond


Film team

Director: Michelle Esrick
Producers: David Becker and Michelle Esrick
Co-Producers: Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker
In Association With: Artemis Rising Foundation
Executive Producers: Regina K. Scully, Geralyn White Dreyfous,
Becky Newhall, Laurie Benenson, Bill Benenson
Composer: David Robbins
Original Song and Lyrics: Diane Warren
Executive Music Producer: Bonnie Greenberg
Editors: Mark Juergens and Adam Yaffe
Additional Editor and Post Supervisor: Brian Miele
Cinematographers: Chris Hegedus, Thorsten Thielow, Daniel B. Gold, Tom Bergmann,
Joan Churchill, Zac Nicholson, Martina Radwan, Kristen Johnson
Impact Campaign Strategist: Bonnie Abaunza

Featuring:  Darrell Hammond, Lorne Michaels, Steve Higgins, Christopher Ashley, Dr. Nabil Kotbi, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Whoopi Goldberg, Larry Laskowski (Darrell’s childhood friend).