Back in May of this year, KFC tried to cash in on our love of nostalgia while still presumably trying to appear hip and “with it” (two-decade-old SNL episodes are what the kids are into, right?) by bringing back their Colonel Sanders character and casting Darrell Hammond in the role.
Colonel Sanders, as played by an actual live action human, hadn’t been at the forefront of a KFC marketing campaign in decades, and it’s not quite clear why KFC thought Hammond would be a good fit. Was it his odd GW Bush-ish accent? His lack of having anything better to do? Whatever the reason, it apparently wasn’t good enough, since some new ads were released this weekend, showing Hammond had been replaced by none other than his SNL castmate Norm Macdonald.
As that clip shows, not only did KFC replace Hammond, they did so aggressively and— unless there’s some good hearted playful history here that the public doesn’t know about and Hammond hasn’t commented on— were kind of mean about it. Showing Hammond’s Sanders and basing your campaign around him being an unwanted impostor? Maybe they wanted to confront the change head-on to avoid the “what happened to Darrell Hammond?” conversation, or the mockery that always comes when shows think they can recast characters without us noticing. (Sorry, Bewitched, Dick Sargent is #NotMyDarrin.) But this is a TV commercial, and no one really cares, so it just seems weird and unnecessary.
The real question is why did KFC think Norm Macdonald is the person to sell their chicken? Was Hammond just not creepy enough? Did they want a different but equally questionable accent? Or maybe they weren’t aware that Norm MacDonald is notoriously terrible with corporate sponsors? Whatever the reason, I’ll leave it to you. Is this the man you want to sell you your chicken?