Victoria Jackson turns 55 tomorrow, but most of us would like to fondly remember her as the bubbly blonde 20-something Saturday Night Live castmember with nice gams. Unfortunately, that’s not how most of us will ultimately remember her, because in the years since SNL Jackson has become a frothing, high-pitched mouthpiece for the extreme right-wing Tea Party crowd, so much so that even level-headed Tea Partiers (if that’s even a thing) make the finger-twirling motion to the side of their heads when her name comes up.
But why? How did such a (somewhat) promising young comedian end up spiraling into insanity? I decided to do some investigating and put together this comprehensive timeline in an attempt to solve the mystery.
Victoria Jackson was born in Miami, Florida — which, in retrospect, says a lot right there — in 1959 to a bible-thumping family. Her father was a gymnastics coach so she participated in gymnastics throughout her childhood — a talent which would obviously make its way into her act once she found fame. She was a cheerleader and homecoming queen as a teenager and attended the Florida Bible College, which is not exactly an auspicious way to start a comedy career. After graduating, Jackson moved to Hollywood where performed as a stand up comic, landing regular gigs on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson before getting hired to Saturday Night Live.
1986-1992: Saturday Night Live
Jackson was most well known for her Weekend Update appearances alongside fellow right-winger Dennis Miller (and eventually, Kevin Nealon). She’s actually most most known for her Weekend Update appearances wearing tiny cabaret shorts doing song and dance numbers, but since I’m held to Yahoo!’s lording over SNL clips, here’s one of her investigating terrorism in Central Park, ironically:
I have searched the internet far and wide and cannot find any record of this, but — although Jackson was not yet into politics — I swear I’ve heard cast stories from during her tenure at SNL which claim that she would often get preachy with the other cast members, even handing out bibles. Again since I can’t confirm anything, this is just rumor mill stuff. If anyone can help me out in the comments, I’ll update.
1989: Starred in UHF
During her tenure at Saturday Night Live, Jackson appeared in cult favorite UHF starring Weird Al Yankovic. This was probably one of the bigger moments in her career, and she even apparently dated Yankovic for a brief time between her first marriage to Nisan Evantoff (which also ended in 1990) and second, current marriage to Paul Wessel in 1992. Alas, Weird Al couldn’t fix whatever was wrong with Victoria Jackson.
2000: Was a Series Regular in Strip Mall on Comedy Central
Other than doing some voicework on Garfield and Friends and random television appearances on everything from Touched by an Angel to The X-Files, this was Jackson’s last medium-profile acting gig. I can’t find a single clip on the entire internet of Strip Mall, which I think I watched once or twice on Comedy Central and don’t really remember all that clearly. But apparently Strip Mall also starred Jim O’Heir — a.k.a. “Jerry” from Parks and Recreation, so that just blew my mind a little. And since I couldn’t find any images with Victoria Jackson in them, enjoy this instead:
2007: Victoria Jackson Stumbles Into Politics
According to Fox News, 2007 was the year that Victoria Jackson found out what politics were, later claiming that she didn’t even know how to vote prior to the year 2000.
Jackson became political in 2007, when she said she stumbled into an “underground conservative group of people” in Los Angeles who told her that someone was running for president who is left of Hillary Clinton. She thought to herself, “Hillary’s a socialist, who would be left of Hillary? That would be communist.”
Here’s an appearance on the O’Reilly Factor in which Jackson recalls getting into politics. Crazy or no, I have to give her points for not letting that turd O’Reilly goad her into sh*t-talking her former SNL castmates.