Jackson at Occupy Wall Street in 2011
|Born||Victoria Lynn Jackson
August 2, 1959
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, comedian, singer|
Victoria Lynn Jackson-Wessel (born August 2, 1959) is an American comedian, actress, satirist, singer and internet blogger best known as a cast member of the NBC television sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live (SNL) from 1986 to 1992.
After SNL, she appeared in a number of movies and appears as a stand-up comedian. A right-wing activist, she is an active participant in the Tea Party movement and received press attention as an critic of U.S. President Barack Obama, whom she describes as a "communist" and "Islamic jihadist".
Jackson was born in Miami, Florida, the daughter of Marlene Esther (née Blackstad) and James McCaslin Jackson, a gym coach. Raised by devout Christian parents in a home without a television, she was trained in gymnastics by her father from ages 5 to 18. Jackson attended the private Dade Christian School, where she was a cheerleader and the Homecoming Queen. She subsequently attended Florida Bible College in Hollywood, Florida. Fourteen years of gymnastics competitions led to a scholarship at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. She left Furman due to lack of finances, transferring to Auburn University, where her brother was studying architecture, in 1979. Despite getting few major roles and being told by theatre instructors that her voice would hamper her career, Jackson said in 1989 that of the three colleges she attended "Auburn was my last one and favorite one." She earned a degree in theatre from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2007.
Appearing in summer stock in Alabama led to a chance meeting with Johnny Crawford (of the 1950s television series, The Rifleman), who cast her in his night club act. She moved to Los Angeles where she supported herself with various day jobs as a cigarette girl, a typist at the American Cancer Society, and a waitress, while she performed comedy at night. Her first big break was her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson where she performed what would become her signature act: doing a handstand while reciting poetry. She ultimately appeared on the show 20 times.
In 1985, she co-starred on the short-lived series Half Nelson.
In 1986, Jackson was hired to join Saturday Night Live for its 12th season, following Lorne Michaels' firing of most of the 11th season's cast and writers. Jackson appeared on Weekend Update with Dennis Miller, again reciting poetry while doing back-bends or handstands on the desk. Some of her recurring characters included Brenda Clark from Toonces the Driving Cat; Jenny Baker, a Christian girl who appears on "Church Chat"; Nancy Maloney, a nightclub singer for The Jungle Room and Susan Keister, the daughter of the Keister family (played by Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks). Jackson's impersonations of celebrities and famous persons included: Calamity Jane, Christina Applegate, Cyndi Lauper, Donna Rice, Eydie Gorme, Fawn Hall, La Toya Jackson, Linda Blair, Lulu, Rob Lowe, Roseanne Barr, Sally Struthers, Susan Olsen (as Cindy Brady), Tina Yothers (as Jennifer Keaton), Tipper Gore, and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Jackson appeared in a number of films including Baby Boom with Diane Keaton, Family Business with Sean Connery, The Pick-up Artist, The Couch Trip and I Love You to Death during the time she was a cast member of Saturday Night Live. She had leading roles in Casual Sex? (with Lea Thompson) and UHF (with "Weird Al" Yankovic).
Following her departure from Saturday Night Live in 1992, Jackson was cast as the lead of her own sitcom co-starring George Clooney; the pilot was taped, but the show was scrapped without being broadcast. She played Beverly in the 1994 "Good Cop, Bad Cop" episode of In the Heat of the Night. She starred in an episode of The X-Files titled "The Rain King" as the unrequited love of a small town man who can control the weather. She appeared in the movie No More Baths in 1998 and in the Comedy Central series Strip Mall, in 2000. She had a regular role in the Nickelodeon show Romeo!, with Lil' Romeo for its first season, from 2003 to 2004, as the nanny, Mrs. Rodgers. In 2005, Jackson starred in the second edition of the VH1 show Celebrity Fit Club. In 2006, she was cast as Lolita Dorchuck in the mockumentary 20Q, directed by Benjamin Keith. Campin' Buddies, a 2014 release directed by Tom Logan (director), starring Ray Stevens and Tom Lester, showcases Jackson's talent for bringing oddball characters to life. In it she portrays seven different characters. The sheriff, the tow truck driver, the mechanic, Kitty Litter, Joleen, Victoria and the park ranger.
Jackson is a Christian and has appeared on programs such as The 700 Club and Politically Incorrect. She also appears at Christian-oriented venues, and performed a stand-up routine in the 2007 Christian comedy concert Thou Shalt Laugh 2: The Deuce, which was hosted by Tim Conway.
In 2010, Jackson stated that she did not learn how to vote until the 2000 presidential election when she was in her 40s. She maintains a personal website containing numerous postings highlighting her conservative political views. She criticized Democrats during the 2008 general election campaign, particularly presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama and Minnesota U.S. senatorial candidate (and fellow SNL alumnus) Al Franken. In October 2008, she appeared with other celebrities in a National Republican Senatorial Committee advertisement poking fun at Franken, then followed up with an interview on The O'Reilly Factor, where she called Obama a "communist." She has repeated the communism claim on multiple occasions. In 2015, she added that he was an "Islamic jihadist" who supported the Islamic State, saying that his support for legal abortion and same-sex marriage showed he was not a Christian. For these remarks, Salon described her as a conspiracy theorist.
When Obama won the election, she wrote on her blog: "Voters in our last election did not base their decision on facts or knowledge, but on hype, emotion, peer pressure, and racial fervor. It didn't help that the liberally biased media blocked Americans' access to the truth", and she said Fox News is "the only one we should watch."
In 2011, Jackson wrote that she thought she was being spied on because of her conservative views. That same year, Jackson criticized the TV show Glee for showing a kiss between two male actors, calling it "sickening", and cited the Bible as one of her reasons for making such a statement. When accused of being homophobic, Jackson countered that that was merely a "cute liberal buzzword", and suggested that Glee should be replaced with a show promoting celibacy instead.
In 2011, Jackson joined the staff of Patriot Update as a writer and video blogger. Her video on Occupy Wall Street gained national attention when she returned to her former home during her Saturday Night Live years, to interview 'Occupiers' in Zuccotti Park. Soon after, Patriot Update launched a brand new show called Politichicks, featuring Jackson, Ann-Marie Murrrell, Jannique Stewart, and Jennie Jones. One song she wrote for "Politichicks", titled "Shariah Law," includes the lyrics "They [Muslims] like beheadings and pedophile weddings". She also hosts her own web series, The Victoria Jackson Show.
In 2012, Jackson published her autobiography, Is My Bow Too Big? How I went from Saturday Night Live to the Tea Party.
After Rep. Todd Akin's remarks regarding pregnancies from rape, Jackson was quoted as saying, "If I got raped, I would have the baby. And if I didn't want to keep it because I had these horrible nightmares, I would adopt it out. But I think that God can turn a bad thing into a good thing. And that, if I got raped and a beautiful baby who was innocent was born out of it, that would be a blessing."
In 2014, Jackson filed a petition as an independent candidate for the County Commission, running for one of two District 2 seats in Williamson County, Tennessee. Jackson garnered 632 votes, failing to secure either seat against the incumbents.
During an interview on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, her UHF co-star "Weird Al" Yankovic joked that her "right wing rants" were almost as funny as her work in UHF and, when asked by the hosts how "she turned into this weird fascist," he replied "yeah, I don't know what happened to her."