Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The exact moment Victoria Jackson stopped being funny is up for debate, but I think she was crazy all along -- only we didn't start to see it until she had nothing left to lose.

Honestly, I don't really remember her being funny on SNL.  I do remember her annoying voice -- and specifically -- that I thought it was an affected voice used to make her sound stupid.  It turns out, that voice is her own and the stupid part, well, that was completely unrelated.

She was raised by devout Christians.  The kind that don't have televisions in their house.  That, in and of itself, is not a crime, but when you add the fact that she was taught gymnastics by her father from the age of 5 to 18 -- yes, her father -- you get the sense that she has a narrow worldview.  She went to bible schools and Christian colleges and studied theatre before moving to Los Angeles to seek her fortune.

Jackson on Johnny Carson
Her big breakthrough was on the Tonight's Show with Johnny Carson.  She performed what had become her signature act.  She did a hand stand while reciting poetry.  Ground breaking, I know.

I can't imagine this signature act is what got her onto SNL, but considering how often they dragged the handstand poetry bit out during Weekend Update, they had to think it was worth something.  I don't want to undermine her success on SNL, but she was hired for the 12th season in 1986 after Lorne Michaels famously fired most, if not all, of the on air talent and writing staff from season 11.  Let's just say, there was a void that needed to be filled.

Despite her six year run on the show, I defy anyone to tell me a single character she created that made one tiny bit of impact to popular culture.  Sure, she played supporting parts in other people's creations, but she is not known for anything memorable on the show except for being kooky and having the most annoying voice in SNL history.  It seems a crime that she was surrounded by some of the most creative, talented comedians of the 20th century and none of their talent seemed to rub off.   I dare say, some of her kookiness rubbed off on Dennis Miller as he, too, has become a kooky right-winger, talking on Fox News with the same five people that agree with him.

After her departure from SNL,  Victoria did her best to re-invent herself as a Ukelele folk singer, but it never really caught on and she fell deeper into obscurity.  Then somewhere after 9/11, she re-emerged as an angry, islamophobic right-wing nutjob.  Of course, she may have been this nutty all along, but her lack of relevance and non-existent career made it easy for her to speak up.  She simply had nothing left to lose.  In fact, in the years since 9/11, the crazier and nuttier she presents herself, the more attention and press she gets.  I'm not sure anyone with half a brain actually listens to what she says, but she gets the attention.

Recently, she joined the staff of Patriot Update, an ultra conservative website that panders to the most extreme elements in the Republican party.  She can now be seen spouting ant-gay, anti-muslim clap trap in that same, annoying voice we couldn't take seriously back in 1986.  Now, we're expected to believe her when she says Sharia Law has been instituted throughout the country and that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the highest levels of our government -- including the White House.

The irony, of course, is that if this was a character she was portraying on SNL, it would be a stroke of genius.  It would be truly inspired.  The fact that she is for real, while unintentionally hilarious, is downright scary.

Maybe if she said it while doing a handstand it might make more sense.



  1. What frightens the fuck out of me is how many nut jobs are totally taken seriously: Kanye West and Ron Paul come to mind immediately. It blows my mind that people hear Paul's ideas and think: Hey that would really make things great around here.

  2. Agreed. I see Ron Paul as a kind of Tyler Durden from Fight Club. He starts this Project Mayhem idea. It sounds good. He's making sense, then he slowly tips over into complete anarchy and chaos.