By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Victoria Jackson hurtles through intersections and down side streets while using her left hand to hold a Flip video camera to her face. The inside of her car — a weathered Honda Civic with "Nobama," Marco Rubio and Tea Party bumper stickers — smells like it's been fumigated with sweet incense. Steering with her elbows and the occasional pinkie, Jackson opens a Bible inscribed with her name and quotes scripture in her inimitable, high-pitched voice. Then she turns the camera on a reporter riding shotgun. She suspects he's a socialist. "Don't you think that some people are on welfare from cradle to grave," she demands, "because the government is encouraging them never to work?"
"Leaving on a Jet Plane," her ringtone, blares from some unknown recess of her purse, and she's suddenly burrowing through loads of makeup cases to find it. "What if we crashed and died on video?" she says, laughing wildly. "That would be the most viral video of the world! You'd be dead, but you'd have a really viral video!"
At age 52, Victoria Jackson bears little resemblance to that lithe and sweetly dopey girl with the grating voice on Saturday Night Live. And you wouldn't recognize her from those eight, mostly forgettable '80s and '90s feature films such as I Love You to Death and No More Baths. She's more plump. Or, as Howard Stern recently put it, she "looks like she ate Victoria Jackson."
Her comedy career, which took her from Johnny Carson's stage in Los Angeles to 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, long ago squeaked its last breath. These days she's a Miami-area suburban grandmother and wife of a buff local cop with a Bad Boys–esque career full of shoot-outs and commendations. And to some Christian conservatives, she is a seer of truth. The Washington Post once described her thus: "If you opened her head, it would be filled with cotton candy." Now the former daffy actress is a bizarrely riveting semiregular political pundit on Fox News.
She's no Keyboard Cat. But videos uploaded of her — on cable news programs, on her online talk show or filmed by her own erratic hand — have in just the past few months amassed more than a million page views. She has strummed a ukulele while harmonizing that Muslims "like beheadings and pedophile weddings." Even Bill O'Reilly laughed at her when she compared Barack Obama to "Castro in Cuba, or the guy in China, or Saddam Hussein." She has declared, in protest of a gay kiss on Glee, that homosexual children need to "pray the gay away" and that there's a "spiritual war in America."
But calling her the lunatic fringe is at most half-right. She has been invited to the office of Republican Florida Rep. Bill Posey, who commiserated when she said Obama has "the fakest birth certificate I've ever seen in my life." She has gained a sympathetic audience with nearly every GOP candidate of the 2012 presidential campaign (excluding the guy she calls a "fake conservative," Mitt Romney). She rode the Tea Party Express bus with Herman Cain and joined Michele Bachmann at a D.C. rally, where the crowd chanted, "There's a communist living in the White House!" If not the captain of the S.S. Tea Party, she's at least the screeching mermaid strapped to its bow.
Jackson's 76-year-old mom, Marlene, giggly and moonfaced, pulls out a thronelike seat when her daughter arrives at the family's Miami Shores home with a male visitor. "That's the master's chair," she says cheerily, gesturing for the visitor to sit, before delivering cookies and Coca-Cola in old-timey glass bottles. "The man is the master."
Then Jim Jackson appears. He is a strapping, boyish, 83-year-old former gymnast in thick spectacles. A squiggly triangle of pale flesh, left over from a melanoma graft, mars his left cheek. His daughter stands by, barefoot with cherry-red toenail polish and, as always, filming with her Flip. The little family gathers around a high-top table.
Soon, Jim begins with booming recollections of his youth as a champion gymnast. "I'm homophobic," he announces while describing why he doesn't like to strip in locker rooms. "I also don't like fat people. Every time I see a 300- to 400-pound lady or a man sit down to stuff her face, I want to say, 'No, you fool! You're killing yourself!' "
Then he adds for good measure: "Our son is 300 pounds."
Marlene and Jim met around 1950 in Chicago, where he was raised and she was studying to be a nurse. Jackson's mom is from a family of Baptist zealots near Windom, Minn., a Plains town about three hours southwest of the Twin Cities. During the Great Depression, the whole family went from door to door preaching the evils of alcohol, caffeine, movies, music, dancing, dice and cards.
Marlene's much-adored sister, Angeline Rose, had developed schizophrenia as a teenager and died in a state hospital. Marlene blamed God, and in revenge she married the happy-go-lucky, gymnastics-obsessed Jim, whose only religion was Fred Astaire and Burt Lancaster movies. They moved to Miami in the early 1950s, partly because Jim was inspired by Clark Gable's Mutiny on the Bounty.
The LA Weekly, in their print edition, wonders why I "use such a disgusting word" in my reference to Victoria Jackson (below). The answer is in their own article:
"She has declared, in protest of a gay kiss on Glee, that homosexual children need to "pray the gay away" and that there's a "spiritual war in America.""
What Victoria Jackson does kills people.
All you need to do to get publicity (& a book and maybe a TV show) is to be a raving lunatic like VJ, or Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, et al. Of course VJ got a head start in show biz, but she's even too crazy for la la land. I suppose she will soon take her place among the other loser has-beens who never were, like Dennis Miller, Ted Nugent, etc on the Fox propaganda channel where there will continue their slow road to oblivion. Such creepy people!
Thanks for confirming LA Weekly is obsolete. I stopped picking it up years ago because already have my medicinal marijuana card , and I don't need plastic surgery or a colon cleanse. Seriously ? Why give this half whit more attention?? Disappointed , but far from surprised. Still great for house training pets though.
I read this article as I read every Weekly article. My thoughts are like : what happened to you, VJ? It's like she's bought into every right-wing cliche imaginable to couch her beliefs in. I felt sorry about how her SNL co-workers harshly criticized her voice, and smirkingly rebuffed her religious "offerings" (though she should have kept her beliefs to herself, not brought them to the workplace). When her dad makes derogatory remarks about disliking "fat people", then she herself actually says "you're allowed to be fat and black, because it's sassy and sexy, but if you're white you're not allowed to be, unless you're liberal", smacks of both racism and sour grapes on so many different levels you wonder why she can't see the forest for the trees and pick apart her own words to see how narrowminded and ignorant they are.
Honestly, LA Weekly, this is your cover story this week? Yes, I was sucked in and read it ALL...what a fool I am, but not half the fool that this silly woman is.
This woman's Dad is one nasty abuser. It's really interesting to sit down with someone's family.....if I don't say it maybe no one will. Telling her she's "genetically defective" when she's a kid (without irony!?!!)
That is NASTY and WRONG. There's no excuse to do that to a little girl. It's horrible. Then he sits there all these years later at the dinner table talking about fat people. And there's VJ who at least has gotten out of this town where if you're not about to break in two, you're not thin enough!!! (If you're a woman trying to get acting gigs, that is.) What is his problem? Get over it! Not everyone is thin! Larger women are beautiful!!! I mean, look at actress Rachel Weisz....she was absolutely stunning, back before she got Hollywood-thin. Now she's still pretty, but she just looks like any other actress. It's a health thing. Stop listening to your Dad VJ. He's a jerk and has messed with your head big time. You're not fat. My ex would say "lush" or "glowing."
Also, those politichicks are creepy to watch. It's hilarious how uptight they are trying to imitate other TV shows where everyone sits obediently straight up and then there's Victoria Jackson just going bonkers. Watching the video was worth it just to see their reactions to someone *alive.*
And .....they're not looking for someone "liberal" to co-host. What a joke!!
How the fuck is victoria jackson even slightly relevant? She's just another Tea bagging moron with her head shoved wholly up her own ass. Her conservatism isn't a thing anymore and it shouldn't be because she's a fucking idiot.
Every time I have seen VJ I have thoroughly enjoyed her....she is delightful to watch and totally unique. But it sounds like she is losing her mind. I mean, this: "What if we crashed and died on video?" she says, laughing wildly. "That would be the most viral video of the world! You'd be dead, but you'd have a really viral video!"
This is NOT funny, VJ---you have got to stop this!!! Because of people like you, people like me talk all day about mayhem on the freeways, accident after accident after accident, because people are *playing with their gadgets.* It's NOT a video game out there! Those are not just hunks of metal all around you, they are PEOPLE. And all it takes is one little swerve the wrong direction and you are wearing your steering wheel through your chest, OK? You become one with your car, and not in a good way, OK? Sometimes I think I'm going to go absolutely mad after a day of reciting the latest traffic accidents on the radio. Some of them are horrifying. Some of them kill children, innocents. In the very worst, most painful ways. And countless more are maimed, lives altered forever---it just happened to a friend of mine.I don't blame you alone. Nobody is respecting the rights of others on the road these days, and because of that, in the next ten days or so, ten of us who are alive now have less than ten days to live, and nobody knows who that is. It could even be you. Or me. That's what the stats say. That's what they've said for years. And that's a conservative estimate, ten fatals in ten days for LA County. Anyone who gets in a car, no matter how well he or she drives, is exempt, because we're all out there together. STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR GADGETS WHILE YOU DRIVE. And Victoria-----I'm sorry about your Dad, but his judgement is whack and if you follow it he makes you look whack. He doesn't sound very nice. Your mom sounds cool, though. Wherever the whack comes from, you are so charming, but SCARY.