By Catherine Wagley
By Catherine Wagley
By Wendy Gilmartin
By Jennifer Swann
By Claire de Dobay Rifelj
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Catherine Wagley
By Zachary Pincus-Roth
The couple wed in Los Angeles in 1984 and two years later had a daughter they named Scarlet. Soon, Jackson snagged a role on the sitcom pilot Half Nelson, playing Hollywood security guard Joe Pesci's ditsy blonde secretary. The show was canceled after six episodes, but she bought her first house — a two-bedroom Lookout Mountain bungalow in Laurel Canyon — with the paychecks.
She was a regular performer on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where in one of her most memorable bits she channeled Patti Smith, singing about being an "angry woman" while doing tricks on a balance beam.
In 1986, Jackson flew to New York to audition for SNL. Executive producer Lorne Michaels, she remembers, curled his lower lip and lamented her lack of comedic characters. So the next time she was on Carson's show, she continued the audition by doing impressions of Diana Ross and Edith Bunker and inventing a character: a glum boss interviewing Carson for a job. She joined the SNL cast that season. With a new baby in tow, she and Eventoff bought a four-bedroom Colonial in Weston, Conn. They split time between the two homes.
But Michaels' trepidation had been spot-on. Jackson's castmates included Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. She couldn't keep up. "I lived on pure adrenaline," she says. "You always think you're going to get fired. You're always competing with your cast members for airtime."
Coming up with characters and premises for skits was a supreme struggle. She confesses that one of her funnier sketches — "Victoria's Secrets," in which she wore lingerie and throatily fumbled at being sexy — was a product of begging castmate Jon Lovitz and writer Conan O'Brien for ideas as they walked down an office hallway.
Her nasal voice nixed nuanced impressions. Other than doing back bends and reading poetry on the "Weekend Update" news desk, impressions of Roseanne Barr and Zsa Zsa Gabor were her only recurring gags.
Critics and former castmates haven't been kind. Nerve.com recently ranked her dead last of 92 all-time cast members and wrote that her "cute-ditsy-idiot act got pretty thin, [and] it turns out it wasn't an act." And in the 2002 book Live From New York, an oral history of the show, castmate Jan Hooks sniped, "I just have a particular repulsion to grown women who talk like little girls. It's, like, 'You're a grown woman! Use your lower register!' " (Jackson, by the way, claims her weird voice is the result of a medical defect: a "congenital palatal insufficiency.")
Look, I'm not qualified for this, Jackson recalls thinking. Maybe this is my mission field. I'm supposed to tell my cast members about Jesus!
But Hartman didn't want to talk about the Son of God. And Lovitz asked how Jesus, "a grown man," could have fit in his mother's womb to be born again. When Jackson left audiocassette box sets of the Bible in each castmate's mail slot for Christmas, they were angrily returned.
Writer and performer Al Franken, now a Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota, cornered her once, Jackson says. He said he was "offended" by her "ditsy" act. "Maybe I'm overcompensating," she retorted, "because everybody here is dying and going to hell, and I'm supposed to tell them about Jesus."
Franken went white, she says. "He never talked to me again."
Jackson struggled to make the leap to film acting. Her biggest role was co-starring in 1988's Casual Sex?, an insipid rumination on sexual relationships in a post-AIDS world. It flopped. "The movie is exactly like the real thing," The Washington Post opined. "Kinda empty, kinda unfulfilling, and you feel just awful afterward." Jackson also played Weird Al Yankovic's love interest in UHF. Again, not a Brando-esque turn.
In addition to the film proceeds, Jackson was making $20,000 per weekly episode of SNL, according to divorce records. In 1991, her ill-conceived marriage to the fire eater finally came to an end. "He hated me more and more each day," she says. "One night he was fumbling around in the gun closet and he was drunk, and I thought, Is he going to kill me?"
A Connecticut judge ordered Jackson to pay Eventoff monthly alimony of 15 percent of her income but not less than $3,000 for three years. He also received a portion of the residuals from her films and, less financially momentous, her catalog of ditties such as "I Am Not a Bimbo" and "I Wanna Be a Slut." (Jackson sells her songs on a self-published CD called Use Me. "Even my friends haven't listened to it," she admits.)
Eventoff declined to be interviewed for this story. Still in Connecticut, he's now known as "the Magic Genie." His website boasts he "offers quality magic tricks at discount prices. ... He can even levitate one of the children! Fire effects are optional."
After the divorce, Jackson reconnected with her former fiancé from Miami, Paul Wessel. Also divorced, he had become a Miami-Dade Police SWAT officer. In 1984, according to Wessel's personnel file, the tip of his pinkie was shot by his partner in a firefight with a drug suspect. In 1991, with a single round, he killed an Opa-locka man who pointed a revolver at officers. At an inquest, the man's widow beseeched, "Why did they have to shoot him in the heart?" Wessel's lethal actions were ruled justified. One year later, he used a shotgun to obliterate a pit bull that was attacking his partner. To date, Wessel has been honored with 71 department commendations.
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.
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