Victoria Jackson's Excellent Tea Party Adventure | Art | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Victoria Jackson's Excellent Tea Party Adventure 

Thursday, Jan 26 2012

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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.

click to flip through (3) PHOTO BY GIULIO SCIORIO - Victoria Jackson
  • Victoria Jackson

But Wessel had a competitor. "I kind of had a crush on Weird Al Yankovic," Jackson confesses. "We kind of went on a date, but I don't know if he loved me or not."

In Jackson's brain, "There was this fork in the road." Down one path: Paul Wessel and Jesus, with their matching abs, and life as a poor, pious housewife in Miami. Down the other: Weird Al, SNL and loads of sinful showbiz cash.

After making up her mind, she got a tattoo of Wessel's initials on her lower back. "Because he's the one that ruined my life," she explains without irony.

That's why she quit SNL in 1992, she says. She headed back to "the swamp" — as she calls Miami — to marry Wessel. Two years later, they had a daughter named Aubrey. Jackson's movie career quickly dried to a crust.

But there's one problem with her morality tale, in which she sacrificed riches and fame to make the perfect God-fearing family.

"No, no, no," agent Dolores Robinson clucks when relayed her former client's claim that she quit SNL. "They dropped her."

Outside a Miami Lakes Starbucks in the pouring rain, Jackson sits under an awning that provides only partial cover. Water soaks her bare legs and pools on her Mac laptop and cell phone. With her Flip camera balanced on a stack of conservative books — Marx & Satan, Socialism Shakedown, The Manchurian President — she recounts taking her younger daughter, 17-year-old Aubrey, to a "gay party" held by Jackson's "newest gay friend, Seth." (Jackson claims to have three gay friends — Seth, Alex and Glen — and she makes frequent mention of them.)

"After we left, I asked my daughter what she thought," Jackson says, her eyeglasses missing an earpiece and tilting down her nose. "She said, 'It felt like they were sad and ashamed.' Out of the mouth of babes!

"If you get killed because you're gay, the murderer gets extra time. It's hilarious! Alcoholism is a sin, too, but you don't see an alcoholic pride parade. Alcoholics hide in little rooms in basements and they go, 'Hi, I'm Fred.' "

Two women huddling from the rain gape at her. Jackson sometimes wonders why she can't get a mainstream gig. Is it her weight? "It's OK to be a liberal and be fat," she complains. "You've got Oprah, Rosie, you've got Joy Behar, you've got Whoopi, you've got the other ones on The View. [Or] if you're black, you're allowed to be fat, and that's sassy, sexy. But if you're white, you're not really allowed to be fat."

Jackson often blames Democratic policies for her modest, Honda-driving life. Her family lives in a $200,000 townhouse with a concrete dock on a murky green pond. Her husband, now an MDPD helicopter pilot, makes $120,000 annually. But, she says, alimony to the fire eater left them broke. Public records reveal that Eventoff sued her in 1995, claiming she owed him $89,000.

The cash shortage spawned a sad, short stand-up comedy career. In the early '00s, Jackson worked clubs around the country while she and Wessel raised their two daughters. She made about $4,000 a weekend, she says. Her material was mostly riffing on hating Miami. She did gigs with SNL alumni Lovitz and Kevin Nealon, as well as former cast member Joe Piscopo. That last pairing was called "the most depressing Saturday Night Live reunion ever" by The Onion's A.V. Club.

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