Careers after Saturday Night Live aren't as easy as you think. For those alums who haven't reached Adam Sandler-level box office heights or thrived in sitcom character roles — or passed away, sadly — there's a cache of them who have just left comedy entertainment entirely.
Here are five career 180s committed by former SNL players on their resumes, to go with our new cover story on Victoria Jackson (who knew we'd ever be writing those words).
5. Joe Piscopo: arm-curling beefcake
Piscopo went from master impersonator to master meathead during the late 1980s and early '90s after trading in movie screen roles (Johnny Dangerously, Wise Guys) for pumping iron. In interviews, Piscopo has said his indulgence in weightlifting stemmed from his doctor's order to curb his thyroid cancer through exercise. But then Muscle & Fitness and Longevity magazines called, pining for Piscopo to flex his pecs on their covers, and he was courted to be the spokesman for GNC Cybergenics products and Bally Fitness. If Piscopo was looking to alienate his comedy nerd fanboy demo — guys who avoid exercise equipment for fear of being trapped — well, mission accomplished. Piscopo's comedic chops remain in demand: He has played to sell-out crowds in stand-up co-bills with former SNLer Father Guido Sarducci, both on the road and at last summer's Club Piscopo at Atlantic City's Resorts Casino.
4. Al Franken: U.S. senator crusading against his ex-boss
By the time Franken became Minnesota's junior U.S. senator, he wasn't unqualified for the job. He'd been a lifelong political commentator and satirist since arriving at SNL in 1975, in books like Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them) and on his Air America radio show. And he's had a history of reprimanding corporate parent NBC, particularly during the 1979-80 SNL season, when he called out the inadequacies of the network's president, Fred Silverman (a move that cost Franken the job as Lorne Michaels' replacement). Franken's most bittersweet moment, however, came when he used his newfound political power to rally against the NBC Universal-Comcast merger in a 2010 Senate Judiciary Committee antitrust panel, opining, “It matters who runs our media companies. … When the same company that produces the programs runs the pipes that bring us the programs, we have reason to be nervous.”
3. Pamela Stephenson: sex therapist
This New Zealand import from the 1984-85 season of SNL went from being a sex satirist to a sex therapist. While making light of her assets on “Weekend Update” was late-night de rigueur, as seen in the video above, nowadays sex isn't something Stephenson jokes about. Possessing more degrees and certificates in psychotherapy than she has SNL credits, Stephenson (married to Scottish comedian Billy Connolly) is the founder and president of the L.A. Sexuality Center, which treats those with sexual disorders and gender issues. And when she isn't discussing the horizontal mambo, you can find her doing the rumba on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.
2. Darrell Hammond: Tell-All Author
In November, Hammond, SNL's Bill Clinton and Donald Trump impersonator, released his autobiography, God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked, and went on a press tour unloading a slew of confessionals, opening up about his broken relationship with his daughter, how his psychotic mother stabbed his tongue with a knife and how taking crack is “the best orgasm” he ever had “multiplied by five and prolonged for 12 hours.”
1. Victoria Jackson: Tea Party yakker
Having sold herself as as the ditzy blonde during the late '80s with her Weekend Update song “I Am Not a Bimbo,” post-SNL Jackson's ditty is more along the lines of “I Am Airhead, Here me Roar!” A self anointed pundit on Christian Right and Tea Party doctrines, Jackson has made such offensively glib exclamations against homosexuals and Islamic groups on her web series PolitiChicks, punctuated by her drunken-like ukulele playing and dopey-bunny bows in her hair. This is the type of junky website, like a sudden X-rated pop-up, that requires a Norton scan on your computer after viewing it.
Jackson sent the pop meter needles flying over a sleepy post-Christmas week when she explained how ex-FBI agents informed her how Muslims are infiltrating the upper reaches of the U.S. Government, namely with the appointment of a FBI Assistant director for weapons of mass destruction (Ms. Jackson failed to do her homework and never realized that the ex-FBI agents who misinformed her had a scandalous history with the government, not to mention one is a staunch antic-Islamic extremist advocate).
PolitiChicks also serves up such bubble gum babblings as the UFO episode in which Jackson wonders until the donut jelly drips out of her ears: “Do you think God created other planets with other people on them and that Jesus had to go to their planet and die for them to?” While the best means of muzzling Jackson is by simply closing your laptop on her, larger liberal factions near her Dade County Florida home can get rid of the former SNL alum by throwing shiny objects into the ocean.