Victoria Jackson (born August 2, 1959, in Miami, Florida) is an American comedian, actress and singer best known as a cast member of the NBC television sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 1986 to 1992.
Raised by devoted Christians in a home without a TV, she was trained in gymnastics by her gym-coach father from ages 5 to 18. Jackson attended a private Christian high school, Dade Christian School, where she was a cheerleader and the Homecoming Queen. Three years of gymnastics competitions led to a scholarship at Furman University in South Carolina. She also spent one year at Auburn University, before earning a degree in theatre from Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Appearing in summer stock in Alabama led to a chance meeting with Johnny Crawford (The Rifleman) who cast her in his night club act and gave her the ticket that brought her to Los Angeles. There she supported herself with various day jobs as a cigarette girl, a typist at the American Cancer Society and a waitress at a retirement hotel while she performed stand-up comedy. This resulted in her first big break, appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson doing what would become her signature bit: doing a handstand while reciting poetry. She would eventually appear on the show 20 times.
In 1986, Jackson was hired to join Saturday Night Live for its 12th season, following Lorne Michaels' firing of most of the 11th season's cast and writers in his second season back as executive producer. The only cast members who survived from the 11th were Nora Dunn, Jon Lovitz and Dennis Miller. Other rookies that year included Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks and Kevin Nealon.
Jackson became most famous for her appearances on Weekend Update with Miller, again reciting poetry while doing backbends or handstands on the desk (with Miller cracking a suggestive comment about her at the end) or, in the cases of the episode hosted by Steve Martin and another hosted by Demi Moore, singing and dancing on the Weekend Update desk.
After many such appearances had established her character, Jackson began to read a poem, but stopped and said in a low, throaty voice, "I can't do it anymore. I can't do this Victoria 'airhead' thing anymore." She then removed her blonde wig to reveal a butch brunette wig underneath, announcing that she could not believe people thought that her goofy routine was for real, and that she would be doing serious political commentary on the show from that point onward.
Jackson makes sporadic film appearances, including leading roles in Casual Sex? (with Lea Thompson) and UHF (with "Weird Al" Yankovic, whom she dated in 1990). She also had roles in Baby Boom with Diane Keaton, Family Business with Sean Connery, The Pick-up Artist, The Couch Trip and I Love You To Death during the time she starred on Saturday Night Live. Since then, minor roles have mainly been in direct-to-video type fare. When "Weird Al" Yankovic heard that Nirvana would appear on SNL, he asked Jackson about talking them into letting him parody one of their songs. She did, and Weird Al parodied "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as "Smells Like Nirvana".
Before being cast on SNL, Jackson appeared on various television series including The Jeffersons. She co-starred in W*A*L*T*E*R, a M*A*S*H spin-off that featured Walter "Radar" O'Reilly as a St. Louis police officer. This show aired only as a pilot episode two years before Jackson joined SNL.
Following her departure from Saturday Night Live, Jackson starred in an X-Files episode The Rain King as the unrequited love of a small town man who can control the weather. She appeared in the Nickelodeon show Romeo!, with Lil' Romeo as the nanny, "Mrs. Rodgers." However, she was only in the series for its first two seasons, from 2003 to 2004. She also appeared in the movie No More Baths.
Jackson is a self-proclaimed devout Christian and frequently appeared on programs such as The 700 Club and Politically Incorrect. She has also appeared in the Comedy Central series Strip Mall, in 2000. In 2005, Jackson starred in the second edition of the VH1 show Celebrity Fit Club. While on Celebrity fit Club, Jackson lost , while this weight loss seems unimpressive compared to other contestants, Jackson is ranked #9 in the history of the show based on percentage of weight lost. Jackson started the show at and weighed 145 at the finale.
Most recently in 2006 she was cast as Lolita Dorchuck in the mocumentry 20Q directed by Benjamin Keith.
Jackson continues to perform stand up, often appearing with other ex-SNL players (most frequently Joe Piscopo and Don Novello as "Father Guido Sarducci"). She also appears at Christian-oriented venues, including a stand up Christian comedy movie called "Thou Shalt Laugh 2: The Deuce" hosted by comedy legend, Tim Conway. A visit to her website will reveal her Fundamentalist Christian stance on numerous topics including U.S. politics. A September, 2008 posting, for instance, reads:
"Thank you President George W. Bush (along with God above) for keeping us safe these last 7 years, from terrorist attacks on our homeland. I really appreciate it very much. xxoo You did a Great job! And, Thank you God above for giving us George W. Bush, and for giving us John McCain and Sarah Palin."
"I don't want a political label, but Obama bears traits that resemble the anti- Christ and I'm scared to death that un- educated people will ignorantly vote him into office."
Jackson married Nisan Eventoff, who was a fire-eater, in 1984. They had one daughter, Scarlet. They divorced in 1990. She was reunited in 1991 with her high school sweetheart, Paul Wessel, a police helicopter pilot for Dade County Florida. They were married and have a daughter, Aubrey.
The family lives in Florida.