One of the most shocking moments in a conversation with Victoria Jackson had nothing to do with her far-right beliefs.
Toward the end of a roughly 45-minute phone interview, the former ‘Saturday Night Live’ star dropped her signature Betty Boop voice to sound like an older Jewish woman who’s smoked too many cigarettes . Even though I knew it was coming, I was half convinced that a stranger had interrupted the conversation.
I told her afterwards that she gave me a jerk.
“I say!” said Jackson, who turned 63 earlier this week. “My friends say I scare them.”
Those who attend Jackson’s comedy show will be treated to numerous ukulele impersonations and songs. What they shouldn’t expect is the kind of anti-gay, anti-Muslim views that have driven his once-promising career.
“I don’t do anything about religion or politics,” she said from her home in Nashville, Tennessee. “But I have an inclination because of who I am.”
Religion has always had a strong influence in Jackson’s life, starting with a strict Baptist upbringing in Florida. Her dad thought “gee” and “golly” were swear words.
But her conservatism did not prevent her from making a name for herself in Hollywood, starting with 20 appearances on the “Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”. Jackson had his fair share of memorable moments during his 1986-1992 run on “SNL,” many of which involved showing off his considerable gymnastics skills on the “Weekend Update” desk.
But she clung to her values whenever she could, even giving audio versions of the Bible to her castmates one Christmas. Jackson was able to cobble together scripts if asked to say an offensive word. She has kind words for executive producer Lorne Michaels, who once allowed her at the last minute to back out of a scene that made fun of prayer.
But there were still conflicts. She had a run-in with “SNL” writer Al Franken, who dumped her after a meeting. He told her that he was embarrassed by her quirky demeanor, especially the fact that she always seemed to play dumb.
“Maybe what I’m really thinking is everybody’s going to hell and I’m supposed to tell them about Jesus,” Jackson told the future Minnesota senator. According to Jackson, Franken turned white as a ghost and walked away.
His 1986 film “Casual Sex?” Rochester co-star Lea Thompson and stand-up comedian Andrew Dice Clay were a minor hit, but she quickly regretted agreeing to appear in scenes that exposed her bare bottom.
“I’ve never been the lead in a feature film again,” she said. “I can’t help but think God was saying, ‘Vicki, you crossed the line. I’m not going to bless your movie career. “”
Television roles have also dwindled. She quit “SNL” to do a sitcom in which she would play a Vegas showgirl who falls in love with a taxi driver. The networks are gone. A few months later, her future co-star, George Clooney, was cast in “ER.”
But Jackson has kept busy, appearing on “Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher” several times and performing at comedy clubs across the country. Then in 2007, she joined a conservative Hollywood group, Friends of Abe, sparking an interest in political activism.
She would later accuse former President Barack Obama of being an “Islamic jihadist” and criticize “Glee” for showing a kiss between two male actors.
“It was sickening,” she said of the scene. “I was thinking of a 4-year-old staring at him and my stomach hurt.”
It became difficult to find work.
“I was blacklisted,” Jackson said. “The only people you can make fun of are blondes – stupid blonde jokes. You can’t make fun of Muslims or you’ll die.”
She’s not a fan of more recent “SNL” seasons.
“Now the agenda is so blatant. It’s obvious they want to push a far-left agenda to indoctrinate a new generation,” Jackson said. “They couldn’t even tell a joke about Obama. When Alec Baldwin does [former President Donald] Trump is done with hate. When we made political figures, it was with love and humor.”
On the contrary, it’s even more difficult these days for comics with controversial opinions to take the stage. Last month, First Avenue in Minneapolis folded under pressure from people offended by Dave Chappelle’s material about transgender people, canceling the comedian’s appearance hours before he was due to take the stage.
But Jackson is finding more opportunities to perform than she has in some time and has about half a dozen bookings so far this year. In July, she shot a role for a 10-minute film from her home.
“I’m sort of retired, but I want to keep my toes in comedy and keep my brain sharp,” Jackson said. “I love the sound of laughter.”