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

In Victoria'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 Paul's initials on her lower back. "Because he's the one that ruined my life," she explains without irony.

Victoria Jackson doing a handstand at a gig hosting a Christmas show on a Florida beach.
Giulio Sciorio
Victoria Jackson doing a handstand at a gig hosting a Christmas show on a Florida beach.
Jackson with former presidential candidate Herman Cain
Courtesy of Victoria Jackson
Jackson with former presidential candidate Herman Cain

That's why she quit SNL in 1992, she says. She headed back to "the swamp" — as she calls Miami — to marry Paul. Two years later, they had a daughter named Aubrey. Victoria'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, Victoria 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 cam balanced on a stack of conservative books — Marx & Satan, Socialism Shakedown, The Manchurian President — she recounts taking her youngest daughter, 17-year-old Aubrey, to a "gay party" held by Victoria's "newest gay friend, Seth." (Victoria 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," Victoria 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.' "

A pair of women huddling from the rain gape at her. Victoria sometimes wonders why she can't get a mainstream gig. Is it her weight? "It's okay 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."

Victoria 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 Nisan sued her in 1995, claiming she owed $89,000.

The cash shortage spawned a sad, short stand-up comedy career. In the early '00s, Victoria worked clubs around the country while the couple raised 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 forgotten 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.

In 2004, she released a self-produced full-length documentary about the grief of being away from her family. It debuted at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. "Nobody watched it," she says. Much of it is close-up footage of her sobbing in hotel beds.

But then she discovered something life-changing: When she talked about Obama being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, people watched — and cared. Then job offers came.

In 2007, 15 years removed from SNL, she traveled back to Tinseltown for a last-ditch stab at becoming an "airhead on a sitcom." She explains, "I liked the idea of getting $100,000 a week for having five lines that someone else wrote, and I could do airhead better than anyone. That's my specialty! It would be effortless."

Victoria says she knew nothing about politics and rarely voted. But because "everybody in Hollywood is liberal and Jewish," the best way to network was through a cagey group of industry conservatives.

She refuses to name what she calls a "secret organization," but Victoria is clearly talking about Friends of Abe (FOA). Celebrities who have confessed to being among its 1,800-plus members include Pat Boone, Jon Voight, Kelsey Grammer, and Gary Sinise. Started in 2007 by "two guys in their trailer whispering that they respected Bush," Victoria says, it's something like a support group for conservatives who fear being blacklisted for their beliefs.

She joined these new friends at film screenings. They watched Blocking the Path to 9/11, which claimed Bill and Hillary Clinton squelched a muckraking documentary. And then there was Hype, about the radical Chicago connections of then-candidate Obama. For Victoria — though she wouldn't appreciate the metaphor — it was a Malcolm-X-picking-up-the-Koran moment. This is Orwell! This is 1984! she says she thought about the movie. "And I was like, No! I gave a copy [of Hype] to my agent. She never thanked me."

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