Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gotta Love ... Has Beens ...

Growing up in the late 1980s/early 1990s, I regularly watched what was probably the last great era of Saturday Night Live -- the Phil Hartman/Dana Carvey/Mike Myers/Kevin Nealon years. They created some classic characters and sketches like "Wayne's World", "Sprockets", "Coffee Talk", "Hanz and Franz",  and "Church Lady", plus Phil Hartman and Dana Carvey did some amazing presidential impressions (Hartman nailed Reagan and Clinton perfectly, and Carvey's Bush Sr. impression -- "Notgonnadoit! Wouldn't be prudent at this juncture" -- has gone down in history).

This was back when SNL was still considered edgy, hip, dangerous. The show hadn't become totally respectable yet, An Institution. There was no Daily Show or Onion or Howard Stern or YouTube or really anything else to compete with it. In comedy, back then, it was the final world.

It was the Bronze Age of SNL.

And one of those Bronze Age players was named Victoria Jackson. 

There weren't a lot of women on SNL back then, and most of them had very little to do, in fairness. Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn and Victoria Jackson were the only women players of the Bronze Age and they were good if not great (no Tina Fey's them). Victoria Jackson was, in talent terms, the third of the three. She was basically a supporting player and she was fine but she crafted no memorable characters and her talent wasn't overwhelming. Her biggest talents were that she was pretty, blond, had a high squeaky voice, and could stand on her head when required. Eventually, in 1992, she was dropped from the cast.

Like many other former SNL cast members, some went on to super stardom, some went on to respectable careers, and some vanished. Ms. Jackson was the latter. After SNL, she moved back to her home state of Florida, married a cop, had kids, and basically was forgotten by show business. 

Until Barack Obama became President and the Tea Party sprang to life to oppose him.

Ms. Jackson has now turned out to be one of the this gross movement's most prominent characters. No longer a not yet ready for prime time player, she is now a tea party player. She appears on Fox News and at Herman Cain rallies and in creepy videos preaching about how Obama is the Devil and the Tea Party will save America's soul. She is one of their "celebrity" spokespersons and uses what little prominence she has for this cause. 

Popular culture's loss is the political culture's grain, I suppose. 

There's nothing more depressing than seeing people you used to like go wrong. Victoria Jackson was part of a great era of a classic TV show -- and now she's become a bad joke. What's even more depressing is that she appears to actually believe this Tea Party crap, too. 

You'd like to think her comedy background would make her realize how silly it is.

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