Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Leslie Jordan: Ham on a Roll
2006-08-16

This article shared 1746 times since Wed Aug 16, 2006
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


BY AMY WOOTEN

To say that out actor Leslie Jordan—best known for his role as the hilarious closet case Beverly Leslie on Will & Grace, his short stature and charming Tennessee accent—is thrilled about his first Emmy nod for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series is an understatement.

The voicemail message on his cell starts out, 'If you'd like to speak to the Emmy-nominated actor Mr. Leslie Jordan…' followed by cackles of joy. It's safe to say that Jordan has never been happier. His role on Will & Grace is opening doors for him. He has also been tremendously busy performing his hit one-man show, Like a Dog on Linoleum, and returning to the stage in roles originally created by Del Shore for him in the cult classic Sordid Lives and Southern Baptist Sissies.

Jordan took a few minutes to kick back and chat with Windy City Times from his Los Angeles home about his wonderful—and at times painful—Hollywood journey that started at a bus stop in California.

Windy City Times: How's it going lately?

Leslie Jordan: I'm just living the life I've always dreamed of living. I got to L.A. in 1982. I took a bus from Chattanooga, Tenn., where I had gotten a degree in theater, and had $1,200 sewn in my underpants. [ Laughs. ] …And here I am with an Emmy nomination!

WCT: Where were you when you first heard about your Emmy nomination?

LJ: I was in San Francisco doing my one-man show…and I had a call from my manager when I got up. He said, 'You have an Emmy nomination.' I didn't even know I was eligible on Will & Grace because I thought I recurred. I also do a voiceover for a show called American Dad [ so ] at first I thought, 'Oh gosh, I'm getting an Emmy for that little voiceover?' Then my manager said, 'No, honey, it's for Will & Grace,' and I nearly fell on the floor!

WCT: You must be walking on clouds.

LJ: Yeah, it's really exciting. …My manager said, 'You know what honey, it doesn't matter [ whether you win ] , because from here on out, every time you're listed it'll be Emmy-nominated actor Mr. Leslie Jordan.' So, I'm making all my friends address me thusly. [ Laughs. ] It's all fun.

WCT: So, what was it like working with the cast of Will & Grace?

LJ: You know, I've done a lot of guest work for a lot of shows, and you're always the odd man out. …You know, everybody always wants the dirt, but there is no dirt. They are four of the nicest people you could ever meet. And you know what? They stayed nice. I've worked with them before they got really, really well known. …Now they are part of pop culture. They got really, really rich, too, which can change people. I mean really rich, and they didn't change at all. They always made me feel so welcome. They could have trotted me out like an aging show pony once every two months. They were really, really tight, but they always made me feel welcome. I adore each and every one of them.

Being an openly gay actor in Hollywood, I always thought there were two ways in which you can combat homophobia. One is through humor, which I learned during dodge ball in junior high—kids would shout 'Smear the Queer!' and I had to tap dance or get creamed. I learned I could be really funny and keep the bullies at bay. Another way is putting a face on it. America welcomed these characters into their homes and lived and laughed and loved with them. There was a lot of progress made, and I'm really, really proud to have been a part of that. It could have just been any sitcom, but it wasn't; it was a gay-themed sitcom. Even though my character played a kind-of-closeted gay, which is just hilarious for me to get to be as sissy as I wanted to be and deliver lines like, 'Well don't homosexuals usually run in packs?' I'm most proud that I was actually in the finale. I had heard from then it was just going to be the four of them and Rosario, so when they added my character, I was like, 'Wow, that it really cool.' I really felt like I was family. It was so cool. It was a lot of fun.

WCT: It had to be great to be there for that last episode.

LJ: Yeah, my character flew out the window, and something really odd happened. They had me on this sort of Peter Pan wire that I had to fly. We rehearsed it, and I just kind of flew out the window. The night before the very last night, my shot of me flying out the window was the very last shot of the night because it involved a stunt. We went to shoot the scene, but I don't know if they pulled the lever too hard because I flew out that window so fast my shoes came off! It was very funny.

We ended up not using it. I think it was just so disconcerting because I flew out the window so fast you just didn't see me! I flew out the window, and all that was left were my velvet opera slippers. It knocked me out of there so fast, I think the blood rushed out of my head. I'm not sure what happened. I'd love to think it was some sort of spiritual something, but I was floating above the whole audience about 20 feet in the air. It took them a while to readjust the weights to lower me, so I was just hovering. Everything got muffled all of a sudden. I thought I was going to pass out. But I looked down, and here was Debra Messing and they were all looking up and laughing and clapping. It was kind of like slow motion—like an out-of-body experience. It was almost like those dreams you have where you are floating above yourself or something. Then, all of a sudden, it just went 'Shoomp!' and everything went right back to real time and they let me down. I didn't talk about it for a while, but I tell you, something kind of wonderful happened. What a way to go out, you know what I mean? To have worked on that set for six years and then you are just floating above it all like your little last goodbye.

WCT: Are you happy with where your life is right now?

LJ: I'm happier. You know, I was thinking the other day [ that ] since this Emmy nomination, doors are really opening. I'm being offered recurring roles. I decided it was time to take off the party dress. You know, the jig was up! Actors have a lot of down time. We work, work, work, make a lot of money and then there are just months of down time. I had fallen in this partying trap and I was a mess. So, I got sober. I think that's the most important gift I've ever given myself.

I thought these last eight years, the interesting part was that I've always kind of been openly homosexual, but I've never been openly homosexual and completely sober. [ Laughs. ] All of a sudden, I get sober and I'm kind of riddled with this internal homophobia. It was weird! I feel like eight years ago I came out, even though I've been out since I landed in my mother's high heels. To come out, you had to have been in! But this journey began eight years ago where I really started my life. … It's all coming together right now. Fifty-one years old, and here I stand with an Emmy nomination, happy has a clam. I'm still waiting for the axe to fall any minute!

WCT: Don't say that!

LJ: That's just my nature. But I'm telling myself, 'You deserved this. You earned it.' Do you remember that game, with two apples and the orange, and you ask 'Who does not belong?' That's me! Who does not belong at the Emmys? Like any minute someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and say 'No. Mr. Jordan, we decided not to nominate you for an Emmy. We decided you don't belong in Hollywood.' That's just my nature. It's all good. It's just wonderful.

WCT: What's it like to revisit the characters of Peanut and Brother Boy [ from Sordid Lives and Southern Baptist Sissies ] , characters created for you years ago?

LJ: Brother Boy is easy because I put those high heels on and I know where I am. [ Laughs. ] That Peanut character is a little rougher only because that character was based on me back when I drank. I would tell Del stories of me sitting on a bar stool and picking up these young guys for sex and all this awful stuff, and he wrote it into a play! He's my best friend. I said, 'How dare you tell all my secrets? I don't want to relive all that!' He said, 'Well, it will be healing.' A big part of the 12-step program is sharing; it really is. If you can stand in front of a group of people and say, 'This is my story,' well, that happens to be what I do on stage. It's like I'm a free man. I walk out of the theater every night almost like a free man because I'm reliving being an alcoholic. In Southern Baptist Sissies I'm playing a guy who picks up hustlers all the time. You know, really sad, sad stuff. So, to revisit that is kind of painful, but I walk out of there a free man, so that's cool.

WCT: Sounds like things are going well.

LJ: It's a blessed life. I get to travel. I make good money. My work is now being appreciated. It's a good thing.


This article shared 1746 times since Wed Aug 16, 2006
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jerrod Carmichael, '9-1-1' actor, Kayne the Lovechild, STARZ shows, Cynthia Erivo
2024-04-12
Gay comedian/filmmaker Jerrod Carmichael criticized Dave Chappelle, opening up about the pair's ongoing feud and calling out Chappelle's opinions on the LGBTQ+ community, PinkNews noted, citing an Esquire article. Carmichael ...


Gay News

WORLD Uganda items, HIV report, Mandela, Liechtenstein, foreign minister weds
2024-03-21
It turned out that U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Senior LGBTQI+ Coordinator Jay Gilliam traveled to Uganda on Feb. 19-27, per The Washington Blade. He visited the capital of Kampala and the nearby city of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer musicians, Marvel situation, Elliot Page, Nicole Kidman
2024-03-21
Queer musician Joy Oladokun released the single "I Wished on the Moon," from Jack Antonoff's official soundtrack for the new Apple TV+ series The New Look, per a press release. The soundtrack, ...


Gay News

RuPaul finds 'Hidden Meanings' in new memoir
2024-03-18
RuPaul Andre Charles made a rare Chicago appearance for a book tour on March 12 at The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave. Presented by National Public Radio station WBEZ 91.5 FM, the talk coincided with ...


Gay News

Oprah, Niecy Nash-Betts honored at GLAAD Media Awards
2024-03-15
Oprah Winfrey and Niecy Nash-Betts were honored at the 35th Annual GLAAD Media Awards that took place in Los Angeles at The Beverly Hilton on March 14. Winfrey received the Vanguard Award, introduced by iconic Chicago ...


Gay News

House-music festival on Aug. 30-Sept. 1; icons, Idris Elba to be part of it
2024-03-13
The ARC Music Festival—an event celebrating house music—will take place Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Chicago's Union Park, per WGN-TV. This will mark the fourth year that the festival will celebrate the genre at Union Park—less than ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jinkx Monsoon, Xavier Dolan, 'Frida,' Lena Waithe, out singer
2024-03-08
Two-time RuPaul's Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon is headed back to the New York stage, joining off-Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey beginning April 2, according to Playbill. The casting makes Monsoon the first drag ...


Gay News

Queer Eye's Jai Rodriguez is set to slay at The Big Gay Cabaret
2024-03-05
Out and proud performer Jai Rodriguez is set to play at The Big Gay Cabaret this March for three days. Presented by RuPaul Drag Racer Ginger Minj, this monthly series highlights the wide world of cabaret ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer actors, icons duet, Hunter Schafer, Oscars, Elizabeth Taylor
2024-03-01
Queer actor Kal Penn is set to star in Trust Me, I'm a Doctor—a film that chronicles the final days of actress/model Anna Nicole Smith, whose overdose death in 2007 at age 39 sparked a tabloid ...


Gay News

SAG Awards honor Streisand, few LGBTQ+ actors
2024-02-25
Queer entertainers made their mark—although not a major one—at the 2024 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, held Feb. 24 in Los Angeles. The event was live-streamed on Netflix for the first time. Indigenous and Two-Spirit actor ...


Gay News

THEATER Dot-Marie Jones talks Goodman production, 'Glee,' 'Bros'
2024-02-12
Running through Feb. 18 at the the Goodman Theatre, the production Highway Patrol works with a script conceived entirely from Emmy-winning actor Dana Delany's (TV's China Beach) digital archive of hundreds of tweets and direct messages ...


Gay News

GLAAD finds missed chances for LGBTQ+ inclusion in Super Bowl ads
2024-02-12
--From a press release - Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024 — GLAAD is reacting to a lack of LGBTQ storytelling in ads that aired duringSuper Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 and is reminding brands, corporations and advertising agencies why including the LGBTQ ...


Gay News

SAVOR 'The Bear,' new pizza lounge, Chicago Black Restaurant Week
2024-02-11
"Bear" necessities: The third season of the Chicago-set series The Bear will debut in June, per Variety. FX chairman John Landgraf made the announcement during the network's presentation at the Television Critics Association's winter 2024 press ...


Gay News

Quantum Leap reboot springs into LGBTQ+ representation
2024-02-09
Through the magic of television, Quantum Leap is once again jumping into the past to bounce back into the future—and in a recent episode, "The Family Trasure," non-binary artist and performer Wilder Yuri and writer Shakina ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Raven-Symone, women's sports, Wayne Brady, Jinkx Monsoon, British Vogue
2024-02-09
In celebration of Black History Month, the LA LGBT Center announced that lesbian entertainer Raven-Symone will be presented with the Center's Bayard Rustin Award at its new event, Highly Favored, per a press release. She joins ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.