Leslie Jordan's name may not instantly ring a bell but the Tennessee native's face, stature ( he's 4'11' ) and southern drawl are instantly recognizable. The affable actor-comedian has added his inimitable style to such movie and TV fare as Goodbye Lover, Hero, Boston Legal and Will & Grace, which features his most famous role as Beverly Leslie, who occasionally spars with the soused and catty Karen Walker.
Currently, Leslie is in Chicago at the Bailiwick Arts Center with his hilarious one-man show 'Like a Dog on Linoleum' - which has now been extended to Sept. 4. Leslie took some time out of his hectic schedule to answer some off-the-wall questions for Nightspots.
What's your favorite childhood memory?
Oh, that's an easy one. My dad, who was a man's man, was upset because his oldest played with dolls and wanted to be a go-go dancer. [ Laughs. ] So my dad sent me to the Baylor Camp for Boys. I didn't win any of the [ sports ] prizes - but I won the award for best all-around camper and my dad was hopping around saying 'That's my son!'
What's the tastiest southern dish?
That'd probably be my mother's biscuits and gravy. The biscuits were tiny and about the size of a half dollar. My mother actually tried to get the recipe from my grandmother on her deathbed.
What's the one thing you do faster than anyone else?
Well, it used to be masturbate. [ Laughs. ] But you get older and there's so much to do; there are videos to rent and lubricants to be bought. It's almost not worth the effort anymore. [ Laughs. ] Although I'm also really fast at doing the number two. I wouldn't do it for years when I was a kid. My mother would see me coming up the hill and have the screen door open for me when I came screeching in. It was weird at my grammar school - the boys' bathroom didn't have doors.
What's your all-time favorite Broadway show?
You're not going to believe this, but I've seen every Broadway show and my favorite has got to be Hairspray. I saw it five times in L.A. However, I also really loved Tommy. When that theater was turned into a giant pinball machine, I almost wet my pants.
What's your favorite thing about Chicago?
There is this Chicago butch-boy look that's the equivalent of a southern redneck. It's kind of street-wise and [ involves ] strutting down the street; I have a crick in my neck [ from looking at all the guys ] . Oh, there's also the Weber Grill [ restaurant ] . They make a big fuss over me.
Choice - a good body or a good brain?
At my age, I'd say a good body.
Choice - a young Paul Newman or a young Marlon Brando?
Oh, Marlon. I love that bad boy image. Paul would be too preppy for me.
Choice - fame or fortune?
That's such a tough one. I want with all my heart to be famous. However, I once talked with [ actor ] Judge Reinhold. He said that fame is like that red wagon you wanted as a kid; you get it and it doesn't mean that much. I said 'That's because you have it and I don't! Where's my fucking red wagon?' [ Laughs. ] I'm addicted to attention. Growing up, my sisters would get all the attention so my mother said that I would turn cartwheels and pull out my pee-pee - which I'm still doing. However, I have realized that fame's not all it's cracked up to be - but I'll still take it.
Choice - a great movie or a great kiss?
Oh, gosh. I'd have to say a great movie. I'm not a real big kisser. Also, movies were such an escape for me when I was a kid. They took me to a place that wasn't so scary and weird.