Leslie Jordan has appeared in more than 75 films, TV shows and plays in his twenty-odd years in showbiz, so there are plenty of roles you remember him from and a few that you’ll want track down on DVD (The Fall Guy? Pee-wee’s Playhouse?). But wherever he pops up, he’s like the single nut in an Almond Joy—your favorite part of the whole stinkin’ thing.
Leslie kindly took time out of his busy schedule with the nationwide tour of his new play, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, to deliver a few bon mots with a swish, a sashay and his syrupy southern drawl.
Q: Many people probably know you best from Will & Grace, but your true fans remember you from all the great Del Shores plays and film (soon to be plural with Southern Baptist Sissies hitting the big screen). You’ve been in so many of his works and even had parts written specifically for you. Would you consider yourself Del’s lovely muse?
A: Del Shores and I have a relationship that goes back twenty years. I was best man at his wedding. I am godfather to his oldest daughter, Rebecca. He was my “straight friend” for 10 years. I NEVER SUSPECTED A THING! When he “came out” and left his wife, I was more shocked than anyone. He said that I stared open-mouthed when he told me and said, “Oh honey, we are going to have so much fun!” I don't remember that but it sounds like something I would say. He has written for me for years and years and yes, I AM HIS MUSE!
Q: Brother Boy in Sordid Lives is one of the great gay characters of all time. What was it like revisiting the role in the new Sordid Lives TV series? Did you ever think you’d put on that Tammy Wynette outfit again?
A: Well, I was at least 10 pounds lighter than I am now when we shot the movie. For the TV series, they had to shoe-horn my fat little ass into that orange jumpsuit. I also wore “spanks” and sucked it in. But I have been told by those that have been privy to the editing bay that my work is the best I have ever done! So, maybe another Emmy for “Sordid Lives, The TV Series?” Honey, anything is possible!
Q: Your characters are always the highlight of Del’s twisted tales. Besides characters you’ve played, which other character would you most like to portray?
A: The best character I play is Leslie Jordan in real life. That's what means the most to me. I have reached a point in my career that I am just “along for the ride.” I am 53 years old and in my prime! Who'd a thought?! I am happier than I have ever been and closer to my authentic self than I have ever been!
Q: What’s your favorite one-liner?
A: “Well, well, well, Karen Walker! I thought I smelled gin and regret!”
Q: Seeing you and much of the original cast reunited for the Season of Shores stop in Dallas in 2006 was a real thrill. You come to the area quite a bit, reportedly because of boys in tight Wranglers. What’s your next favorite thing about Dallas?
A: I have a few dirty book stores that I like to visit waaaaaaay on the outskirts of Dallas. The day I'll stop going is when I peek through the glory hole and someone says, “Hey! Don't I know you from television!” I don't want to be on TMZ peeping through a glory hole.
Q: You’ve had a very prolific career and been in some truly iconic TV shows and movies. Who was scarier to work with, killer Jason Vorhees in Friday the 13th Part IX or killer Betty White on Boston Legal?
A: Betty White! She told me that she did not want to hit me with that skillet. I told her not to worry that it was a rubber “trick” skillet and gave her permission to smack me a good one! Big Mistake!!! She practically knocked me into next week! At 84, Miss Betty White still packs quite a wallop!
Q: Jason Vorhees burned you to death with a deep fat fryer and Betty White with two whacks to the head with a skillet. Do you have some sort of rider in your contract that you must have kitchen-related death scenes?
A: My specialty is kitchen-related death scenes and escape scenes from mental hospitals. I have escaped several times in my long and varied career!
Q: So enough small talk about murder and Golden Girls. Your past one-man shows (not counting the choir in Hysterical Blindness) have been autobiographical and dealt with some very deep subject matter. You’re quite the master of laugh-cry overload (and that’s a good thing)! We want to know more about your new play, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet.
A: My new show is all about being an openly gay actor from 1982 when I stepped off the bus, ‘til 2006 when I won an Emmy. I have worked with George Clooney, Billy Bob Thornton, Dean Cain, Luke Perry… a whole list of beautiful Hollywood leading men and have had angst-ridden, unrequited crushes on all of them. It makes for some really funny stories!
Q: We also saw on Amazon.com that Pink Carpet is also coming out next month in real-life book format. How does it feel to be a published author?
A: I worked harder on this book than anything I have accomplished in my life (other than 10 years of sobriety… because, honey, that is a loooong time between cocktails!!). I am very proud of MY TRIP DOWN THE PINK CARPET!
Q: One of your favorite adages is “If you can’t be kind, be vague.” At Gay List Daily, we’re always nothing but kind, but just for a change of pace, who are the top three people in the world you’d like to be most vague to right now?
A: George W. Bush, Ann Coulter and Satan
Catch Leslie in “My Life on the Pink Carpet” on Wednesday, May 28 at the Majestic Theater in Dallas and Saturday, May 31 at the William Edrington Scott Theatre in Fort Worth.
Tickets and more info: www.thelesliejordan.com