An Interview with Leslie Jordan

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Leslie Jordan has worked on countless television series and films over the course of his career. Appearing on Sordid Lives, American Horror Story, Supernatural, Murphy Brown, Lois & Clark, Hearts Afire, Will & Grace, The Help, Jason Goes to Hell, to name just a few, he has worked in various genres across the board. As a writer he has created the scripts for the plays Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel and Rockabilly Baby, as well as Leslie Jordan: My Trip Down the Pink Carpet and Hysterical Blindness and Other Southern Tragedies That Have Plagued My Life Thus Far. He can currently be found on the FOX sitcom The Cool Kids alongside Vicki Lawrence, David Alan Grier, and Martin Mull.

Are you enjoying working on The Cool Kids? How is that going so far?

The show has been a blast from day one.We premiered Friday night (September 28, 2018) and got really good ratings. So it looks like we will be around for while. A journalist pointed out to me that this was my first series regular role since Hearts Afire went off the air in 1993. So that is 25 years! I have done really well with re-occurring roles, guest roles and movie parts but there is nothing like having a job with some security.

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What is it like to work alongside Vicki Lawrence, David Alan Grier and Martin Mull?

When I was in acting class, the first thing they taught us was that acting is not “acting” but “reacting to what we were given”. I have the deep honor of “reacting” to three of the best comedians working today. It is like verbal ping-pong. And we all genuinely get along.

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Do you have any interesting stories from the set you might be a liberty to share with our readers?

Our time on the set is like a party. Vicki told me that Carol Burnett used to call it “playing in the sandbox.” Martin and David are having a “bromance”. They sit and talk incessantly. It’s all about sports and music. Vicki and I sit together and talk about the sales at Neiman Marcus!

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Leslie with the cast and creator of Sordid Lives at the premiere of A Very Sordid Wedding

Are there any characters you have had the chance to bring to life that you hold more dear than the others?

Just about every character I have played is dear to me. Favorites are Brother Boy from the cult movie Sordid Lives and Beverley Leslie from Will and Grace. But Sid from The Cool Kids is the easiest character because it seems he is the closest to me in real life. Coming from an extremely homophobic background in the church and all, to be able at 63 years of age to play a gay man, who is perfectly comfortable with who he is and what he is, is a real joy.

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You have also worked as a writer, how does that differ most from the work you do on screen? What do you enjoy most about having the chance to create your own worlds and characters in such a way?

The life of a writer can get a bit lonesome. But when given the chance, I love to write. I have been journaling since I was 17 years old. I write every day religiously. I have found that when I write, when I put pen to paper, the scary monsters under the bed stop their low moan. It is very therapeutic. And to be able to stand on stage and relate my stories releases me from the demons of my past and childhood.

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How do you think you have changed most since your early days both as an actor and as an individual?

I am much more comfortable with myself. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict with over 20 years clean and sober. When I got sober all those years ago, I was still riddled with internal homophobia. I had just medicated for so long I didn’t realize it. The last 20 years have been a journey not only into my sobriety but into my queerdom. I am at the top of my game and in the prime of my life RIGHT NOW at 63 years of age.

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Do you think the world in general as it is these days could use a little more laughter?

Our hope on The Cool Kids is to give folks a break. Laughter is so healing. And with all that is going on in this hectic world of ours I think people will love just putting their feet up and having a belly laugh.

What do you think is key to a life well lived?

I think the key lies in proper diet, sleep and exercise. You have to work on the inside as well. But most importantly, is to be of loving service to your fellow man. You have to be “of service.” I tell the kids that I help as recovering addicts,” Go volunteer. Work at a hospice. Try telling those folks how dismal your life is! It will put your problems in proper perspective.”

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What projects are you looking forward to pursuing next?

I am giving The Cool Kids my 100% attention right now. Martin Mull said something so profound the other day. He said, “In most jobs after being there for years, you get a gold watch. I think The Cool Kids is OUR GOLD WATCH.” So I plan to enjoy the ride. I think people think that in the entertainment business the “bigger” you get, the “bigger” your life becomes.  I have found it to be the opposite.  As I have gotten more successful, my life has gotten “smaller.”  And I do not say that in a bad way.  I am going to try to slow down, smell the flowers and enjoy the success of this show.

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Please tune in to FOX every Friday night at 8:30 p.m.(eastern) and see us in action. “A GOOD TIME WILL BE HAD BY ALL.”

Love.  Light.  Leslie

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