Leslie Jordan takes the stage this Pride weekend!Online Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Thursday, July 11th, 2013
BY TOM ANDREW
Emmy Award winning actor Leslie Jordan is best known for his reoccurring role of Beverly Leslie on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace which ended its ten year run in 2010.
This Pride weekend he’ll be bringing his one man show Stories I Can’t Tell Mama to Martini’s Above Fourth for three shows. Originally he was slated to do only two shows, but due to popular demand a third show was added.
“I think it’s gonna be pretty crazy with the whole gay marriage thing,” Jordan said. “I think Pride this year is going to be extra prideful!”
His latest show is mostly a combination of a few of his other shows with some new material tossed in. Jordan is a quick wit and is quite adept at story telling, though you never know what will be coming out of his mouth.
“What I’m doing in San Diego is some of my old material, but I’m working on a new show that I am putting together called Show Pony; it should be called The Aging Show Pony!” Jordan joked. “It’s about, just things that have come up lately. There’s so much that you could talk about, Will & Grace and Sordid Lives, but especially the people that brought me here said we need some new material girl! So we’re gonna be talking about The Help and Ru Paul’s Drag Race and current things … it’s gonna be a mixed bag … me and a microphone!”
Jordan is quite solid in his answer when asked whether the acting or the writing came first for him. “The acting came first,” Jordan stated. “Many years ago, and I’ve probably been out here 30 years – I got out here in 1982, there was a casting director that told me ‘Ya know honey, this stuff is funny, you’re the funny guy that comes in with the zingers.’ But in 1992 I decided to write a show for myself and that was when I kinda realized I could get up in front of people and tell stories about my life … they say that comedy is tragedy two weeks later! The quandary that I am in now is I have been doing this for almost 20 years, yet there is a wealth of stories about my life.”
Jordan, while he enjoys his work as an actor for hire, is looking for something more. “I’d really like to branch into and concentrate on variety, like a show for Logo or Bravo or something like that; sort of a mock Steven Colbert kinda talk show called Company’s Comin!”
While his role as Beverly Leslie (a role originally offered to Dynasty’s Joan Collins) made him a recognizable actor, he has appeared in hundreds of sitcoms and series over many years. His first well-known job was a role on the television show The Fall Guy starring The Million Dollar Man himself Lee Majors. From there he went on to do many David E. Kelley shows like Ally McBeal with Calista Flockhart, Boston Public with Chi McBride and Boston Legal with none other than William Shatner and James Spader. Yet after all of those appearances he never once met the allusive Mr. Kelley.
“I have never laid eyes on the man,” Jordan said. “I thought that was maybe just me, but when William Shatner won the Emmy, I was sitting in my living room, and William Shatner said [in his acceptance speech] ‘maybe I’ll get to meet David Kelley!’ And I thought What!”
Jordan commented that one time during a table reading for the series Boston Public he came close to meeting him, but no cigar. Kelley simply stopped by, gave them all a thumbs up and moved on.
“He writes for me,” Jordan said. “And they hired me with without auditioning, but I have never met him.”
He was also a favorite of Linda Bloodworth Thompson (Designing Women, Evening Shade), with a recurring role on Hearts Afire and the sadly failed 12 Miles Of Bad Road with actress and stand up legend Lily Tomlin and Mary Kay Place.
“What happened was we shot six [episodes],” Jordan confided. “I thought they were brilliant and then the SAG strike hit, the writers strike. And during the strike there was a huge change in regime over at HBO and when they came in they hated that show. They thought it was too broad, but you can’t put the words of Linda Bloodworth Thompson in the mouths of Lily Tomlin, Mary Kay Place and Leslie Jordan and expect a John Adams miniseries! Ya know?”
Jordan has performed here in San Diego a few times but it has been some time. “I always used to do, what’s it called, The North Park Theatre? That was my stomping ground,” Jordan stated. “That’s where I performed two and three times a year, then we decided we’d go to the Spreckels.”
While the Spreckels was a bigger venue Jordan felt he was better off at the North Park Theatre, where he also performed Del Shores Baptist Sissies and came to town with Designing Women’s Delta Burke, who he met during his work on Hearts Afire, and through Linda and her husband Harry.
Now he is bringing his brand of humor to Martini’s Above Fourth and given that they had to add a third show, it looks like this coming Pride weekend his show will be the one to catch.
Tickets can be purchased online at the Martini’s Above Fourth Web site http://www.martinisabovefourth.com, or at the door.
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