Leslie Jordan goes into comeback mode. Who knew he was gone in the first place?
A LEGACY OF LAUGHS
An Intimate Evening with Leslie Jordan, a benefit for Legacy Counseling Center at Founders Cottage, Vendome, 3505 Turtle Creek Blvd. Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. $85â€“$500. 214-520-6308. LegacyCounseling.org.
Who would think Leslie Jordan’s career was going nowhere? If he’s not guest starring on some TV show, he’s touting his 2008 memoir, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, with a speaking tour. And his 2006 Emmy win for his supporting role on Will & Grace should write him a ticket to any kind of work.
But to answer the question — well, Leslie Jordan thinks it isn’t. Going anywhere, that is.
"I’ve reached a fork in my career. Things are moving toward reality TV now. I am trying to keep this ship afloat but I’m panic-stricken," Jordan says.
Panicked? Jordan has fashioned a career by hopping from series to series as the quirky Southern man, sometimes gay, sometimes nebulously fey, who always steals a scene. It has practically become a rite of passage for a TV series to have him on, a baptism by flamer. And he’s cool with that.
"I know my niche. I’ve had great writers like David Kelley and Del Shores write stuff for me. I wanna act; I don’t wanna be a game show host. I could drop my Southern accent but it’s kinda like Dolly: Trot me out and that’s what you get," he says.
Del Shores in particular has been attempting to revive his Southern comedy, Sordid Lives, which has a successful run on Logo but has languished in limbo since Season 1 finished. The show featured Jordan as part of a star-studded cast that included Rue McClanahan, Caroline Rhea and Olivia Newton-John. Although Jordan would like the work, he’s uncertain there is a future for the show.
"Del is desperate to keep Sordid Lives going but it’s not going to happen," he says frankly. "We don’t talk a lot lately because he’s so busy with his stuff. We all sort of hit this place where it’s a career lull. We did that A Sordid Affair touring show. I mean, we’re just shameless."
Shamelessness has distinguished him over the years, and he is not above doing what it takes to keep going. In fact, he wonders whether Dancing with the Stars could boost his career. Jordan has researched the hit reality show and even showed up to their studios dressed to the nines.
"I’m gonna get on that fucking show if it kills me!" he says. "I’m in a rut right now, but DWTS would take me to that next, kinda Kathy Griffin level. I have to earn a living; I worked in this industry for 30 years but I still have to keep the ball rolling," Jordan says.
But even if Jordan’s in need of some career counseling, he keeps his heart in the right place. He is coming to Dallas next week at the request of local jewelry designer Joe Pacetti for a charity show benefiting Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage. The men bonded over a Hollywood luncheon while swapping stories about volunteering.
"Someone told me there’s this guy from Dallas at the lunch," Jordan recalls. "I knew it had to be someone decked out and sure enough, this man had all this jewelry on. Joe even outdid some the women at a Hollywood party! He invited me to come out and I said yes. Plus, for the last five years, I fly out to Dallas to hide out during this time of year."
Jordan is somewhat glad this event is touted as just "An Intimate Evening With" soiree. Despite his career-reviving strategies, this is his downtime. He even opted out of Pacetti’s offer of a tour of the cottage when he arrived.
"I just cain’t! Sometimes, there is too much to do. This show is going to just be cocktails and giggles. I’m gonna get up and act out a little bit but it’ll be a lot of fun. But I’m glad to help," Jordan says.
Or maybe he’ll work on his dance steps. If Cloris Leachman can do it, he can.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 25, 2009.