The Majestic was howling as Leslie Jordan presented the gayest one-man-show on earth
Only 53 years old, Leslie Jordan has more tales than a bookmobile. With his 2006 Emmy for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series, his star is only beginning to rise. But the loveable raconteur is serving up some of his best dish in a new one-man show, "My Life Down the Pink Carpet," which played Wednesday at the Majestic Theatre.
The show’s title is also the name of his new memoir. Perhaps the show-book tie-in is good for business, but the onstage "set" — a hot-pink carpet and "velvet" ropes (just like the book cover) — detracted from Jordan’s performance more than it enhanced. At only 4-foot 11-inches, Jordan uses every molecule of his tiny frame for exceptional comedic effect: He needs no adornment.
The show began by recounting his experience of co-presenting with Cloris Leachman at the 2006 Emmy telecast — Jordan looking out at the sea of faces as he realized that "Gay got me where I am now. Y’all, I fell out of the womb and landed smack-dab in my mama’s high heels. And in all disrespect to the Christian Right, with me — there was no choice."
From there, Jordan effortlessly weaved in and out of his precious, gut-busting anecdotes. He connected having crushes on Robert Urich while working on the 1990 TV series of "American Dreamer" to obsessing over the football quarterback from his junior high days.
"I’m a 53-year-old man stuck in a cheerleader’s body. If you want to know how I’m doing, just stick a thermometer in my current obsession. All I know how to do is obsess — and I’ll stalk your ass," he explained.
From the offensive footballer, he shifted his gaze to the "cutest boy in the whole school." Jordan would fantasize in his diary — about getting pregnant with a "bastard lovechild" and how his parents wanted to send him away.
Jordan is arguably the funniest openly gay TV actor working today. But being gay wasn’t always fun — especially before Ellen DeGeneres came out. While on "American Dreamer," he was asked to butch it up. Not an easy task.
"I open my mouth and yards of purple chiffon fall out," he says.
A friend told Jordan that he walked like Bette Midler in concert with a dash of Ruth Gordon from "Harold and Maude." Watching other gays appear on TV — like Truman Capote and Paul Lynde — fascinated and deeply repulsed him, because it was like looking in a mirror.
It’d take years for him to figure out that his struggles with drug addiction were also linked to internalized homophobia. Jordan doesn’t solely rely on huge showoff moves to make salient points. He’s pretty good at subtlety — especially when he morphs from a screaming queen who’s high as a kite at a Pride parade and then turns into the meek sober man who feebly offers a "Hey … gay Pride."
But as the years went by, Jordan was a busy actor. And his celebrity tales about co-stars are his best stuff: Paul Hogan (rumored to have a 12-inch dick), Boy George (a mean queen with snap), Faye Dunaway (a diva who’s either wise or just plain ol’ crazy) and Beverly D’Angelo, who Jordan recalled going to Victoria’s Secret at the Dallas Galleria to buy the actress some cotton-crotch panties.
Exhausted from working with the pink velvet ropes and oversized props, at one point, Jordan simply rolled himself up in the pink carpet for a while and just laughed. With his audience howling along.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 30, 2008.