In 1998, the hit sitcom “Will and Grace” made its television premiere. The successful network television series was groundbreaking with two gay main characters and several supporting characters like Beverly Leslie.
Comedian and actor Leslie Jordan won an Emmy Award for the role.
When he was on tour for his previous one-man show “My Trip Down the Pink Carpet,” he would often get stopped by young gay men.
“You know kids from smaller towns will come up to me with tears in their eyes and tell me, ‘You have no idea. Watching “Will and Grace” was all I had.’ And I think, ‘Wow,’ but I get it,” Jordan said.
He was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he had dreams of becoming a jockey for horse races. Once he took a theater class in college, he decided to pursue his dreams of acting in Hollywood.
After playing Beverly Leslie during six seasons, he moved on to other standout roles in “Sordid Lives,” “American Horror Story,” “The Help” and “The Cool Kids.”
In 2010, he adapted his book “My Trip Down the Pink Carpet” into a one-man show. In the stand-up performance, he shares personal stories from his childhood and being raised by a conservative Tennessee family. Jordan also opens up about his struggles with substance abuse and sex addiction.
His mother voiced her concerns for him revealing so many personal anecdotes.
“She said to me, ‘Why can’t you just whisper it to a therapist? If I live to be 105, I’ll never understand this deep-seeded need to air out your dirty laundry,'” Jordan said.
He said that playing out his life’s story in front of an audience made him realize his gift for being honest and doing it through laughter.
He is currently on tour for his new stand-up show “Exposed!”
You can see him perform at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Westside Cultural Arts Center.