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Leslie Jordan opens 'Outlandish' series in Fort Lauderdale

Actor @thelesliejordan opens "Outlandish" performance series at @SunCath in Fort Lauderdale.

Leslie Jordan just couldn't help himself.

The comedic actor let it slip in late December that the sitcom "Will and Grace" was, as was rumored at the time, coming back to NBC. Jordan, who won an Emmy Award for his supporting role on the series, walked the slip of the tongue back a bit, but social media exploded. One of the show's stars, Debra Messing, quickly tweeted that negotiations were still in the "nothing but talks" phase.

"I was told in no uncertain steps to zip it," Jordan says in a telephone interview from his home in Los Angeles. "It really hit big."

Fans are probably hoping for more tidbits Jan. 21, when Jordan opens the "Outlandish" live performance series at Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale with his one-man show "Straight Outta Chattanooga."

"Outlandish" will also include "celebrity airline hostess" Pam Ann with her "Touch Trolley ... Run to Galley" on Feb. 11. Then, on Feb. 25, it's cross-dressing cabaret artist Miss Richfield 1981 in "2020 Vision." The series concludes March 17 with drag actor and comedian Coco Peru's show "A Gentle Reminder."

Jordan, who had a supporting role in the 2011 movie "The Help," also made headlines two years ago when he had a dustup with Gary Busey on the unscripted British TV show "Celebrity Big Brother UK." The 4-foot-11 actor starred in the cult film "Sordid Lives" as well as the prequel series on the Logo cable channel. He appeared in two "American Horror Story" seasons, 2013's "Coven" and 2016's "Roanoke."

Onstage, he retooled his memoir "My Trip Down the Pink Carpet" into a Great White Way success and toured with his one-man shows "Stories I Can't Tell Mama," "My Life As a Show Pony" and "Fruit Fly." Jordan got great notices for his 2011 off-Broadway debut in "Lucky Guy," although the musical flopped.

Here are excerpts from a recent Q and A with Jordan.

You're leaving next week to film something. What is it?

I'm doing a part on a show with Billy Ray Cyrus. You know him? He's Miley's daddy. He has a series called "Still the King." I personally never heard of it, but then again, I don't watch much TV.

What is the show "Straight Outta Chattanooga" about, the one you're bringing to Fort Lauderdale?

Well, I live in Tupac's old apartment, which is what got the ball going originally. I still make an entrance in full rapper regalia. Of course, this one time my rapper pants fell to the floor, and I didn't know my [penis] was hanging out. I was so hesitant to bring my show to the [Sunshine] Cathedral, you know, since I have this Southern Baptist upbringing. But they assure me that there are everything from leather contests to drag queen shenanigans going on there, so I said OK. I really think "Straight Outta Chattanooga" is one of my best shows.

All your shows have been sort of biographical, with some great, gossipy stories thrown in. I mean, you've been a regular in TV shows since the late '80s, so there's plenty you can dish about. Is this show like that?

Here's what happened: When I won an Emmy 10 years ago, I thought I was set. And nothing happened. I mean nothing. I called my manager at the time and said, "I can't eat this Emmy." And then, I did the smartest thing I ever did. We approached a marketing firm that began to book me in 44 venues a year doing my one-person shows. Well, over the years the marketing people kept asking for a new show ... and I would make up names. I'd say, "This one is called 'Gin and Regrets' and they would say, "What's it about?" And I would say, "Things." Because that's what it was: things that had happened to me or, like you said, stories from my career.

Well, they were ahead of me this year. They asked me, "What about a show called 'Straight Outta Chattanooga'?" The oddest thing was within a few days I found out this was Tupac's apartment. I had heard it before. This one woman told me that she still gets his mail sometimes. I said, 'Oh, please, girl, no you don't.' But I went down to the post office, and I had a friend who worked there and she confirmed it. This was Tupac's apartment. So I talk about that and then I meander ... to growing up in Chattanooga and my mother, who was my biggest champion. Basically, she told me when I was 17 that I needed to leave. My twin sisters were coming along. They were homecoming queens, cheerleaders, and there I was sneaking to gay bars. My mother said, "Here's some money, get out of town." So, basically, I was run out of town by my own mother. So it's storytelling, costume changes, nudity.

Speaking of nudity, what's this I hear about you running around naked in Puerto Vallarta?

Oh, my, yes, the craziest thing happened in Puerto Vallarta. I was booked there, in this resort. And I looked at the books, and there were like 17 people, and this place could hold, like, 200. It was unbelievable, because I had sold out Dallas, and it was 1,700. So I had someone take a picture of me naked, and I had a "Come see me" [sign] over my you know what. That day, I sold 91 tickets. I was on Grindr, Scruff and probably that one that's like OldDaddy.com or something. Anyway, the marketing firm said, "Stop it." Then, they saw the power with that and they said, "Let's hit the road, and you talk about every city."

The "American Horror Story" series must have introduced you to a whole new generation of fans.

I will say this, at 61 years of age, I had no idea. My friend Del Shores [playwright of the "Sordid Lives" franchise] is very media-savvy. He's the one I called about "American Horror Story." I haven't seen a movie in a movie theater in I don't know how long. I have not left the house after 6 o'clock without a paycheck for years. I'm truly 95 percent a hermit. Well, let me tell you my cachet has been upped quite a bit by "American Horror Story," because of Lady Gaga. I think I did only three episodes of "American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare" ... and now when I'm out I'm like Madonna.

What's next for you? I see on IMDB.com you've just finished "A Very Sordid Wedding."

Yes. We shot in Winnipeg, Canada, with the laziest woman in the world: Whoopi Goldberg. She doesn't fly, you know. So we had to send a bus to go get her from New York City to Winnipeg. But she's just brilliant. I can't give away too much, but there's a wedding, but most people know Ty is getting married ... but what they don't know is that he's marrying a black boy.

Can you talk about the stage show I heard you're doing?

It's called "Church." It's a ... Broadway-bound musical for Megan Mullally and myself. You can print it. It's in early development. I've been on the phone all morning with New York. I have an angel, Anthony Watson, he was [at] Barclays Bank and CEO of Nike. The music is by Travis Howard. He was on the show "Nashville Star" the year Miranda Lambert was on it. He's the go-to guy in Nashville now. It's about Ernest Angley, this television evangelist that Marilyn Manson once said was the most disturbed person he ever saw. That's me. It takes place in a circus tent in a Kmart parking lot in Chattanooga, Tenn. Megan Mullally, hopefully, will play the wife, who is actually a good Christian. He is the worst that Christianity has to offer. It's very timely right now with who's going to be in the White House. It's what's consuming me right now. I play with the music all day. It's a Southern revival, so what they are saying is "You can be saved, but you've got to give us your money."

Leslie Jordan's "Straight Outta Chattanooga" will appear 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW Ninth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $35 (Outlandish series pass for all four shows costs $110). To order, go to OutlandishFL.com.

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