You Better Werk: Leslie Jordan
It seems like there isn’t much to laugh about these days: Covid-19, climate change, RuPaul fracking (okay maybe the last one)—everywhere you turn there’s more bad news. But one shining light in all the darkness has been the hilarious and refreshing Instagram posts of Leslie Jordan.
The actor, known for shows like Will and Grace and films like The Help, has run up 3.8 million followers in a month from his Instagram videos, reminding us all that sometimes you gotta take sour apples and make pie. The catch phrase, “Well Shit...what are y’all doing?” followed by his gut-busting stories have given us all something to enjoy while we try to stay sane during self-isolation.
From anecdotes about Burger King to his thoughts on Tiger King, Jordan has used his wit and southern charm to win over a massive following. The real tea behind what makes the 65-year old star such a joy during these times aren’t just his Hollywood stories, but the interactions he has with his family while adjusting to his place of self-isolation in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
While Jordan says that he never planned to spend his time locked down in Chattanooga, it seems that he’s doing everything in his power to make the best out of it. In the last few months he’d been going between Los Angeles (in an apartment that he believed he shared with Tupac Shakur) and Tennessee to visit his family. But after learning that he was going to have to shelter in place, Jordan decided that it would be better if he spent the time in an Airbnb closer to his mother and twin sister. “I love my family dearly,” he noted in another video, “but if I hunkered down with them, we might kill each other!”
So, to pass the time, Jordan thought it would be fun to post videos to Instagram from his Airbnb. That’s when something magical happened. The mix of a well-lived Hollywood doll and southern “tell it like it is” diva was born, giving us all the content we were craving.
Earlier this month the star made fun of his new found viral moment, donning a suit and sunglasses while sitting with his hands in his lap. “You may be wondering why I’ve got sunglasses and a little suit on,” he said confidently to the camera. “Because that’s the way people dress who have one million Instagram followers.”
Each of the “categories” that he does in his videos adds to the flare of following him. “I’ve got categories I do,” he told The Washington Post, offering a little bit of insight into his world. “In one I might talk about George Clooney. In the other, I talk about my exercise regime where I use a back scratcher, because I have so many friends—especially in the gay community—who have rock hard abs and exercise videos. I said, ‘Well, I’ll do my own.’”
One of the joys of Leslie’s anecdotes is the insider information we get on stars he’s worked with. In what he calls “Pillow Talk,” he tells us about a time he got the chance to work with Ms. Faye Dunaway. “You remind me of my friend Tennessee Williams,” she once told him because of his amazing ability to tell stories. While he says that it was an honor to work with her, he ended the video by noting that she was, in fact, “Bat shit crazy.”
For most, what makes following Jordan such a treat is his down home humor and the stories he tells about what it’s like to be different. In one video, you get a story about what it was like to grow up gay, while in another he shares sentiments about how exhausting this quarantine is. No matter what Jordan shares, somehow, we all can relate.
“I’m not gonna tell you to wash your hands or wear a mask,” he says in one of his earlier videos. “My gift is to be funny”. When Jordan isn’t being funny or yelling at his momma, he’s showing us a more softer and tender side, reminding us that the only way we are all going to get through this is by being kind. “We’ve got to be kind,” he reminds us. “That’s just the way it’s gonna end, is that we’re gonna figure out we've got to all help one another.”
They say you’ve gotta laugh to keep from crying and we are so thankful to have Jordan’s Instagram stories to help us do just that.