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Leslie Jordan's wise sass: the hilarious Leslie Jordan, foil of Will & Grace's Karen Walker, hits the stage with Like a Dog on Linoleum, his latest one-man show.

"I always wake up exhausted." It's the morning after a benefit performance of Leslie Jordan's Like a Dog on Linoleum, his new one-man autobiographical play running at the Elephant Asylum Theater in Los Angeles through November 7, and Jordan says the experience, as always, has left him "emotionally drained." He couldn't be happier.

Over the course of the 75-minute show, Jordan's 4-foot 11-inch frame dances and dishes as he regales the audience with tales of his life, from a Chattanooga, Tenn., childhood spent playing with dolls and twirling batons to an acting career spent in popular commercials and "sitcom hell." While he opens the show with an homage to his character Earl "Brother Boy" Ingrain from Del Shores's cult-hit film Solid Lives Jordan is at least equally well-known from the stage as Preston LeRoy in Shores's Southern Baptist Sissies, and on TV as Beverley Leslie, Karen Walker's high-society foil on Will & Grace.

Mostly, though, Like a Dog is a break-neck comic confessional of Jordan's plentiful encounters with booze, drugs, and "the young, hopelessly lost, beautiful" boys whom he "affectionately calls, with his infectious Tennessee twang, "traysh." (In a gesture of bracing honesty, Jordan even produces two candid poster-board photos of these boys as proof.) "They say you're only as sick as your secrets," Jordan laughs. "Well, I have none now!"

Jordan, 49, took the autobiographical route once before in his early 1990s play Hysterical Blindness and Other Southern Tragedies That Have Plagued My Life Thus Far, but that was mostly about his mother, and it employed a choir to serve, as it were, as his chorus. The show made it to New York City, but friends told him, "Leslie, it's funnier when you just tell the story," and he never forgot the advice. After receiving some long overdue recognition for Sissies and Lives, not to mention his whirlwind guest spots on Will & Grace--his favorite line: "Well, well, well, Karen Walker. I thought I smelled gin and regret!"--Jordan went back to the "copious journals" he's written since he was 17 to create Like a Dog on Linoleum, which is indeed just him, just telling his story. If that story is at turns a little bit bawdy, then so be it, even if Jordan's mother doesn't really approve.

"I come from a very devout Baptist family," he says with an almost constant laugh, "very conservative. My mother says to me 'all the time, 'Leslie Man, why do you feel this deep-seated need to air your dirty laundry? Why can't you just whisper it to a therapist!' It's me exorcising my demons, that's what it is. I walk out of that theater event night a free man. I float out of there."

Vary also writes for Entertainment Weekly.
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Title Annotation:theater
Author:Vary, Adam B.
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:Nov 9, 2004
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