Leslie Jordan has opened up to Shania Twain about growing up gay in a religious household, saying that “God made him this way”.
The pair bonded over their similar backgrounds on the country icon’s Apple Music Hits show, Home Now Radio.
Music, 55-year-old Twain said, was her “saviour” growing up in Timmins, Ontario. An experience Jordan said he shared in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who turned to comedy to cope with childhood bullies and the struggles of coming out as gay.
“Music was always my saviour,” Twain said, “I wouldn’t say the music was my religion, but it was a safe zone where I wasn’t judged.
“I could express myself and it was escapism for me as well. Growing up in a family that believed very much that God was going to be there to help you through things and then also having the music, what an inspiring way to grow up.”
“Exactly,” Leslie Jordan, 66, chimed. “When I’m being very dramatic, I say, ‘Well, I grew up in the church, but I walked away,’ because the whole gay thing came around.
“I firmly believe that God made me this way. I’m not a mistake.”
“This is not my cross to bear,” he added. “It’s part of what I am and I want to celebrate that, but when you grow up and you’re just so scared.
“But I never walked away from the church. I just quit going.”
Leslie Jordan was ‘given the gift’ of making people laugh, his dad says
The Will and Grace star added that it was through comedy that he faced his schoolyard bullies as a kid. “I learned very early to be funny to keep the bullies at bay,” he said.
“The minute they started bullying me, I could make them laugh. That was my defence mechanism.”
His father, Allen Jordan, once told him that he has a “gift” to make people laugh. “He recognised it even before I did, that I was this funny kid,” Jordan reflected.
“I didn’t know. So, I think over the years I’ve thought of that and… What a gift.
“What a gift to be able to make people laugh, to have a talent for that because you can tell a joke and somebody else can tell that same joke and if they don’t have the rhythm, whatever it is that comedians have.
“It’s like music. We hear the music. It’s the rhythm.”
When he’s not telling jokes, Leslie Jordan is also giving paid media professionals a run for their money after he delivered some seriously thirsty Tokyo Olympic commentary.
Watching Tom Daley and Matty Lee’s gold medal win last month, the sitcom legend said: “This is the way I would be if I reported from the Olympics.”
Cue Leslie Jordan commenting on Daley’s “tight little Speedos” and joking that he might throw his own pair on and giving Olympic diving a try. We’re ready to see it, to be honest.
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