Leslie Jordan on his newfound celebrity: until this is all over, I’m not monetizing


Obviously, Leslie Jordon has been in the business for many years, having started working as an actor in Hollywood in 1986 and won the Emmy for his role of Beverly Leslie on Will & Grace in 2006. But it’s safe to say many more people have come to appreciate his quirky sense of humor and charming disposition since he stared posting his funny and charming Instagram videos of how he’s handling quarantine in his mom’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. As of April 1st, Leslie’s followers exploded to 1M. Less than a month later, he has over three times that amount. So now, after almost 35 years in the Biz, how is he going to capitalize on all this newfound fandom? Well, if those 35 years taught him anything, it’s not to count his chickens before they hatch.

His comments about monetizing were:

The funny thing is, if you go viral on something like Instagram, you hear from people that you haven’t heard from in a really long time. And they’re kind of like, “Oh, yeah – maybe you and I could go live.” Maybe not! Why would I go live with you, I haven’t heard form you in 20 years? It’s funny how people, I mean, I’m talking grown people with children, want those numbers up. “You can help me a little bit.” Uh, no. And then people come, it’s a new word I lean, “monetized.” Who even knew that word… you know agents say it, “we can monetize this.” So I make this decision, you know what, I do this for fun, I do this for free, and I’m like at 3.5M followers, so until this is all over, the hunker down part, be it May 1 or May 15th, whenever – until then: fun and free. Then the minute was stop hunkering down, I’m going to be the biggest wh*re in Hollywood. I mean, $100 a day – you got me! I’m going to sell myself. I’m going to make some money!

This is a really smart strategy, build his brand, build on his current popularity and let Hollywood have a bidding war once everything is said and done. And, Leslie is not faulted for profiting off people stuck at home, needing a distraction, he’s providing that service for free. I don’t actually think Leslie is mapping his career with all that in mind, I think he is probably having a hoot and doesn’t want interference with his content. But I do think this will all wash out in his favor and I, for one, could not be happier. I’m sure I watched him in many roles prior, but my main memories of Leslie are from Boston Public and Reba (although in researching this, I was reminded of his role in Hearts Afire). I am always happy when he shows up on my screen, but I would probably actively seek out something he was in now due to how much I’ve enjoyed his IG posts. As he mentioned in the Access interview, he has been added to the new show Call Me Kat starring Mayim Bialik and Swoosie Kurtz. Swoosie and Leslie are enough to get me to check something out.

I do hope these quarantine posts shoot Leslie into the stratosphere. He’s a delight and I’d love to see him in more things. But I think the thing that is truly most appealing about him and now his videos is that Leslie seems to get such a kick out of it all, whatever he’s doing. So if he stands to monetize this wave of popularity, I’m all for it. Just keep him in the spotlight, that’s all I ask.

Photo credit: Instagram and WENN Photos

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32 Responses to “Leslie Jordan on his newfound celebrity: until this is all over, I’m not monetizing”

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  1. Quincytoo says:

    Great story
    I just started following him

    • Babz says:

      I did, too. The “rabbits” video hooked me. He is such a delight, and I am enjoying his videos so much. I need more stickers in my life, obviously!

  2. Eleonor says:

    Beyond seeing him on Will and Grace I don’t know his work, but he seems really smart, and he has been in the business long enough to know how to deal with fame, and all the people who suddenly look for him after decades of silence.

  3. Rapunzel says:

    He’s been a hoot on American Horror story too. Love him, and bless him for realizing now is not the time for profiteering.

    • IMUCU says:

      American Horror Story is where I first saw him, he’s definitely a scene stealer! Came back on my radar a couple of weeks ago when I ran into some of his quarantine videos, he’s a hoot and a fun distraction!

    • Esmom says:

      Yes, he shows far more class and sense and sensitivity than most celebs. And he’s clearly very savvy as well as witty and fun. Love him.

    • florencia says:

      I loved his quip about becoming a total whore for money once the crises is over, then Slater had to go and ruin it by grossly cheering him on to be a “capitalist”. Money humpers ruin everything!

  4. Nev says:

    So funny hahhahaa

  5. TIFFANY says:

    I remember him from Boston Legal as the world’s most horrible Mama’s Boy, he was also on Boston Public?

  6. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I love him! I started following him about a month ago. He’s hilarious and sweet.

  7. Whatnow says:

    I think I remember him from Designing Women way back when.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Yep. With that accent, he fit right in. I remember him in something with Burt Reynolds, too. I think Burt was a football coach & he was his assistant?

  8. TeamAwesome says:

    Omg, I didn’t realize people didn’t know about this absolute treasure! I’ve been enjoying him for years since not only Will and Grace but from the Del Shores camp classic Sordid Lives.

  9. Em says:

    His list of hot men cracked me up and he made me realize that Dylan McDermott is really hot! Can’t believe he’s almost 60.

  10. Cari says:

    So funny! What a sweet heart!

  11. smee says:

    My sister got me to follow him on IG and now he’s the highlight of my day 🥰

  12. StellainNH says:

    OMG! He is wonderful! Thanks for posting this article. He is a ray of sunshine in my life right now!

  13. lucy2 says:

    What a great guy! I hope when this is over he DOES make some bank on his instagram!
    I love his accent.

  14. emmy says:

    I like that we find our who is truly entertaining without any bells and whistles. I mostly know him from Will and Grace and I LOVED him on that show. I hope his success continues beyond this.

  15. KPS says:

    I loved him on “Cool Kids.” I wish that show would return. All the cast was really good.

  16. Nina Simone says:

    He was my favorite part of will and grace. I relishes anytime Beverly Leslie came on.

  17. Pansy says:

    I literally log in every day to watch him! I’m a southerner and that accent and the whole gentleman persona he uses reminds me of my childhood! He starts half his videos with “hello fellow hunker-downers” and the other half with “well shit. What y’all doing” and they are the best!!!!!

  18. No Doubt says:

    One Funny Mommy on IG has also blown up. She’s not a celeb, but her quarantine videos on IG are hilarious!

  19. Suz says:

    Beverly Leslie is one of my favorite television characters of all time. I didn’t realize he’s only 64 and his mama is still living. My goodness she looks great for 84!

  20. amilou says:

    I’ve loved him since Ski Patrol. Murray Tuttle waking up in Santa’s Village is one of my favorite scenes ever. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s seen Ski Patrol!

  21. Caty Page says:

    He can get a talk show and replace Ellen afyer all the backlash she’s facing.

  22. Charfromdarock says:

    He is delightful.

    I laughed so hard when he said he was in Chattanooga on business.

  23. Dizzy says:

    Rabbits. My god I’m losing it in isolation, that made me laugh so much I cried.