Leslie Jordan Opened Up About His Viral Social Media Videos Weeks Before His Tragic Death

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by John Shearer/ACMA2021/Getty Images for ACM)

Leslie Jordan had a long and successful career as a character actor. He started with TV commercials in the early eighties. By 1986, he was grabbing small roles in TV shows like The Fall Guy, Night Court, and Murphy Brown. Most recently, Jordan became a series regular on Call Me Kat with Mayim Bialik. However, the thing that most fans remember him for is a string of viral videos during the pandemic.

In 2020, Leslie Jordan started posting short, funny videos about being stuck in isolation during the early days of the pandemic. For millions of people across the country, these videos were points of light in an otherwise dark time.

In what is believed to be his final interview, Leslie Jordan sat down with CBS Mornings’ Anthony Mason. During their conversation, Jordan looked back on his life and career. He also took time to discuss his viral videos, the rapid growth of his online following, and the downside of finding viral success.

Leslie Jordan on Going Viral

Mason started the discussion by saying “You blew up,” in reference to those videos. Laughing, Leslie Jordan quipped, “Give me a good pandemic and I’ll flourish.”

“I started posting on Instagram. And, I did two posts a day I think for 80 days. Then, I don’t know what happened,” he said. His views, he said, would jump by the millions every day. When people asked him about his secret, he couldn’t tell them because he didn’t know. He was just being himself.

Over the course of that 80 days, Leslie Jordan’s follower count ballooned. When he started, Jordan had 80,000 followers, which is nothing to sneeze at. However, by the time it was all said and done, he was approaching six million followers. This shocked him. “I was just thinking, ‘By gosh, who are these people that wanna hear what I have to say,’” he said. If he had to guess, Jordan said, he would say it was the innocence of the videos that brought people in.

The Downside of Viral Fame

Leslie Jordan’s videos brought smiles to the faces of millions of people and he was happy about that. However, in recording an exaggerated version of his own personality, he created a persona for himself. Directors wanted to bring that persona to the screen.

“Sometimes I’d get tired of it,” Jordan admitted. “I’ll do a take or something and they’ll go, ‘Do that Leslie Jordan thing’ and I’d say, ‘Okay, okay. That I can do.’”

Mason asked the veteran actor what the “Leslie Jordan thing” was. “Well,” Jordan considered, “it’s just bright and bubbly.”

Leslie Jordan went on to Glory on October 24th. Officials believe that a heart attack led to the car accident that took the actor’s life.