Move over, Blanche Devereaux—there’s a new Southern belle of a certain age in town. This fall, Leslie Jordan stars in the Fox sitcom The Cool Kids, about an all-male retirement-community clique and the woman who infiltrates their ranks. True to form, Jordan (Will & Grace, American Horror Story) makes the swishy character of Sid totally his own.
What attracted you to this project?
My agent called and said, “There’s somethin’ really fun happenin’ over at Fox! It’s from the boys from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” I thought, Oh, my goodness! They’re very cute! I’d love for them to be my bosses!
Was Sid originally written as a gay character, or was that decided after you were cast?
My part was a 73-year-old Jewish man from Brooklyn who’s straight. I went in to read for the part and said, “I’m gonna put a different spin on it!” I guess they saw something.
So what’s it like working with executive producers Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, and Glenn Howerton?
It’s really Charlie Day who wrote this show and is in the forefront. It has that edgy sensibility that Sunny has. I like the fact that we are older, but [the humor] is gonna skew so much younger.
Fuck, marry, kill: Your co-stars Vicki Lawrence, Martin Mull, and David Alan Grier.
Oh, lord! Marry Vicki… fuck David… no, fuck Martin and kill David! [Laughs] But, you know, it’s pretty incredible how much fun we have, the four of us. With any series, they say you have to find your ensemble footing. And, my god, we just walked in the door and there it was!
The Golden Girls is a beloved classic. Why do you think it took so long for another network show to put older people front and center?
I think my generation has just been overlooked. But you know, even with The Golden Girls it wasn’t just old people watchin’ it. You might think, Who wants to watch a bunch of old people? But look who’s putting the words in our mouths. That’s what I love about this show.
Will the show address any issues faced specifically by LGBTQ elders?
It will address friendship and aging. And, I mean, how can you not address a guy being gay and getting old?
Vicki Lawrence’s character Margaret is this brassy broad who seems like a natural ally for Sid.
Oh, yeah, it happens in the pilot: It’s us and them. And it’s like that in real life. David and Martin have a bromance like I’ve never seen! They just ignore me and Vicki!
What makes these characters the movers and shakers of their retirement community?
I think we’re so out-there in our personalities. We also think we’re the cool kids. We don’t think we belong there. You never think you’re old. I mean, I’m barely out of high school! That’s the way I feel.
What were you like in high school? Were you one of the cool kids?
I was the kid who could straddle everything because I was such a chameleon. I think gay kids learn that. I learned to be funny. I learned to tap dance or get creamed! I’d love to ask people what they thought of me.
What about your Will & Grace character, Beverly Leslie? Now that you’re on your own show, have we seen the last of him?
When they pay you the kind of money they do with these series regular roles, there’s rules! [Laughs] But Will & Grace has already called to pencil me in on one of my hiatuses.
The Cool Kids premieres September 28.