Leslie Jordan, beloved comedian and actor known for his work on “Will and Grace,” has died, his agent announced.
He was 67.
“The world is definitely a much darker place today without the love and light of Leslie Jordan. Not only was he a mega talent and joy to work with, but he provided an emotional sanctuary to the nation at one of its most difficult times. What he lacked in height he made up for in generosity and greatness as a son, brother, artist, comedian, partner and human being. Knowing that he has left the world at the height of both his professional and personal life is the only solace one can have today,” Sarabeth Schedeen, Jordan’s talent agent, said in a statement to CNN.
I’ll admit when I first saw the headlines about this death on my phone, my immediate thought was that it was comedian Leslie Jones who died. I didn’t immediately know Leslie Jordan by name, but once I saw the photos I recognized him. He’s one of those character actors who’s been around forever, I’ve seen him pop up in various TV shows and movies for what it seems like most of my life. Checking his IMDB I see he got started as an actor in the mid-1980’s so yeah, I’m sure I would have first seen him on Night Court or Murphy Brown.
Well today I’m going to write about one of his most recent projects, a TV sitcom that debuted on the Fox Network in 2018, it was called The Cool Kids
Co-created by Charlie Day, from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and Paul Fruchbom, this series focused on the lives of a group of residents at a Retirement home in Florida, and along with Jordan it had a stellar cast of veteran actors, all of whom I’d been longtime fans of. Vicki Lawrence, whom I grew up watching on The Carol Burnett Show and Mama’s Family (who hails from my hometown of Inglewood California), Martin Mull who I’ve loved in everything form Mr. Mom to Two And A Half Men, and David Alan Grier, who I’ve been a fan of since before In Living Color and who I think is a mega-talent (comedic acting, dramatic acting, film, TV, and Broadway). It was because of this case that I tuned into this show when I first heard about it.
Jordan, Mull, and Grier played Sid, Charlie, and Hank, who were longtime residents at the Shady Meadows Retirement Community, and were basically running the place, ie they were like “the cool kids” in a High School. In the first episode, Lawerence’s character Margaret arrives and immediately begins antagonizing the group who aren’t used to a woman being part of their clique. Hilarity ensues.
I’d say the series kind of like a mix between The Golden Girls and Friends, as it featured the hijinks of a group of single people who in this case happened to be Senior Citizens, with the humor often revolving around the realities of growing older. One episode has the group go to a nightclub to celebrate Margaret’s 65th birthday but quickly realizing that they can’t hang with the Millenial crowd. One episode has Charlie help Hank try to cheat to pass his eye exam to renew his driver’s license. Episodes would also revolve around events at the home, such as when the gang tries to rig the election for community president to steal it from the current president whom they all hate.
Along the way some impressive guest stars appeared.
Jackee Harris was in two episodes as Hank’s ex-wife Lorraine, along with Tony Rock as their son and Rick Fox as the man she left Hank for. Ed Begley Jr. played a man Margaret started dating but the guys begin to suspect that he’s actually the infamous Zodiac Killer and seek to prove it. Patrick Duffy played another guy Margarate tried to date. Jon Lovitz plays a former teen idol from Margaret’s childhood whom Margaret claims stole his biggest hit song from her.
It may not have been groundbreaking or anything, but it was a fun and enjoyable show thanks to the chemistry of the main cast, they worked so well together. But unfortunately, after a single 22-episode season the series was canceled. It may have partially been due to its Friday night timeslot, which is not the greatest night for sitcoms.
If you want to see what you missed, you can currently check out the series on Amazon Prime Video.