There's no mistaking Leslie Jordan. The pint-sized product of the Tennessee hills has been entertaining stage and screen audiences with his signature drawl and biting wit for more than three decades. From regular appearances in television shows such as Boston Legal and Will & Grace to roles in feature films such as The Help, Jordan brings comedic levity to anything he touches.

But his life hasn't always been tiaras and feather boas. Struggles with addiction plagued the actor in his early career. Now sober, Jordan talks about his Hollywood journey-in all its messed-up glory-in his one-man show. He will be in town for the Houston Coming Out Party on Oct. 13.

A.J. Mistretta: Thanks for chatting with me. How are you doing?
Leslie Jordan: I've got a cold, honey. I just went to the drugstore to buy light bulbs and Nyquil. Glamorous, huh?

You grew up in the South, in the Bible Belt. How did that influence you?
There's a line that my friend Del Shores [creator of Sordid Lives] uses that's so poignant: we learn to hate ourselves in a church pew. Until you've gone through that-sat in a Baptist church in the 1960s-you can't understand. There was so much shame over who I was. I've been baptized 14 times because I just didn't think it ever took. I started drinking and doing drugs when I was 14 because that was my way of dealing with being gay-it was a lot easier when I was loaded. When I finally got sober at 42, I was riddled with internal homophobia. What it finally took was me getting rid of all that I learned growing up.

Brother Boy from Sordid Lives is a character that many Southern gays understand on some level or another. How did you end up playing that role?
I gave Del Shores a book of short stories by Bobbie Ann Mason, a Southern short-story writer from Kentucky who I just love. And I told him, "You can write like this." And he did-he developed these three different short stories that were very funny. And one day he told me he was going to take the three stories and turn them into a play. I said, "Oh no, honey, there's just too much going on, it won't work." Well, he did it, and that first reading we did was an absolute mess. But it did work.

Click here for the full interview from OutSmart magazine.