Saying goodbye can be a difficult thing, especially when it is to someone who has passed away. This is certainly true for the cast of the Fox hit comedy, Call Me Kat, when it came to their castmate Leslie Jordan, who passed away unexpectedly on October 24. Jordan, who played Phil in the comedy, had been a series regular on Call Me Kat since the first episode, “Plus One” and the last episode Jordan appeared in was “Call Me Fancy Puffenstuff”, the eighth episode of the third season.
With Jordan gone, the executive producers had to find a way to write his character, Phil off the show. The answer to their predicament came in the form of Phil’s newly formed relationship with Jalen, played by John Griffin, who was introduced earlier in the third season of Call Me Kat.
In the episode titled “Call Me Philliam”, which aired on January 5, Vicki Lawrence, best known for The Carol Burnett Show and her role as the matriarch Thelma on Mama’s Family, guest starred on the episode as Phil’s frequently mentioned mother. It is mentioned that Phil and Jalen are on vacation in Tahiti. Later in the episode, it is revealed the couple decides to get married and move to the island where they are currently visiting. The episode ends with the main characters of the series coming back from Phil and Jalen’s wedding, all of them saying how much they will miss Phil.
Then the show breaks the fourth wall to allow the cast to give their fellow castmate and friend a proper sendoff (which can be seen in full below).
After Griffin brings out a director’s chair with Jordan’s name on it, the main cast (Kyla Pratt, Cheyenne Jackson, Julian Gant, Mayim Bialik, and Swoosie Kurtz) stand behind it and Pratt places a sequined jacket worn by Jordan during the series on the chair back. Bialik, who plays the titular character on Call Me Kat and wrote the episode, expressed:
“What we’ve done here is we’ve given Phil a happy ending. What we’re really doing is mourning the loss of our dear friend Leslie Jordan. He is irreplaceable. We will miss him very much.”
The cast looks up to the sky as the scene fades to black. Before the episode fully ends, a farewell from country legend and recent inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dolly Parton, who appeared on Jordan’s first and only studio album, Company’s Comin’, gave her own farewell to the man she referred to as “little brother.”
“You left a lot of people here with a lot of precious, precious memories. Everybody loved you, but I doubt many of them loved you more than I did. Anyhow, I just want you to know that we all love you, we all miss you, and I bet you’re having a big laugh over all of us being sad and sorrowful. And I know that would be the last thing you would want us to be. You made us happy while you were here, and we’re happy that you’re at peace.”
Meanwhile, Nashville has plans to pay tribute to the late Leslie Jordan. The Grand Old Opry will host REPORTIN’ FOR DUTY: A TRIBUTE TO LESLIE JORDAN on Sunday, February 19. The Opry’s webpage for the concert explains:
The friends of the late Leslie Jordan announce Reportin’ For Duty: A Tribute To Leslie Jordan, a special night of performances taking place on February 19 at The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, TN. The evening will feature an intimate collection of performances and on-stage storytelling with insights into some of Jordan’s lasting lessons of a life well lived. As a cause close to Jordan’s heart, all proceeds from the event will benefit the EB Research Partnership, the largest global organization dedicated to funding research to treat and cure Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).
The heartfelt and joyful evening will celebrate the life of Leslie Jordan with performances from his talented friends, including Eddie Vedder, Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne, Brittney Spencer, Billy Strings, Lukas Nelson, Jake Wesley Rogers, Ashley McBryde, Fancy Hagood, Jelly Roll, Danny Myrick and Travis Howard, in addition to special appearances by Jim Parsons, Anthony Mason, Mayim Bialik, Cheyenne Jackson, Max Greenfield, Margaret Cho, Robyn Schall and Leanne Morgan and more. The house band will feature an impressive group of players (including three ACM Instrumentalist of the Year winners) who all performed on Jordan’s 2021 debut album Company’s Comin’.
🚨 JUST ANNOUNCED! On February 19, we invite you to celebrate the life of our dear friend @thelesliejordan in a very special tribute show Reportin' for Duty: A Tribute to Leslie Jordan at the Grand Ole @opry House.
— Ryman Auditorium (@theryman) January 10, 2023
Dead he is not, but departed, for the artist never dies.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
We are honored to join Reportin’ For Duty: A Tribute To Leslie Jordan, taking place at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House on February 19. Tickets are on sale now! https://t.co/Mf9v5SguNV pic.twitter.com/Rw95Sc0BZY
— Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) January 13, 2023