She was joined by comedic genius and Instagram icon Leslie Jordan.
We’re nearing the end of Katie’s book tour, and we simply cannot believe it! But, it’s not over yet! Last night, Katie hosted her second to last show, this time in San Francisco. She’s been in California for a few days now, though — she had a tour stop in Los Angeles Friday night, with Jennifer Garner and Tarana Burke as guests.
Then she headed North for an unforgettable night in San Francisco with guests Oral Lee Brown and Leslie Jordan. In talking to them, Katie covered everything from supporting children in need to LGBT representation in media. Plus, she shared some personal stories. Let’s dive in!
Before she even got to the theater, she reunited with Jordan. They might be our new favorite duo!
When it came time for Katie to take the stage, she walked the audience through her journey of writing Going There, as well as her childhood, early career, rise to fame, and personal struggles like the loss of her first husband, Jay.
She brought out her first guest, Oral Lee Brown. And by the time Brown left the stage, there probably wasn’t a dry eye in the house. “We first profiled her on the TODAY Show in 1999. But her work began 12 years before that. Oral Lee Brown saw a need in her community in Oakland,” Katie said. Brown had a difficult upbringing. She grew up in Mississippi, working on a cotton field. She helped raise her 11 siblings, and then her sister’s kids, and swore she would never have kids of her own. Well, things took a different turn.
Brown relocated to California, earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of San Francisco and her Real Estate Broker’s license. She went on to become the owner of Nationwide Realty in Oakland, CA.
She knew she wanted to give back to her community. And she most certainly did. In 1987 she adopted an entire first grade class in Oakland and promised them if they stayed in school and got admitted to college, she would pay for their college education. Not only did she keep her promise to that first class of students, but to date, 136 students from low-income families have also received mentoring, tutoring, and financial support from the Oral Lee Brown Foundation.
She made an impact on Katie, which is why Katie wanted Brown to join her onstage. They talked about how this all started, how Brown’s upbringing prepared her for this, how she’s has kept it going, and the relationships that come out of her work. Brown updated Katie on what some of her kids are doing now. Katie recalled, “In 2002 I surprised you on the TODAY Show with Nekita and Jeffrey — two of your babies, as you call them — and I’m not surprising you tonight because you brought them here with you!” Then Jeffrey joined them onstage, who gushed about Brown and everything she’d done for him.
After a seriously touching conversation, it was time for a little laughter. Katie’s next guest was comedic genius Leslie Jordan — who you likely know from Will & Grace or his hilarious Instagram videos. Although his impressive career spans far beyond that.
These two met during the pandemic virtually, when Jordan’s Instagram presence took off thanks to amazing videos of him entertaining himself in quarantine back home in Tennessee with his family. “I thought his Instagram was so damn funny, I just had to meet him,” Katie said.
They got to meet in person tonight and Katie couldn’t contain her excitement. “There weren’t many bright spots in the last year and a half, but for me, your Instagram was definitely one of them, Leslie,” she said. Jordan has over 5 million Instagram followers now. And, for those of you who haven’t gone down the wonderful rabbit hole that is Jordan’s collection of videos, we’d love to try to explain what makes them so endearingly hilarious, but we wouldn’t do it justice. You just have to see for yourself. Here are some of our favorites:
Jordan regaled the audience with tales of his upbringing and family. And while the conversation was full of laughs, they also talked about Jordan losing his father at a young age and his early struggles in Hollywood. Of course, they talked about his unforgettable character on Will & Grace.
Before Katie closed out the show, she recognized local charity Lava Mae, which helps homeless people in California access hygienic services like showers. Katie surprised Lava Mae with a $25,000 donation! You can learn more about the organization and donate yourself here.
If you haven’t yet picked up a copy for Going There for yourself, what are you waiting for?! It’s chock full of hilarious, revealing, moving stories from Katie’s life and career, and it’s now a New York Times bestseller.
Want to see what Katie packed for her tour? Wonder no more: Check out all the wearable must-haves and accessories she brought along on her journey. Her next and final show will be in Nashville on Nov. 15 — pick up your tickets now!