Grasping the microphone and keeping a very straight face, Kevin Jordan said he quit the Los Angeles Police Department mainly for health reasons.
"I found out I was allergic to doughnuts," the former officer told a receptive crowd at the L.A. Cabaret Comedy Club in Encino.
A wiry black man, Jordan was launching into a routine that draws on his 3 1/2 years as a police officer. The act has taken him to clubs all over the country in what he hopes is the beginning of a successful career in the tough business of making people laugh.
"I remember my first day at the academy," the 27-year-old Jordan says frequently as part of his routine. "A sergeant came in and told us, 'There is no 'black' here at LAPD. There is no 'white' here at LAPD. Just men in blue. Now I want you to get up here and line up. All the light blue men in the front, all the dark blue men in the back.' "
Although he has high hopes for his career as a comedian, Jordan is the first to admit that he wasn't such a great cop, and his superiors at the Police Department agree that the citizens of Los Angeles are far better off with Jordan as a comic than as a cop.
For one thing, as Jordan told the crowd at the L.A. Cabaret, he hated giving traffic tickets--except to "big, burly macho guys."
Affecting an effeminate manner, Jordan got a round of laughter as he sashayed up to an imaginary car. His wrist dangling, he said in a mincing voice to the occupant: "Slut!"
Then, teasingly, "Hi, fella." Shaking a finger, "You were speeding. Going much, much too fast. Now, I need to see your driver's license and registration." Pretending to scan the license, "Oh! You're a Pisces! Just go, go! "
(Jordan swears that he actually pulled this routine on several drivers he stopped while on duty.)
Then Jordan donned mirrored sunglasses and police cap and performed a "police rap" song called "Man in Blue." Sample lyrics: "Everyone asks do we have a quota. I say, 'No! Five tickets and we get a toaster."
At one time, Jordan juggled his police and comedy careers--with mixed results.
Says retired Los Angeles Police Capt. Roy Randolph, Jordan's former commanding officer: "He would have been a good candidate for the movie 'Police Academy.' He exhibited the same lack of common sense. He was called on the carpet more often than anybody else" in the Van Nuys Division.
At one point, Jordan was working nights doing stand-up comedy at the now-defunct Playboy Club in Century City. Afterward, he would report to work as a patrolman on the graveyard shift in the streets of West Los Angeles, the division in which the club is located.
Randolph wasn't the only one of Jordan's supervisors to be alarmed by his behavior.
Jordan's commanding lieutenant thought that his lampooning of the Police Department could undermine his authority.
"What happens if you're out patrolling and you pull someone over, and he's just seen your show?" the lieutenant reportedly asked Jordan.
"I told him, 'If he liked the show, I'd let him go on his way. If he didn't, I'd give him a ticket,' " Jordan said.
One of a crop of shorter-than-average officers allowed on the force when the department lowered its height standards to recruit more women and minorities, Jordan had trouble reaching the gas pedal of his patrol car, one of his ratings reports noted.
Once, when Jordan drove the car without a partner, a citizen called the police station to report that a little kid had stolen a police car, Jordan said.
Smurfs on Duty
Or there's this story, now part of Jordan's routine, about working with a woman partner:
"She was 5-foot-1, 110 pounds. I'm 5-foot-4, 125 pounds. You know, we got out of the car, it was like the Smurfs coming at you: 'OK, put your hands down where I can see them.' "
Jordan admits to being a wise guy who deliberately tweaked his LAPD bosses by alternately flouting the rules and following them "to the letter."
He kept a thesaurus handy to sprinkle his written reports with baffling words that sent his sergeants to the dictionary. Or he deliberately wrote in very small print.
At one point, he was put on notice for wearing a black head scarf and a gold earring with his uniform. Another time, he was called on the carpet for wearing goofy-looking sunglasses.
He was chastised for pulling over a motorist in the middle of summer--the temperature was 95 degrees--while wearing a winter jacket. "Oh, it's so cold," he told a baffled matron, as he shivered and blew on his hands.
His sergeant did not think it was funny. Nor was he amused by another stock character in Jordan's repertoire--the blind officer.
"My superiors said they didn't know whether it was part of my comedy routine or I was trying to go for a phony psycho pension," Jordan said.
Parking Ticket Problem
The department's irritation with Jordan was brought to a head when it was discovered that he had several thousand dollars' worth of unpaid parking tickets.