At 4 feet 7 inches, 55-year-old Jeffrey White is Kansas City’s top elf. From playing an elf in Hallmark ads to working as a leprechaun at local St. Patrick’s Day events to appearing as a gnome on billboards in France, the Olathe man has made a name for himself in the little-person entertainment world. Of all his work, he’s busiest at Christmastime — you name it, he elfs.
White recently talked naughty Santas, oily strippers and much more with The Pitch.
The Pitch: What’s the craziest thing you have seen at a holiday party?
White: I was at that bar in Martini Corner that isn’t there anymore that had a stripper pole [Empire Room], and stuff was getting out of hand. Santa was totally blasted. He was playing the bad Santa at the stripper pole. And then at house parties, when there is a big house and there is a pool and there is a hot tub, you know it’s gonna get crazy. After a while, the clothes come off, and I’m like, “Check, please.”
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have done for work?
When I worked for 96.5 the Buzz, they had me oil-wrestle this girl.
Wait, who was this girl?
A stripper. They acted like I ripped her clothes off, but I didn’t. When we wrestled, she won, so they all made fun of me.
Where do you draw the line on what you will do for money?
I just canceled an appearance on The Jerry Springer Show. They wanted to make it a love-hate triangle — a bitch-slapping type of thing where a girl of normal stature and a little-person girl would get upset over me. I don’t need that. I won’t exploit myself. Dwarf bowling, mini brawlers — I won’t do that crap. I like to do the good, clean, fun work.
If you weren’t an entertainer, what would you do?
I like to detail cars and would have a business called Little Details. This Santa I used to work with and I used to talk about doing that in the off-season. This Santa and I — we were quite the pair. And then cancer came and took him. It was the saddest thing. But when we were together, we had our act down. It was like a TV show. I’d go out there with my candy cane, calling myself Jolly Bean the executive elf, holding a list with the kids’ names divided into naughty and nice. I’d hype up Santa as the main event and have the moms and dads along with the kids jumping up and down and cheering. Man, I really miss my Santa.
We heard you were telling people at a party that you have seven kids by seven women.
I’ve never said that. I have one beautiful 13-year-old daughter, who is of normal stature and is a model, and one beautiful girlfriend. My girlfriend comes with me a lot while I elf. There are always girls kissing and hugging on me. That is just part of the shtick.
What work makes you the most proud?
The Missouri Lottery Luckytown commercials I did, way back when, really got me into the elf business. After that, everybody was like, “Who is that elf? We’ve got to get him.” I’m really proud of the gnome shoots I’ve done for photographer Nick Vedros. I’m up on billboards in France with that. And then, after the St. Patrick’s Day parade, when I’m a leprechaun, I’ll go with the clowns and everybody to Children’s Mercy and cheer up the sick kids. Imagine being a kid sick in bed, and a leprechaun shows up and gives you gold coins. It is pretty rewarding to see how happy I can make those kids.
What do you want for Christmas?
A new Cruzin Cooler 1000 [type of electric cooler scooter]. I’ve really been wearing this one out. They are made perfect for me but are not really made for the amount of usage I do. I use it for gigs and ridin’ around town, going shopping, etc. A black-and-white one would be nice.
Photo by Brooke Vandever