Jesse was born on October 22, 1975 in Missoula, Montana, but was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jesse was bit by the acting bug when he was only eight years old. This resulted in him joining the Albuquerque Children's Theater. In high school, he acted in various productions, including Bye Bye Birdie and Li'l Abner. After high school, Jesse moved to New York City to attend The American Music and Dramatic Academy.
While in New York, Jesse continued to pursue his stage career and appeared in both off-Broadway and Broadway shows. He originated the role of Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In addition to theater, Jesse's most famous role is that of Mitchell Pritchett on Modern Family. Jesse has been nominated for an Emmy three times for his role as Mitchell. Some of Jesse's other television credits include, The Class, Do Not Disturb, Ugly Betty, and Web Therapy. Jesse helped fund a project called Tie the Knot, which designs and sells bowties to raise money for LGBT-rights organizations.