Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Life On The F List

I am not really that famous. True, I host a radio show on SIRIUS Satellite Radio but so do about 700 other people. It is hard to feel special in that kind of environment. There is Howard Stern, and then there is everyone else, and then there is me. Romaine and I have been hosting this show since April 2003, almost five years now. It has been a lot of fun for us, and I hope the listeners too. There have been some high moments for me (dancing with Charo, meeting Olivia Newton-John, being called a “faggot” by my beloved Meredith Vieira) and some low moments (interviewing Amy Sedaris was worse than a root canal). But overall, I think it is a body of work that I can look back on with a certain amount of pride in accomplishment. After all, it is the second longest running talk show at SIRIUS (Mike is the longest) and it can’t be that bad if we are still around.

This doesn’t mean we haven’t received our fair share of criticism over the years. The former head of programming at SIRIUS famously predicted early on that our show would be the first one on the OutQ Channel to wash out (we didn’t). In the outside world, in particular has been filled with some genuine and for us even hilarious vitriol. I particularly enjoyed the gay face vs. carb face debate about me some years ago, and who among us can forget when they said of Romaine pictured in the Long Beach Pride Parade, “I didn’t know whales rode in convertibles.” More recently they have taken aim at my gay voice and my obnoxious laugh, two points that while I would probably not start a datalounge thread about, I am generally in agreement on (and if you want to know what I am packing, drop me an email). But the hatred really kicked up a notch when we announced this week that we would be co-hosting the GayVN Awards this year.

From the beginning of our show, we have had porn stars on with us. Our closest and longest running porn friendship has been with John Rutherford of Colt Studio, dating back to the summer of 2003. John’s boyfriend Tom is a long time SIRIUS subscriber and he encouraged John to take a listen and then to have Colt stars on our show. Colt even did an early ad buy on our show for Buckleroos, and the on-air interview about the film spurred listener phone calls that encouraged John to make Big Rig under his Buckshot Productions line. John even offered us both cameo roles in the film, of which mine, the lascivious motel manager who tries most unsuccessfully to bed Colby Taylor, earned me a GayVN nomination last year. I lost in a tie to industry favorites Paul Barresi and Savanna Samson.

This was not our first brush with the GayVNs though. We did a broadcast of the 2005 GayVNs on our show when it was hosted by Chi Chi La Rue. From that original recording, we captured Chi Chi’s desperate attempts to keep the drunken show moving with a wide variety of line readings on the word “alright!” which now populate our canned phrases database on the show. Since then, Chi Chi has also become a SIRIUS subscriber and frequent listener of the show (and as you have seen from my previous blog entries something of a delightful travel companion for me).

After several years as host, Chi Chi would appear to be done with the duties for the time being and offered to help the GayVN folks find another host. The bar was set insanely high last year with comedian Kathy Griffin, so almost anyone after that was bound to feel like a letdown. And that was the moment Romaine opened her big mouth. John Rutherford was a guest on the show and we got to talking about this year’s show and talk turned to the search for a host. Ever the egomaniac, Romaine naturally suggested us, which sparked John to call Chi Chi who called the GayVN folks. The next day I got a call from Chi Chi asking us if we would like to do it in the company of another host, ideally one in a dress. In a way, Romaine and I are perfect non-political hosts for the show, I thought. We are supportive of the industry but unlike other better known names inside the industry (Jason Sechrest, Tim and Roma, etc) we have no built in associations and allegiances. Even Michael Lucas likes us! Plus we have the added advantage of a national radio show to help promote the awards on. I knew we would be a disappointment after the Griffin, and as I could tell from my GayVN appearance last year, porn stars are not early adopters of satellite radio, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how rapidly we would be sent down the river.

During the show tonight, I got an IM from Jason Sechrest, who we have had a long and very mildly complicated relationship with. I first met him in 2003 in Chicago (which he won’t remember) when he and Chi Chi (who also wouldn’t remember it) were hanging out in a VIP room at some nightclub. I tried to introduce myself to him and to Chi Chi, but I never got past Jason. Our show was completely unknown and SIRIUS had fewer than 200,000 subscribers at the time, and his icy reception reflected our very low status on the media totem pole. Since then, as our subscriber base and profile have risen, so has Jason’s warmth toward us. It is a version of celebrity geometry I became quite familiar with when I lived in Hollywood and I don’t take it personally. Most recently, Jason facilitated booking Ben Andrews and Jonathan Vargas on the show, both of which were great additions to the show and I am much appreciative of him in his efforts.

His IM tonight during the show was one of quick apology. He wanted to assure me, as he already had posted online, that his video blog about us as the new hosts of the GayVNs was all in good fun. We don’t have sound in the studio so I had to wait until after the show to give it a good viewing. Romaine and I sat upstairs and watched it and frankly, he didn’t say anything I wouldn’t have said about it myself. He held his hands out over and over weighing the two shows. On the one hand Kathy Griffin. On the other, Derek and Romaine. No comparison! Even with the addition of Lady Bunny, the unconfirmed additional host (who I adore), still no comparison. Kathy Griffin is a gay icon (despite her recent awkward run-ins with the community)! Jason’s video blog was all in good fun and we got that (as he knew we would), but it was the posting on that he knew was going to piss us off.

Written anonymously, and clearly by someone who (like Jason) had never heard our show. They had done nothing but read our show one sheet and my latest blog entry and pronounced sentence on us. Romaine was a “steroidal puffin” and I am “Reichen-fawning”, and both of us are interchangeable houseplants. Wow. Bold choice calling a woman who had a baby six months ago fat in an anonymous web posting. But what they said about Matthew Shepard was really below grade. I know you are upset about not getting to host the porn awards (that must be the end of the world), but is it necessary to discount the work someone did on a global scale to combat homophobia? You know, to make the streets safe for a low life piece of shit like you. Oh and she had a fucking baby! What have you done with your life? Frosted your tips? Finally fit into a size 32 pair of jeans? Got out of bed this morning? Sorry she has been too busy to have an eating disorder or a meth habit, she is raising a baby and hosting a national radio show. And by the way, I know Romaine can be a pain in the ass, loud-mouthed bitch sometimes, but she came out as a lesbian at 13. In Wyoming. Still the only openly gay person in her high school's history. Then she got to endure the death of her brother, her father and her friend all within a matter of a couple of years. But you didn't get to host The Pornies, so I guess it's all even now.

Our little radio show is not for everyone. Hell, most days, I don’t think it’s even all that worth listening to. But we have been doing it for five years. And even if I don’t always think its great, do you know who did? Time Magazine. They said our show was “suggestive of radio’s party days, before big radio ate the AM/FM dial… and sucked the fun right out of the control booth.” Oh and the Washington Post. They said our show was “frisky, freewheeling… a distinctly different brand of radio.” The New York Times even called me “handsome” and my ego has been dining on that for five years now. What have they said about you? And what will we say about you when we get on stage at the GayVN Awards? I guess you will just have to come by on February 16th and find out. If you dare show your face. Tickets are still available!


Anonymous said...

What was bad about interviewing Amy Sedaris?

ScottSpearsXXX said...

Hey Derek,
Am so excited you and Romaine are co-hosting the GAYVN Awards this year with my boss -- Chi Chi LaRue. I listen to you and Romaine every night. Looks like it will be an exciting time. I am just glad that the film I was in "LINK V: The Evolution" got nominated for a bunch of awards. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Scott Spears

David said...

Don't worry about the bitchy porn queens Derek. You're still fuckin hilarious and Romaine can still kick all their asses ANYTIME. As someone living a boring corporate life these days instead of enjoying a meth-assisted eating disorder (and long ago gave up fitting into size-32 jeans), your show still lets me enjoy being gay. It's gay today - funny, angry, sexy and just a little out there. Keep it up.

COLTblogger said...

Hi Derek,

Call me biased, but Chi Chi just called me and told me about all the hoopla - As the old saying goes, "If they're not talking about you, you're doing something wrong."

I for one, support you and Ro for doing the show mostly because you two have been the two "mainstream" media bitches who have supported our industry more consistently than any other.

As Chi Chi and I both know, there are a lot of bad apples in the adult industry, but for all of those there are people who are good, supportive and positive friends... You and Ro are good, honest and HARD WORKING... That I can appreciate and admire!

See you soon!


kralc67 said...

Dear Derek
I have been listening to you and Romaine for over 2 yrs now and I am a big fan. Never had I been so disappointed in you than I was on the Wed. 01/30/08 show. The blog on "The Sword" was so demeaning to the both of you. You were given the chance to really give him a peice of your mind and put him in his place and you became spineless!
He was so mean to you both, even posting a picture of a ficus plant on his blog and you basically let him get away with it.
I now am beginning to think you are all talk with no backbone and it's so disappointing to me. You both didn't deserve what he said. I listened to you on Thurs in a different light, I took you off the pedastil I had you on. When i see you at the Conga room when you come to SF, I am going to throw you in the water! :)

arteejay said...

Derek, my beautiful, Derek. I don't understand how anyone would be so disgusting and disrespectful to you or Romaine. I bought my Sirius Subscription 3 years ago because a friend told me about DNR. Although, I have fallen in love with Michelangelo Signorile, you and Romaine will always be my first satellite radio love. For the sad, pathetic, cranksta-gangsta who talked shit about you on that stupid fucking sword blog or whatever. If you find out who it is let me know and I will handle some business. I know you are used to hearing people talk shit about you because you are a public figure. But I'm a loyal listener and get very protective over my friends and family. So whoever that fucking punk is he better watch his fucking mouth. If he knows what's good for his health he will remain anonymous. Or the stupid muthafucka will be fertilizer for house plants!