Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle was in New York City last December for a media tour on behalf of TNA Wrestling. He had numerous interviews ( print, radio and TV ) throughout a three-day span to help promote TNA Wrestling on Spike TV ( Thursdays, 8 p.m. ) .
His last appearance was on The Derek and Romaine Show, which airs on Sirius Satellite Radio … and that was his favorite, hands down.
Angle joked with the dynamic duo, filling the airwaves with candid chatter about countless topics, not just professional wrestling, though certainly plenty of that. And Angle even relented to Derek's repeated offers to eat a home-made cupcake.
Welcome to the wacky on-air world of Derek Hartley and Romaine Patterson, where the unlikely gay/lesbian duo have a popular, high-octane, no-holds-barred evening drive-time talk-show.
By the way, Angle is straight, happily married with children.
'I think the show truly is a reflection of our personalities. The guests we have on the show, the vibe we have on the show really is a direct reflection of our personalities and our interests,' Hartley said. 'We're often asked, 'How much of your show is real, how much is an act?' Well, it's 100 percent real.'
Professional wrestling and the Ultimate Fighting Championship ( UFC ) are a regular staple on the show, primarily because Patterson and producer Dan Matlaga are long-time fans. TNA, for instance, provides monthly wrestlers to appear on the show, including recent gab-fests with former World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash, Konan and others.
'A lot of the straight wrestlers who we've had on the show have been very gay-friendly to the gay community,' Hartley said.
The list of past guests on The Derek & Romaine Show is an amazing who's who: Dennis Rodman, Meredith Vieira, Bill Rancic, Wes Culwell, Chad Allen, Leslie Jordan, Suzanne Somers, Charo, Jon Secada and RuPaul.
And, The Donald. Two times.
'It really is a show for everyone … well, perhaps other than the good, church-going folk or really young kids,' Patterson said, laughing. 'Derek brings a lot of pop-culture elements; he's the funny one. I guess I kind of bring the down-to-earth qualities.'
She clearly connects with many of the straight men who listen to the show; he, no doubt, wants to date those men, or at the very least fantasizes about them sexually.
'If people don't know our backgrounds, they are going to think that Romaine grew up in a one-room shack without indoor plumbing, and that I grew up in some high-class Park Avenue apartment and have never actually spoken to the little people. But that's just our personalities. In reality, our backgrounds are not all that different,' said Hartley, born in Fredericksburg, Va., and well known for his hit weekly column FantasyMan Island ( PlanetOut.com ) which offers a blend of relationship horror stories and advice from the trenches.
Patterson is a Wyoming native who started in activism after the death of her friend Matthew Shepard in the infamous gay hate crime in 1998. Less than a year later, she founded the Angel Action, an organization for peaceful demonstration. She also has worked for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( GLAAD ) .
'Since we are [ broadcast ] on the gay channel, we make a very concerted effort to make sure that our show appeals across the board. We want a show where everyone can tune in and have a good time,' Patterson said.
And that certainly is the case. Easygoing, easy-listening, entertaining, candid, frank and full of laughs. The Derek & Romaine Show is goofy, gawdy and gregarious. It's hip, happening and almost always hysterical. Blunt and never boring; heck, Patterson admits her fantasy guest-list includes those she wants to sleep with. The hosts' energy and enthusiasm runs through their guests onto the airwaves. It's a party scene sans balloons or the adult-beverages.
About 75 percent of the show's audience is male, about 60 percent being gay males. Though the show originates in New York, it's most-listened-to market is California, followed by Texas and Florida.
Patterson is dating Iris, her partner of about 18 months, who is nicknamed The Drill Sargent. Hartley has been dating his partner, Sean, for about three years.
See www.derekandromaine.com .