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Art 'Chat Daddy' Sims and Mark Lewis: The 'Real Deal'
by Melissa Wasserman

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Talking over BlogTalkRadio about everything from relationships and sex to the current news headlines and local community members on their radio show "The Real Deal Experience," Art "Chat Daddy" Sims and Mark Lewis (a gay and a straight man, respectively) sat down for an interview with Windy City Times about their radio show, friendship, lives off the air and personal styles.

Windy City Times: How'd you guys meet and become radio partners?

Chat Daddy: Mark and I are actually neighbors. I was having a situation that was going on that was rather weird and crazy, and he came to inquire about what was going on. He was able to help me get a solution to my problem. And that's how we ended up becoming friends. I already had the BlogTalkRadio slot and didn't know what I was going to do with it and had not been using it. So, he and I decided to come up with a radio show hosted by a gay man and a straight man.

WCT: Is there a format to the show?

Chat Daddy: Because I'm in morning news, my finger is on the pulse of a lot of things going on, news-wise. Then he's a topic researcher as far as hot topics that we need to talk about right now. We just try to stay current, relevant; we try to talk about things going on here in Chicago, but we also try to make it a global discussion.

Mark Lewis: Nothing's off-limits for us, but we try to keep the show very PG-13. We try not to go any further than that because we give you enough to draw you in, but we don't want to go over the edge. One, the image we're trying to put forward is the image of positivity. In terms of format, now that the show is building momentum, we're a little more diligent about how we organize the show and how far we put the show out. As the show builds, the content builds.

WCT: Is that the main premise of the show—the gay man and the straight man?

Mark Lewis: Some segments of the show focus on that aspect more than others. What happens is as we're going through our shtick in the show; you'll see the infusion of a straight man's thought process and a gay man's process on the same condition. That's what people kind of like to listen to because it's just very natural. It's not rehearsed.

WCT: Is that what makes the show different and gives it more of an edge than other radio shows?

Mark Lewis: I feel like we don't beat you over the head with any one thing or any one perspective, and that's because that's how life should be. It's our slants and views. Sometimes I'm playing the real straight man in terms of the straight man and he's the guy who's way out there; sometimes the roles reverse and I'm way out there, and he's the guy who's going down the middle of the road. So it just depends on what segment we're doing.

Chat Daddy: I'm as conservative—if not more conservative—on certain things just like he is, but yet we talk about our sex lives or what goes on, and there's a lot of commonalities there that would blow your mind. It's very interesting that a lot of people think that straight men think one way and gay men think another way—and we don't. It's totally about coming together for a greater good of people. It's about coming together to get a great message out.

WCT: What are current topics that interest you right now?

Chat Daddy: The state of political matters, and we're very big [into the discussion about] HIV and AIDS.

Mark Lewis: You get these waves of thought, and when I say waves of thought I don't just mean in our minds—just in society's mind. I think everything's relative and everything's cyclical.

Chat Daddy: We want to be factual, but yet entertaining at the same time. We want both of our personalities to come out in the show and that's why we are the way we are. We want the show to be a great conversation with your friends.

WCT: Are there any particular segments you've enjoyed?

Chat Daddy: We love any shows that deal with relationships. Because of my many years of being a relationship expert, I'm a firm believer that other than the actual act of sex, there is no difference between gay and straight relationships. It's the same BS, it's the same mayhem, same confusion. That's even how he and I became [closer] as we were becoming friends; we would talk on Saturday morning about what happened Friday night with our dates.

Then we love shows where we can promote, market and help people with their events and things like that, but then we also enjoy putting people on blast. Mark and I don't just put people on blast just because we're disgruntled or upset. We put people on blast because we really do know there's a better way to be treated, how to do things and that type of situation.

WCT: You're a relationship expert?

Chat Daddy: A published relationship expert. A lot of my television career has been as a relationship expert. I'm conservative when it comes to certain things like how you treat people. I believe each man should be able to get out and do what he needs to do. I just believe in what's right. People often tease me and call me a white girl or a white lady. I have to make sure things are perfect, things are right. I'm just that type of person. I enjoy living a white woman's life.

Mark Lewis: He enjoys clutching his pearls.

Chat Daddy: I enjoy getting up for morning television [WCIU's You and Me This Morning], I enjoy leaving work at a certain time, I believe in getting my nap every day by a certain time, I believe in people scheduling hair appointments, nail appointments—things like that I just do. I believe in cooking dinner so many days a week.

WCT: Mark, how you feel about those same activities as a straight guy?

Mark Lewis: I don't clutch my pearls.

Chat Daddy: He's a regular dude, dude. He lives a very bachelor life.

Mark Lewis: That's the other thing. There's certain aspects in my life where I might be a bit more metrosexual in, like, how I dress, but that's probably where it ends. My existence is very sterile. If you come to my house, everything's got a place; I don't have knickknacks. I have just enough to live. No more no less. You go to Chat's place, he's got color and mirrors on the wall, there's Buddha and there's tchotchkes and some little thing with rocks in it and the bamboo sticking out of it. But for me, I don't need that. If it doesn't turn on, flush, turn off, make me cool, make me warm; it's not necessary. That's just me.

Chat Daddy: You would conduct business at his house and you'd come to mine for cocktails.

"The Real Deal Experience" can be heard Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. at Listeners can join the conversation at 646-649-0868 and email them at . They can also be found on Facebook by typing in "Real Deal Experience with Chat Daddy & Mark Lewis" as well as on Twitter under chatandmark.

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