Exclusive Interview with Slade Smiley
by Guest Blogger – Real Mr. Housewife
A Conversation With Slade Smiley
Speaking with Slade Smiley was a pleasure. He was very open, honest, and had a lot of fun and interesting things to say, both housewives and not. I am very excited for him with his radio venture that is going extremely well. Please make sure to tune into it at Playlist 92.7 (you can listen online as well!) Here is our interview below:
MRH: How was your radio show today?
Slade: You know, it’s a lot of fun, actually. You haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet?
MRH: I tried to listen to it on my iphone and couldn’t find an app to listen to it on.
Slade: The app to download is on our website. Playlist927.com
MRH: Specifically for iphone?
Slade: Yeah. You can also stream us live. Go to playlist927.com. There’s a listen live option, you can stream us live under that. If you go to my page you can hear some of my shows and some of my previous interviews that we have posted.
MRH: I tried to do that before and it said traffic on your site was too high.
Slade: We’ve shut the server down a couple of times. We’ve been pretty lucky because a lot of people are tuning in. It’s getting bigger and bigger so it’s pretty cool… It’s a busy time.
MRH: So how did the whole radio thing come about?
Slade: The opportunity to do radio presented itself after my improv show. Gretchen and I toured around and we played three or four different improve venues. We also hosted Gotham Comedy Club in NYC when we were up there. One of the radio station managers had been to one of the radio shows and said “we’re looking to hire a mid-day drive, we were interested in potentially hiring a comedian so I’d love for you to come and audition for the part.” [this led to the radio show]… We’ve been named the highest rated hour of the day for the radio station. We’ve got consecutive growth week after week. The show keeps getting bigger and bigger. The radio station is thrilled. The advertisers are happy and I’m enjoying producing the content.
MRH: So I’m guessing there’s a lot more to that improv you mentioned than what we saw on TV?
Slade: (laughs) So much more! It’s very interesting because we sold out on a Tuesday night which is difficult to do at an improv. It was a very fun and entertaining show. There were 4 other comedians, so Gretchen and I were doing our variety act in between each of the comedians. One of the people in the audience that night was Robert Hartman, He is the principal owner of the Improv and Levity comedy clubs around the country. He offered to manage me and continue our Improv show and put us out on tour because of the quality of the show. Bravo is… making the soap opera so they don’t really have time to show everything that happens. We were a bit frustrated because they cut off the laughter. When you see us doing the… jokes then no laughs it made it almost uncomfortable to watch. What Bravo forgot to do was… did you watch our reunion show? There was footage of me doing my comedy act in the reunion show. They do a flashback of it and they show the content, but they forget to edit it, and you see the laughter an all the people applauding in the background.
MRH: I’m not surprised. When I talked to Sarah Winchester, who I’m friends with, she seemed to feel Bravo chooses what they want to show.
Slade: I’ll give you the statistic- about 75 hours of filming equals one usable hour. Of that hour- because we’re an ensemble cast- the girls get eight minutes a week. Of that eight minutes the guys are typically ancillary, you’re in the background, you might get a minute or two. There’s no possible way for them to tell the whole story so you get bits and pieces of what happened that gets put together…. how those pieces are put together and people’s perception can be very different from seeing everything that went down.
MRH: I feel you have been misrepresented a lot on the show. It seems like you’ve gotten that “Housewife Hunter” label (Slade laughs) which I think is kind of ridiculous. From being a viewer for all the seasons it seems like you just have happened to be there but then a lot of the women, especially Vicki, seem to spin it a certain way.
Slade: Of course.
MRH: So what are your thoughts about that? One of my follow up questions is that Vicki and you seemed decently close in season one and then there seemed to be a paradigm shift?
Slade: That’s multi-layered, your question. I wasn’t so much affected by the term “Housewife Hunter,” I thought that was kind of funny. I was more affected by the deadbeat Dad stuff that Vicki and even Tamra at that time were putting out there. If you watch the first couple of seasons, all I was concerned about was my kids… the whole point in me ending my relationship with Jo is because she wanted to party and my primary focus was the kids. To suddenly be shifted from the doting father to the deadbeat was pretty frustrating. Unfortunately, people believe what they see last and they don’t always remember back to the beginning. I kind of feel that Tamra and Vicki- at that time- were busy pointing fingers at me, and the reality they are the ones that were going through their own indiscretions. I think smart people call that deflection. Putting the bad things you do on to other people to take the focus of them. It has just recently come out that Vicki has had many relationships with other men since day one. We’ve all known it, we’ve talked about it outside the show, but Bravo has never really focused on it or chosen to air any of that content. Vicki’s the one that’s been unfaithful to Don their entire marriage, not the other way around. The women are very hypocritical, but I suppose that’s why Bravo puts them on TV. In Tamra’s defense, Tamra has apologized multiple times on camera and off. She said, “Look, I was given misinformation. The mistake I made was believing it and putting it out there in such a public manner.” She said “I apologize for smearing your name, I should have never done that.” Tamra has lived up to her word since she apologized. She’s been very friendly and supportive. Vicki has apologized and then goes right back out there and stirs crap back up again pointer her finger at everyone else. Then she apologizes and then does it again. It’s like Ground Hog day with this this woman. We’ve just learned that she can’t be trusted and I don’t know what Vicki’s deal is, but we chosen to just really associate with her at this point.
MRH: There’s a spreecast on Wednesday nights… there were so many people talking negatively about Brooks…. This guy came on to basically defend Brooks and what a wonderful person he was and how wonderful Vicki and him were. It seemed like such a hypocritical move on Vicki to insult you for the last few years, but then date somebody who has public records of being the “deadbeat Dad.”
Slade: Sure. Right. It’s very true. Here’s the thing- I have no ill will towards Brooks at all because I really don’t know the guy. He certainly has a bit of a checkered past. He was certainly involved with Vicki while she was married, which I think is a bit shady to begin with. Her own daughter even confirmed that while she was doing her phony renewal of her vows two years ago with Don on the beach, Brooks was busy texting her at that time. She has already cheated on Brooks with a guy in Cabo. She admitted to it off camera then denies on camera. You never know what to believe. They’re really just kind of odd people. Gretchen and I don’t have the same beliefs system. Again, I don’t know Brooks… In my opinion, I think Brooks is enamored by Vicki because she’s on television. Obviously the 20/20 piece that was done on him was pretty brutal and when we’re with him he seems like a very nice guy, but he seems very salesman-y. He constantly repeats the same sales pitch and lines. He has what he believes to be a well thought out saying for every situation. We always feel like we’re being sold a bill of goods. When they did the 20/20 piece on him, his baby mama- I guess he’s got four kids with three moms or something like that- she said that Brooks hasn’t seen the child since the child was two months old. She had the same greeting cards that he had given to Vicki with the exact same thing writing in them- He says the exact same lines to his baby mama’s as he says to Vicki. People are saying he is a one trick pony.
MRH: His lines, as a viewer seem…
Slade: He recycles his lines depending on which woman he’s with, which is kind of weird and cheesy, and you know Vicki seems to buy into that and she likes it. Whatever. They’re just not people we would choose to associate with.
MRH: As I mentioned, I’ve become friends with Sarah.
Slade: Sarah Winchester?
MRH: Yes, I interviewed her and we’ve developed a friendly relationship. We talk a few times a week now. You seemed pretty respectful that night at the party when you walked her out. What are your thoughts in the way she was represented? She speaks very highly of Gretchen and you.
Slade: Sarah is a very, very sweet girl. Gretchen and I have known her socially for several years. Just so people understand the back story. She was approached to do housewives. We were asked about giving Sarah’s and her boyfriend (Kurt’s) name and number to production. We declined to do that. I said “I don’t feel right about doing that until I’ve had a chance to sit down and talk with her and Kurt about what it means to be part of Housewives.” It’s not an easy path to take. People will be digging up your past. People can be making accusations about you that may not be true and you’re never gonna get your opportunity to voice the truth. It’s about this – they’re making a soap opera, there is not always resolution. And I just want you (Sarah) to be clear that you’re a single mother with an amazing kid and I don’t want your involvement in this television series to affect that. Gretchen and I did have a sit down conversation with her and tried to explain the pitfalls – are you really sure you want this? I said, look, if you get yourself in a situation, I’m gonna remove you from the situation, because it’s the only way I can really protect you. The longer you stay there and continue to spiral down, the more content you’re giving them to use against you. My biggest concern was how it’s gonna affect Sarah and her son… he’s an amazing kid. Unbeknownst to me, Peggy had already given her name and phone number to production and they were busy already speaking with her about coming on the show. She didn’t fare well on the show and I don’t know if it’s because she was nervous and happened to be drinking or if they just caught her at those weaker moments we all have. There’s a couple of times where you see me exit her and I’m like, look Sarah, you have to go. It’s the best thing to do right now. You’re not gonna recover from this. It’s gonna make you look really bad. The best thing to do is just cut it off and walk away.
MRH: I noticed at that party you walked her out of there. She’s honestly one of the sweetest people I’ve ever talked to and I’ve gotten a lot of hate tweets from people screaming at me about her and the interview I did with her. I’m like, get to know a person before you judge them.
Slade: She’s a very sweet girl. I don’t know if I would necessarily condone her behavior because I know the Dubrows were quite upset. I have to tell you, she doesn’t like the Dubrows and it’s unfortunate, because they really are good people- they’re kind people. Sarah is basing her opinion on them from heresay and listening to what other people have told her about them, because she doesn’t truly know them either. That’s the only mistake Sarah made, I told her this, I said- if you’re talking to an ex-employee of the Dubrows who is making accusations and talking about them, you have to realize they’re a disgruntled employee. They don’t work there anymore for a reason. Because they fired her, because she was inappropriate or because she got caught stealing something, you shouldn’t believe what strangers tell you and you making accusations against people like Terry and Heather based on limited information is not good for anyone involved. From everything we’ve seen they’re great people. She’s been involved in a conflict with them for a long time and I think it’s since ended, but it was spinning out of control. They were all kind of swinging things back and forth to each other and it just didn’t make sense to me.
MRH: Speaking of conflict… What do you make of the Bellinos?
Slade: We obviously were friendly with them when we met them through the course of the show. We started through a series of issues with them because Alexis would tell Gretchen one thing and then Jim would tell me something completely different. So their stories were conflicting and there was never anything that was consistent between them. It got to the point where it was very exhausting to try and be friends and keep up with the stories because we never felt like they were being completely honest about anything and we started to feel like they would only call when they wanted information. Maybe we are completely off about that but it’s how we started to feel. It finally got to the point where I had to sit Jim down for lunch and I said, “We’re not gonna do this anymore. The girls are not going to talk business.” A lot of what we do is proprietary and we feel like it’s becoming a usury relationship.” I told him “it feels like you only call us when you want information and I’m not gonna do that anymore.” He was kind of upset about that but eventually agreed to it. In that meeting he asked me to manage Alexis and I said, “Jim, I don’t even manage Gretchen. I’m certainly not going manage Alexis.” They seem very vested in getting attention and media for themselves these days, which is why they have to run to the TMZ’s and all the Gossip sites to get articles posted about themselves. That’s not the way to obtain legitimate press. I hear there are only a handful of sites that will even talk to them anymore. It makes them seem very desperate to be seen in the media and for someone like Jim who says he has quit the show and he doesn’t want Alexis doing the show they sure seem to be spending most of their time running to media or blogging about the show. Gretchen and I just decided to focus on what we are doing. I wish them a lot of luck and I hope they find success. If Alexis chooses to come back this season, I think it’s gonna be an even harder season on her than it was the season before.
MRH: Yeah, especially now that she and Gretchen have stopped speaking as much- or at all.
Slade: Well, they stopped speaking but everything keeps coming out about them. All these people now are making the accusations about buying fake twitter followers. People are posting that Alexis’s Twitter account is spiking 10 or 20 thousand followers in a day which doesn’t even happen to Kim Kardashian. They are not legitimate followers and now people are posting it’s a “False Sense of Popularity” It’s like they are getting caught be fake all over again. It’s sad to me. Now the latest thing people are talking about is this “Operation Bullpen” Do you know “Operation Bullpen?”
MRH: No, I haven’t seen that. I know about the twitter followers. I saw something that popped up with Alexis saying she hired a team of experts and wasn’t sure what a twitter follower was or something.
Slade: I know, she’s so ridiculous. This is how she gets caught in her lies. The first thing she says is “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know how to buy twitter followers”. Okay, well she’s lying because Jim had a conversation with me while Alexis was there about getting social media people to buy followers to build your social followings, so she knows exactly what it is. It’s funny how she claims she knew nothing about buying twitter followers but managed to find Twitter experts in a single day to try and counteract a story that was spinning about her. I’m sure these so called experts are the very same people helping her bump her followers.
MRH: Then she kind of seemed to allude to you, Gretchen, and Tamra that you were hacking into her twitter to raise her followers or something?
Slade: Again- Why would we raise her followers? If people were hacking into her account they would want to decrease her followers not raise them. That’s Crazy! We’re not gonna spend our time hacking into someone’s account and increasing her popularity. Why would people do that? I feel like she just lies. She just flat out lies and that’s the frustrating part. Now… people are all tweeting us about this “operation bullpen.” This is where Jim Bellino was supposedly going to be indicted for authenticating a fraudulent Babe Ruth baseball. The story goes he ended up selling it to an undercover FBI agent and got busted in a fraud ring. In order to avoid prosecution, I’m being told he agreed to a deferred prosecution and to plead state’s evidence by agreeing to work with authorities. Reports say he is no longer allowed to be in the memorabilia business. What sucks is now they’re gonna have to deal with the aspects of selling fake memorabilia, they’re accused of buying fake followers- (Alexis) admits to wearing a fake ring. They rent their home. They rent their cars. We don’t know what to make of anything. We have just chosen to step aside and not be involved. I feel bad for them. If anyone knows how hard these accusations can be it’s me.
If you watch the video interview that Jim Bellino did with Rumor Fix, doesn’t he claim to the reporter- the reporter is his buddy by the way, I have never seen him interview anyone but Jim and Alexis. He has been to Jim and Alexis’s house. Anytime Jim and Alexis think they want to clear the air they get that goofy guy to come in and interview them. The first question they asked was about how Jim was rude and condescending to Alexis with the “Oh! Do you wear the pants now ,” comment. He (Jim) tried to claim there was more to that conversation and that it was an inside joke. They may pretend that they have an inside joke, but there was no further comment that happened during that conversation. He said that in front of myself, in front of Gretchen- there were about five people around him while he was being filmed. It felt very rude and condescending and Alexis was very embarrassed that he did that in front of everyone. Jim trying to pretend that he was saying something off the cusp and comedic and that he was just joking is not how it felt. We were all standing there. We all heard him say that and we couldn’t believe that he was so rude. It feels like every time they get caught on camera and we get a glimpse of the real Jim and Alexis they run out to media and try to spin the story.
MRH: Didn’t Jim also claim that he wasn’t really pulling his car away from the Dubrow’s party but it was just a production thing?
Slade: He was absolutely pulling away. If you notice he took his microphone off and walked out of the party. He was taking his microphone off as he was walking to his car. Why would he be cooperating with production at that point? He walked off camera. He was leaving the party. He didn’t get mad, walk off camera, rip off his microphone, and then all of a sudden go back and say “oh I need to help out with production. Let them see me drive off.” It doesn’t make any sense. If that’s the case the scene is fake.. Its comments like this that get them in trouble and then they wonder why the fake accusations continue to fly.
MRH: I know he also leaked a text message he claimed was between him and Terry, with Terry telling him he should come to the party…
Slade: Terry did invite him to the party. I don’t think that was ever in question. See, Terry and Jim already had dinner. They already had this conversation about Alexis. Terry just said “Look, my experience with your wife is that she’s been fake and phony.” Jim was adamant about having the conversation on camera with Terry. I think he thought he was going to control things and spin them back in his favor on camera. Everything they do they want on camera. What happened is that it didn’t go down the way Jim thought it was going to go down at the party, which is why he got up and walked out. I don’t know why he would care whether Tamra or Heather were there or not. He can’t handle those girls? He’s gonna run away and walk out on his wife? If he didn’t want to engage on camera, then why didn’t he just walk up to his wife and say “I’m not staying for this, I’m gonna leave.” Why didn’t he just do that? Why walk out, take your microphone off, and get in your car to drive away?
MRH: Jim totally acted like that was the first time they sat down.
Slade: That’s so untrue. We all had dinner together while the girls were in Costa Rica. All the men went to dinner together- myself, Brooks, Eddie Terry and Jim…
MRH: Didn’t Alexis say he wasn’t at that dinner on the show when he called her in Costa Rica?
Slade: Yeah, I think he told her that. He said “I’m not gonna go.” And then he showed up anyway. Brooks got really drunk at that dinner and he wanted to do that toast and he said “Here’s to a Mississippi boy making it big.” We all looked at him and were like what? You’re toasting yourself? And what makes you think you made it big? Because you started banging Vicki? That makes no sense. And now he wonders why the girls are questioning his motives. You can’t script this stuff.
Jim also made a comment that he’s done so much for me. I think he made a comment about spending money towards Grayson’s (Slades son’s) charity. He offered to donate after Bravo told him that they were not going to invite him to the reunion show. He said “if you hire me to come on the reunion show, I’ll donate the proceeds back to Grayson’s charity.” That was a last ditch effort on his part to try and get Bravo to bring him back and help Gray at the same time, unfortunately they chose not to have him film. I don’t know why he’s acting as if he made a donation to charity.
We did have a caring event on behalf of the Beckstrand Cancer Foundation. Jim did donate a night’s stay for his hotel… that charity event was not for Grayson. He (Jim) was one of 30 or 40 different corporations that did donate for that event and we appreciated it. I’m not sure why he’s acting like he’s gone out of his way and done so many great things for us. We always enjoyed our time with them socially so it sucks things have gotten to this point. Jim last comment to me was, “I’m not sure how we can repair the relationship.” I told him it starts with a conversation. The Bellino’s have to-date not shown any interest in having that conversation.
MRH: I guess what it came down to (with Alexis and Gretchen), from a viewer’s perspective, is that Gretchen was trying to be her friend and be like, “Look, as a friend I am telling you what’s going on” and it was just totally blown off.
Slade: Yes and that’s what kind of pushed Gretchen over the edge. Alexis knew before filming Fox News contacted Gretchen, Gretchen also spoke to Alexis off-camera about what the girls were gonna do in Costa Rica on the airplane, so Alexis knew that was coming. For her to claim that was not true was a flat out lie. She spoke with Alexis off-camera about the fact that the people at Fox 5 news kept offering her this job and it was putting her in a really weird position. She was like, “Look, you and I are friends. The people you work for are trying to get me to come in and take your job and it’s really kind of an uncomfortable situation for me.” Our Production knew as well. Production was pushing Gretchen to talk about it even further. That’s why all Gretchen said was “Look, I’m so glad you got this job. If anybody was gonna get it, I’m glad it was you, because they offered it to me, but I’m glad it ended up being you that got the job.” I mean she wasn’t trying to slam Alexis down in that moment. She was trying to let her know that this company keeps prospecting me. And then when Alexis accused her of lying publicly? That’s what did it for Gretchen. That’s why she ended up bringing the emails to the union show.
MRH: I think Gretchen in a really respectable way made them look stupid because on the reunion she had the email you were talking about and then Alexis just screams at production to get her an email (Slade laughs) which never appeared.
Slade: Yeah, which never appeared. What’s funny too is they accused Alexis of being so rude to everyone and she’s like “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve asked everyone and they don’t say I’m rude.” She’s then like really rude to someone in production… that’s how they are…. Unfortunately I believe they treat people that way on a regular basis and whether they realize they do it or not that’s the perception people have about them. It’s sad. I can tell you- you can have fun with Jim and Alexis. You can find them to be very charismatic and if you see them out socially you’d have a good time with them. There are just some idiosyncrasies about them from time to time and their true colors start to show up.
MRH: That’s why I kind of found it odd that Jim and Alexis contacted me. I didn’t exactly write the nicest interview of Jim and I had tried to ask them more questions when they released their statement potentially threatening to sue Tamra which they didn’t answer. When they contacted me I even said that to them- I feel bad since I didn’t write the nicest blog about you.
Slade: I think they’re very caught up in trying to get press or media around themselves. They know full well that by signing a release with Housewives you are not legally allowed to sue another cast member, production, the network, or anyone because, as a public figure, you… defamation and slander don’t pertain to you. People are talking about you all day long, so you can’t hold one person responsible. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion especially if you’re a public figure. Jim’s brother in-law is an attorney and he knows that full well. They can’t sue Tamra- they can’t legally sue her and he knows it. But to leak to the press that she’s thinking about suing her means she’s gonna get press for 5 seconds.
MRH: I mean, suing her for the whole “Jesus Jugs” comment…
Slade: Oh, whatever. They like to play the religious Christian card, but unfortunately for them, they’re gonna take a lot of heat. I think Jim’s company- something I saw on the internet said – he was responsible for authenticating a forged document that was supposedly Mother Teresa’s signature. So he’s mad at Tamra for saying “Jesus Jugs” but he’s willing to authenticate a forged signature of Mother Teresa?
MRH: I think if they do come back they’re going to have a rough time this season.
Slade: Yeah. I think so too.
MRH: As far as you go, what do you think is the one thing we haven’t seen about you on TV? A lot of people have a lot of opinions about you. When I’ve mentioned you on twitter I’ve heard he’s a jerk and I’ve heard we love him. So what do you think is the one part we’re not seeing?
Slade: I would say the only thing that people haven’t really seen about me is that I have never quit working. I never stopped working. My company has been consulting since the moment I met Gretchen. Production has filmed that and never shown that because they think it’s a better story line for them to talk about the fact that I don’t work. As a consultant, I’m very similar to a real estate agent… I’ve consulted for big brands- I’ve worked with Blackberry, I’ve worked with Verizon, I’ve worked with major tequila companies that were taking their product internationally. You know I’ve consulted with great brands. When those contracts end- sometimes they’re six months or a year- well, then you’re without a contract… You’re then busy trying to get more business. At the moments where you’ve heard me say “I don’t have a job” that’s because that previous month, maybe a contract ended and a new one isn’t gonna start for a week or two. Bravo has been fabulous at take their segments and having people say, “He doesn’t work, he doesn’t have a job.” I think the radio station prove to be a little challenging for them since it’s such a public job. The production company came to the house to talk about the next season and they went “Wow, we didn’t think you’re radio deal was really legitimate and then we were coming up the 5 freeway and we saw this giant Billboard of you and Playlist 92.7.” I go, “Yeah, it’s FM radio. I’m LA radio. It’s legitimate.” It’s such a public position; there’s no way for them to now say I don’t work.
MRH: From season 1, as you said, I remember you being a dedicated Dad and the other thing I remember about you is how much money you were making.
Slade: (laughs) That’s the thing. They have a reason for doing what they do and I’m not quite sure what that is. The guys are always vilified; it’s always about the Housewives, not the men. We used to be really upset about it, but we’ve have to embrace the fact they’re making a TV series. It’s entertaining. It’s fun to watch. I keep reminding Gretchen at the end of the day if we just put our heads down and we just keep working we’re going to accomplish all of our goals. For us- like I said earlier in this conversation- it’s about longevity for us. I know Housewives is gonna die at some point so Gretchen will no longer be a TV Housewife. When that happens she will have her cosmetic company, she will have her handbag line, she will continue in the fashion and beauty space because that’s what she loves to do. That’s what’s important to us. I’ll continue to do improv and do radio. She’s gonna sing. We’re very blessed at this point because we’re getting to do all the things we love to do.
MRH: It almost seems like for you guys Housewives has opened a sort of way to be exposed to do that.
Slade: It’s been a great platform to expose to the masses. That exposure is not always good, but at the end of the day, ultimately, the camera doesn’t lie. Over the course of time people will be able to see you for who you truly are. We’ll just continue being who we are and hopefully entertain a bunch of people along the way.
A few other things learned in the interview that were not captured above is that Gretchen most likely will be back next season. Also, as far as Slade and Gretchen getting married, we’re gonna have to watch and see what happens!
A big thanks to Slade for a great interview and big congratulations to him for the radio show. His radio show is featuring great celebrity guests including Housewives and celebrities such as Jim Belushi. Make sure to tune in to Playlist 92.7 daily from 12-1 PST. Also make sure to catch Gretchen at NY fashion week for all you east coasters.
Note from NMD. A big thanks to MRH for sharing this candid interview with Slade Smiley with the Lynn’s Place. Slade sure has strong opinions about the Bellinos. Yikes. I personally liked it better when Gretchen and Alexis were friends.