On Stage With He Said, She Said
He Said, She Said Duo Emcee 2010 San Diego PRIDE's Mainstage This Weekend
To call them a "dynamic duo" doesn't come close to describing the chemistry between Aaron Heier and Ophelia Later. The co-hosts of hit online talk show He Said, She Said take ribbing and razzing to a whole other level. From the news of the day to drag dress-up drama, these two drama queens stream their brand of sass live online from various locations in San Diego every Thursday. And this week, they'll have their biggest audience yet: The main stage at the San Diego PRIDE festival, which is expected to draw over 300 thousand people to the region. He Said, She Said will be emcees at main stage all weekend introducing acts like Blake Lewis, Eve and DEVO, as well as broadcasting their radio show live from the PRIDE parade. We sat down with the duo recently to get their take radio, PRIDE and what's next. Edited excerpts follow.
How did you get such a FAB gig as Emcees at the San Diego PRIDE Festival's Main stage?
Ophelia: The Pride Board of Directors approached me to Emcee on the main stage in 2009. It was a great honor and I had a fantastic time doing it. Pride received a lot of positive feedback to me hosting last year, so they asked me to do it again this year. I thought it would be great to have a co-host this time and, since Aaron and I have such great chemistry on our show, it's only natural that I asked him to co-Emcee with me.
Aaron: Ophelia did it last year and was amazing. So, of course when she asked me to do it with her I wasn't going to say no! It's one of the largest civic events of the year in our city with over 300 thousand people celebrating, having fun and being proud of who we are as individuals and as a community.
Are you nervous?
O: Not as much as I was last year. I'm always a little nervous when I go in front of a crowd…but usually only until I walk on stage and hear the applause. Then I feel at home.
A: Oh sure, I'm nervous. Not really about being onstage with Ophelia, because we have a great rapport and it will be like every week on the show, just with a larger audience. I'm more nervous about the entertainers we'll be introducing. Blake Lewis, Devo and Eve! I just hope I don't screw anything up.
How would you describe the vibe of the PRIDE festival this year?
O: This year's Pride is going to be great. There are a lot of people talking about Pride so the buzz is there. They rolled back ticket prices, and the new Pride Board of Directors are a great group of committed people who are really working hard to bring the meaning of Pride back. This year’s festival has a lot of fun elements and great entertainment, including Aaron and me on the main stage keeping the energy and fun going!
A: I think people are ready for a celebration. Our community has had some wins and losses this year, and I personally think this Pride weekend will be about leaving the issues and conflicts at the gate and just having fun. Our LGBT brothers, sisters and allies need and want to laugh, dance, drink, shop, eat, play and just enjoy the weekend for what it's about - Pride!
Aaron, you’re also very involved in other aspects of the LGBT community in San Diego, volunteering for The Center and Stonewall Citizens Patrol. Do you see your duties at PRIDE and with HSSS as a welcome break from the politics?
O: What am I, chopped liver? I wear lots of hats and wigs too...
A: Ophelia totally wears many, MANY hats in the community. She's been involved much longer than I have and is truly one of my biggest inspirations to do good. She just needs to get on Twitter. For me, there's quite a bit of synergy in everything that I do. Volunteering, activism, working at The Center and with Stonewall Citizens Patrol or doing the show with Ophelia, I'm about sharing, helping and giving back. Whether that's in the form of offering news and information in my blog, helping people access resources at the Center, get a ride home if they've had too much to drink while out on patrol with Stonewall, or just sharing details about fun new events or parties in the city - and having a laugh while doing it on the show - I just want to give back.
So tell me more about this online talk show—You host it from different locations all over the city, right?
O: Well, for me, it started after I was a guest on a podcast and that fueled my desire to want to do something similar of my own. I've hosted shows around town for many years and also written columns, but this was different. And, I didn’t want to do it by myself. I wanted someone strong in mind and personality. So, one night at a party, Aaron and I chatted for hours and had an amazing conversation. On my drive home, it clicked. He'd be a great co-host. The next day I called him and said, "lets do a podcast." He laughed at first and said that he wasn’t into doing a podcast, that they were "so last year" and that there are so many of them. But, he said he'd totally do a videocast. I wasn’t up on all that and, honestly, I was a little hesitant since I knew that I would have to ‘get in face’ every show. We met for lunch and by the time we were done, “He Said, She Said” was born. We agreed that we needed to find a way to stream it live every week and that we should film it at different spots around the city to highlight all the great places in town. Everything has just fallen into place and is bigger and more fun than even we thought it could be.
A: Yep, that's exactly how it happened. We asked two friends of ours, Bo and Joey, if they'd be interested in helping put the show on and they've truly turned the production of our show from bumbling to seamless. We debuted our site on May 27, and it's just grown into an online entertainment portal, much bigger than we initially dreamed. I couldn't be happier with it. The traveling aspect of the show really adds to the energy. We're not in the same place every week. Our live fans who follow us to each destination love it too. And, we wouldn't be able to do a quarter of it without the help of our Producers Bo and Joey. They really help make it work on all levels.
What’s been your favorite host spot so far?
O: I'm not sure I can answer that! I will say that all the places we have gone have been great to us and offer something different. That's one of the main reasons we like to go from place to place and highlight them. I will say that the Hard Rock Hotel pulled out all the stops to have us there including putting us up for the night in one of their great rooms with full VIP treatment.
A: Exactly. The Hard Rock Hotel was fantastic. And, again, many of our fans who came to watch the show that day had never been to the hotel before. I'd have to say that the Hard Rock Hotel, Andaz Hotel and out on Chris Shaw's boat have been three of my top favorites, all for different reasons. Having said that, Martini's Above Fourth is amazing. We have so much fun webcasting there but both times we've been, we've had some technical 'glitch' in the middle of stream. Their Internet doesn't like us.
What’s next for you two?
O: We're excited to be starting a second weekly live show in August that will be dedicated to featuring amazing guests. When we started, I didn’t think people would want to come on the show and talk with us. I was so wrong. So, we will keep our original idea on Thursdays for “He Said, She Said On Location” traveling around to highlight the hot spots in San Diego, while we chat about topics of interest, weekly events and news. The new Monday web cast will be “He Said, she Said Live with...” and will feature us interviewing people.
A: We've got a lot coming up, and most of it focuses on growing the show and the website. We've had such amazing feedback from viewers, readers, fans and friends who all have given us some great ideas for new content, new features and new ways for us to entertain. Ultimately, that's what its about for us, informing and entertaining viewers in a way that doesn't exist out there right now. We have our own style. We're a little crass with a lot of sass, and we're going to continue to be sassy with every new thing we develop. Whether that's new shows on the site, guest segments on our current shows, a nightly news cast or taking HSSS on location across the country, which we're working on right now, there's plenty more entertaining on the horizon. We'll be around for a while...