By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
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By Kyle Swenson
A laid-back, self-effacing guy, Johnny often calls himself fat or ugly. He's neither. But a decade and a half in strip clubs has taught him a lot about women, he claims. Some might call him a misogynist. In truth, he's just jaded. "For a long time, it was a goal to see if I could trick girls into sleeping with me," he says. "It's like smoke and mirrors, because I'm not going to walk into the room and have somebody say, 'Wow, he's hot!' So it became a game, to see if I could do it, how many girls I could get."
Johnny's Motorola Razr V3 cell phone chimes, signaling that he has a text message. It chimes again. And again. And again. "Rapid-fire text messaging -- it's gotta be Christina," he says, referring to a petite, blond, Romanian-born exotic dancer he's dating. His girlfriends, most strippers or nude models, come and go, he asserts.
Johnny explains that he and Platypus realized long ago that creating ambiance at strip clubs isn't a long-term career. Five years ago, the pair started talking about their dream: radio. They both wanted their own show. "We were drunk one night, trying to figure out a name," Johnny says. "We were bullshitting back and forth, and I finally said, 'Let's be the Smut Doctors,' because we knew whatever we did would be on the Internet and there'd be no laws, no rules to govern us. We could do whatever we want, be as nasty as we want."
During the dot-com boom of the late '90s, Johnny operated a sideline business, XXXContentStore.com, which sold nude and sexually explicit photographs to adult-oriented websites. While running that company, Johnny says, he established the know-how and contacts to start a show.
In summer 2001, Johnny asked Kevin Godbee, director of sales for an adult Internet company in Boca Raton, to be the Smut Doctors' producer. A lanky man with glasses and long blond hair that flows past his shoulders, Godbee agreed, and in July of that year, the show was born. For the first year, tapings were done in a spare bedroom at Johnny's house in Hollywood.
The early Smut Doctorsshows had hiccups, Johnny concedes. At first, they tried to cram in too many people. Johnny and Platypus recruited two female counterparts known as Nurse Lisa and Nurse Jaslene to join producer Godbee and a regular "news correspondent" on the show. That, of course, was in addition to guest interviewees, who, like today, were primarily adult-film stars performing at local clubs. Any given show during the early days had as many as a dozen voices vying for listeners' attention. It was amateurish. "You could never tell who was talking," Johnny admits.
Johnny and Platypus eventually axed Nurse Jaslene and the news correspondent, leaving only Godbee and Nurse Lisa, who also works at Tootsie's and asked not to be named in this article. But there were still other problems with the Smut Doctors. One night, Johnny remembers, he was listening to the show. He noticed a recurring word. "Fuck, fuck, fuck," Johnny says. "We sounded like a bunch of pubescent teenagers."
As a result, Johnny put a fishbowl in the studio. If anyone used profanity, he had to drop in $1. The fishbowl stayed for three months, until everyone, including Johnny, learned to use four-letter words sparingly and only for effect. Although the naughty language was curbed, stunts became more dramatic. Among the most memorable, Johnny and Platypus say, was tricking one guest into having sex on the air with someone she believed was a pizza deliveryman.
"When we started, I said, 'This is the line. We won't cross it,'" Johnny says. "After the first show, it seemed like the wind blew the line away. I drew the line again. Then the wind blew it away again. Now, I can't even see the line."
After the rookie shock jocks taped the Smut Doctors in their spare bedroom for a year, Johnny, who had been promoted to a management-level position at Tootsie's Cabaret that included booking the featured dancers, persuaded the owners to give the show a permanent spot in a small room at the rear of the club near the kitchen and next to a space used for storage. "The show becomes a way to promote Tootsie's and who's performing here every week," Johnny says.
The location had another benefit: The dancers who perform at Tootsie's, many of them adult-film stars on the national strip-club circuit, offered a built-in network of guest interviewees.
By January 2002, the Smut Doctors had become a professionally produced weekly show.
On Monday, April 4, around 7:30 p.m., Lauren Kain -- an attractive, light-brunet, five-foot-six, 106-pound porn starlet wearing blue eyeshadow plastered on thick, as if by a Sharpie -- takes a seat on the leopard-print couch in front of Dr. Johnny. She wears an orange-and-black bikini with a Detroit Tigers logo, in honor of her hometown ball team. The music starts. The show begins.
"Have you seen that?" Johnny asks Lauren, pointing to a ten-foot dildo standing in the corner of the studio. "That's our penis-on-a-pole."