Entertainment

Desus & Mero On Their New Book, How They’d Moderate A Presidential Debate, And The Despair Of Being A Knicks Fan

The brand isn’t just strong, it’s durable, with Kid Mero and Desus Nice moving operations of their Showtime late-night comedy series to the virtual space with enviable shoe walls and socially distanced humor that, to be honest, hums and roars like the show did when they were in studio together. It’s something Mero told us is a benefit of a long comedy partnership where the two only rely on each other for any kind of feedback. “No matter where you put us, audience, no audience, 20 people, 5,000 people, you’re still going to get the same kind of vibe. So it works in any format.” But will it work in book form? All signs point to yes with Desus & Mero pulling from a lifetime of experiences and lessons learned from their Bronx upbringing to create God-Level Knowledge Darts (out 9/22), a legitimately on-brand book that could comfortably live in either the comedy or self-help section.

We spoke to the comedy team about the book, stumping lawyers during legal review of the drug chapter, their differing POVs, and navigating life in lockdown. And with Donald Trump insinuating that he’d like to have Joe Rogan moderate a four-hour Presidential debate, we had to ask about what a Desus & Mero-hosted debate would look like.

I don’t know if you saw the news but apparently there’s some effort to get Joe Rogan to host a four-hour debate between Biden and Trump. You guys want to put your hat in the ring to host a debate? You want to go five hours?

Desus: Hell yeah! Hell yeah. Because every time you watch a debate, you have professional journalists and they’re very respectful. And they’re like, “Your time. Your time. You’ve gone over.” If me and Mero were there, it would be like, “Yo, shut the fuck up, my man!”

Mero: “Yo, shut the fuck up! Yo, you’re done! Yo, you’re done.”

Desus: “Cut his mic off. Yo, my man, I will come up there. I will come up on that stage, keep playing with me.” It will be the first debate where one of the candidates is speaking you just hear, “yo, who’s mans is this!?”

Mero: I’ll go straight into the Dominican Dad Mode. I’ll take my belt off, I’ll be like, “Yo, I told you your time was the fuck up. Get away from the mic and let somebody else speak.”

Desus: “Yo, this nigga lying, your honor.” It’d be wild. It would be wild. Also, it’d be the only debate where they’re talking about fracking or something very important, and all of a sudden you just hear, “DER-EK JE-TER [Claps] DER-EK JE-TER [Claps].” We stop broadcasting the debate, we just talking about Yankee highlights. “Hey, Mero, remember Mike Mussina?”

Mero: Whoo. “Remember Tino Martinez? That guy, oh, that was a stud right there. Incredible field presence.”

Desus: “Oh, he had such a vision. Listen. Listen. When he was at bat it was epic.”

Yeah, I want that. It’s going to beat anything Rogan could do, anything anybody else could do. Let’s make that happen.

Mero: You know what I’m saying? Rogan would have to smoke DMT to get to our level if we went on there. He would have to do that, he would have to do whatever he does on his podcast, smoke ayahuasca before he does this shit to even touch what we’re doing. [Laughs]

I know they’re talking about wanting to drug test the candidates if they can actually make sure that whoever hosts it is high as fuck, that would be the way to go.

Desus: You see? They’re talking about drug testing the candidates. If we were hosting it, it’d be a cipher. It’d be the first debate that’s in a hotbox. Instead of just asking questions, we’re just standing around, we’re just passing the wild-l to Joe Biden. He’s passing it to Donald Trump, Donald Trump’s like, “What is this?”

Mero: [Trump impression] “Wow, it’s a presidential Kush. Wow. Some acid. Whoa.”

Desus: Biden’s like, “Whoa, you got me feeling like I’m back on the Amtrak. Whoa.”

Mero: We’re doing it all in a Buick LeSabre with a GoPro. That’s it. [Laughs]

With the relationships, kids, and the money stuff… Obviously, this book was written months and months ago. How do you think this all applies to now with everything in the new-new, post COVID world?

Desus: Speaking for myself, everything has kind of changed but the basics are the same. The thing with COVID is it’s made your reality different. Because now you could possibly get into an altercation with someone because they’re not wearing a face mask. That’s nothing I’ve ever had to worry about ever in my life. And it’s just kind of using what you were born and raised with in The Bronx and your life experience and just kind of applying it now. Things that might have mattered more before COVID don’t really matter now. I have a great sneaker collection but where am I wearing these sneakers to? I’m throwing on a brand new pair of Jordans to go get an Amazon package? That’s not fun. But yeah, this is the new reality.

Last time we talked, I asked you about sneaker budgets and setting the level. You said get a new pair when I write a big piece, and I do that now and there’s no point.

Mero: Instagram!

Desus: Yeah, but even Instagram is like… It’s not the same. The flex is gone, that’s the side effect of corona. It stole the flex.

It is. Mero, how is it affecting your family life and relationship and everything being at home?

Mero: Yo. Yo, you put it on the tee for me, bro. That’s why this book is so perfect, because you get two sides of everything almost, you know what I mean? Because our life’s like, we’re boys and we vibe super heavy but our lifestyles are different, you know what I mean? With the book, you get both sides of life essentially. So for me, it’s not about going out on dates and getting the right outfit together or whatever. It’s more like, yo, how are me and my wife going to keep from murdering each other while being on top of each other all the time? You know what I mean? Because a normal marriage is like, yo, you have your day, I have my day, we reconnect throughout the day or whatever. But now, it’s just 24 hours real world. Like Big Brother, we’re in the house all the time, 24/7 and it’s taught me a lot of patience and understanding, a lot more talking. You know what I mean?

So I want to say surviving the pandemic relationship-wise is just about communicating and not taking shit personally and understanding. Like, this is a weird situation and everybody’s reacting differently. My wife likes to go outside and go hiking and walking and jogging and this and that and she was losing her mind, getting stir-crazy. So I didn’t take any type of, “oh, I’m upset about something or I’m moody” or whatever… I didn’t take it personally. I was like, “I understand your life has been thrown off-kilter, mine has as well so we’re both going to be a little snippy sometimes.” And just understanding that and working together to get past that and not taking stuff personally.

Showtime

Like you said, you guys live different lives. What did you learn about each other and how you process things going through each other’s sections of the book?

Desus: I mean it was kind of stream of consciousness so it really felt like just talking to Mero or just a conversation.

You went back and forth or was it you did a section and then he had his section?

Desus: It was weird.

Mero: It was a list of self-help questions.

Desus: They just meshed together because we’ve worked together so much that it’s just kind of… We know each other’s vibes and we already know what it was. Other authors would have had to be in the room together so there’s some continuity. And we didn’t have to do that.

Mero: We worked in a Google doc.

Desus: I mean I don’t want to brag but the last time two different authors were able to get together and make a comprehensive book, it’s a little thing called the Bible. So that’s where we’re at. That’s where we’re at, right there. And that was 66 books, you know what I’m saying? We got one.

Mero: We got one so we got 65 more to go.

Desus: So I’m not saying but I’m saying, you know what I’m saying here, all right?

Hey, listen, I read 60 pages of your book and I want to keep going. I read 60 pages of the other book and…

Mero: You were like, “yo, where are we going here? What’s this sheep thing? What’s going on?”

Desus: Yeah, there’s plot holes, they’re talking to a lion in a pit, we don’t got nothing in our book like that.

What was the legal review like for this? The drug section was interesting, getting the allegedly-s in.

Desus: That email was hilarious because there’s so many things that had to be redacted from the book. And then just the emails where they were just like, “I don’t even know if this is a crime” or “what is this?”

Mero: What’s the statute of limitations?

I want to ask you guys a basketball question real quick. Giannis and the whole IG unfollow spree. As a Knicks fan, does that just get your hope up that this means he might be leaving the Bucks?

Mero: Yes and no. We are lifelong Knicks fans so we’re going to hope, right? But that’s also like hoping that Batman is real, you know what I mean? We know it’s not going to happen but we’re going to pretend it’s going to happen because we’re riding that Knicks cocaine high that you ride every off-season as a Knicks fan. And then when the season actually starts and you’re… Last season was a perfect example, it was supposed to be Zion, KD, and Kyrie. We ended up with Julius Randle who has a spin move that never works. So…

Desus: Yeah. You know what? Being a Knicks fan… This might not be the right comparison. I feel like being a Knicks fan is like being the father of an ugly child, you love this kid and you will do anything in your power for this kid. But every now and then you walk to the park and you’re like, god damn, it’s not going to get better.

I grew up as a Yankees fan but I switched to the Orioles a few years ago. And it’s so different because you go from that mentality of watching every other team and being like, “in a few years, we’re gonna get him” to basically like, “oh, he’s leaving? Oh, HE’s leaving? Oh, he got traded?” I do miss that New York sensibility. I’m a Bulls fan too, so I still get that a little.

Desus: Well, what’s super weird is as Yankee fans, the Yankees have been kind of floundering lately and I’m just like, all right, season’s done. Forget it. Because if it’s not a World Series, why are we even doing this? I don’t care if they make the playoffs. And my other friends go, “Wow, you Yankee fans are jerks,” and I was like, “And proudly so, Sir. Proudly, sir.”

Mero: Yeah. You got people in the mentions like, “I’m a Pirates fan! I don’t even know what success is like! You guys go to the ALCS every year!”

Desus: I’m like, “Oh, Pirates fan? You have it rough? We haven’t been in the World Series since ’09!” They’re like, “No, you don’t even understand what you just said.” I was like, “’09! That was a long time ago.”

Mero: They’re like, “Sir, please. We haven’t won since 1922.”

But the Knicks balance it out.

Desus: Exactly. Imagine us if the Knicks won four championships in a row, you understand? We would not be able to be on Zoom because our heads would be so swollen. “Hey Mero, hey Mero. I’m Patrick Ewing, four rings!”

Mero: Yeah! You know that picture of Jordan where he’s with the rings [and his hand is] on his face? We would do that. That would be every cover for everything that we ever do.

Desus: Yo, every time we’d have an interview we’d stop to talk about the greatness of the greatest shooting guard ever in the history of basketball, John Starks. You want that? You want that? Huh?

I really don’t want that.

Desus: You want us to do a 10 minute retrospective about Derek Harper? Nah, you guys don’t want this. You guys don’t want that.

Again, I grew up as a Bulls fan living in Jersey so that era the mid-’90s with Starks and Greg Anthony and all those guys… Charles Smith.

Desus: That was one of the few times we saw real basketball as Knicks fans.

It was fun, but man, if you guys won even a playoff game, it was insufferable.

Mero: Bro.

I got into a fight once on the Circle Line, me and a bunch of kids in Bulls Jerseys throwing garbage at a bunch of kids in Knicks jerseys.

Desus: I love it. I love that. Yes.

Mero: We need that energy.

Desus: We don’t have that energy anymore. Now you leave Madison Square Garden, you think you’re leaving a funeral. People get in their Ubers and you just hear soft weeping, it’s just sad.

‘God-Level Knowledge Darts’ is out September 22. You can get your copy here and below you can check out an audio chapter preview from the book’s section on relationships –courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio — narrated by the authors.

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