As native New Yorkers during an extraordinary point in history, @desusnice and @thekidmero feel a new urgency—and sincerity—about the state of the world. "My sister is an E.R. nurse who had [COVID-19] symptoms," Desus said. "My other sister, who stayed home for three months, somehow caught it. We lost a friend who’s a rapper. You have those experiences, and you meet people in the supermarket who don’t put on masks." At the link in our bio, Desus and Mero discuss making television during a pandemic, being asked to take selfies with cops, their plans for the election, and the return of the N.B.A. Illustration by @aboutnatlife.
TNY: A lot of comics are very insistent that they should be able to say whatever they want, as a means of protecting the art form.
D: It's possible to be funny and not use slurs and offend people. People say, "You guys are P.C. snowflakes." No, listen to the humor. The humor hasn't changed. It's not self-censoring. It's just not being a jerk.
M: That's the funniest part to me. When we do the podcast, we go off the rails sometimes. And yet we're seen as the arbiters of political correctness. We're just normal people who grew up in certain circumstances, and we grew. How hypocritical would it be for us to say, "This guy talking about Black and brown people is fucked up," but then we turn around and make a gay joke. That's not what we're trying to do. We're trying to bring in everybody. The show is, like I said, the people. Whoever you are, we're for you. And it's not just a numbers game. Whatever community you belong to, we want you to say, "I like those dudes. They never said some shit that rubbed me the wrong way. They're just funny, happy dudes."
The energy translates. If you put out good, happy energy into the world, that's good for everybody.
TNY: At this point, you guys have the podcast, the show, the book, the live tours. And you have audiences across every kind of platform. What's your North Star of sucess?
M: The bigger picture, speaking for myself, is that I always loved writing. I always wanted to write and create, and bring up other people. We got lucky. Obviously, there's talent, but we got seen by the right people at the right time. There's always gatekeepers at the top of the industry. So, if you get to that level, and you're able to help somebody up from the same community, or from a different community, and tell their sotry, that's something I really want to be able to do. Replace the sixty-five-year-old white dude. Now I'm the gatekeeper, and I say, "This is a dope story, and I want it to be heard."
D: Definitely what Mero says. To go from being on one side of the table in those conference rooms, to making decisions. Deciding programming. Deciding budgets for shows. Deciding what gets green-lit. We've been those guys pitching stuff. We pitched our show to several networks who just looked at us, like, What are you even talking about? That's not how TV is made. All those times, we knew what we could bring to the table. We know what it takes to make TV, and we know what people want to see. We know what the next form of TV wants to be. And we know that some of the people who passed on us are still making decisions. It's what Mero says: we want to get into those rooms, and just switch it up. Change the face of television.
Check out the rest of the interview here. It's a pretty nice piece.
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Sources: Instagram|The New Yorker