"I've often been asked, 'Why doesn't Showtime have a late night talk show?'" said the network's co-president of entertainment, Gary Levine, at the 2019 winter TCA gathering of television critics. " And the answer has always been that, "We never want to mimic shows that are on other networks."
Now, Showtime has a late night talk show. Enter Desus and Mero, the Bronx-born comedians and best friends who bring their late night talk show to Showtime from Viceland on Thursdays, starting February 21. With their hip-hop flavored mix of stream-of-consciousness musings and wisecracks about politics, sports, gaming, bodega junk food, and just about everything else, you see why Levine reacted the way he did upon discovering them.
"Suddenly we knew exactly what a Showtime late night talk show could be," he said. "These guys are authentic, surprising, funny, hip, and perceptive. They can talk politics with politicians, they can talk ball with ballers, they can swap stories with the stars, but they are always singular, always real, and always funny."
We sat with the guys and asked them for a brief introduction.
How do you describe your show?
Desus: If you had two best friends from the Bronx and they were just telling you about the news and everything they saw on social media. It's literally that. It's not supposed to feel like a show. It's supposed to feel like you're hanging out with us.
Desus: Imagine the world is a Twitter feed, and we’re just scrolling through the Twitter feed and discussing what we see.
Mero: If you live in Idaho, Iowa, or wherever, imagine that we move in across the hall from you and you came to hang out with us and watch TV every night and be like, "Yo, this is cray! Did you see that?"
Desus: Think about your local news with a Bronx accent.
What are your favorite topics to talk about?
Desus: The Yankees.
Mero: The Knicks.
What’s your favorite thing about the Bronx?
Desus: It's still real New York. We grew up there, so it's like Mayberry for us. It's a friendly place. But then there's that hidden undercurrent of violence, which keeps you on your toes. But it's the old, gritty New York that people used to love.
Mero: Yeah, it’s early episodes of Law & Order.
Who’s your most surprising famous fan?
Desus: Maybe Obama! Apparently when he was in The White House, we had some fans that worked on his staff and they'd play it out loud and he'd hear it and laugh. So Obama, hey! Come on the show Obama! And there's a rumor that Tom Brady listening to us, which is wild.
What TV shows have you been watching?
Desus: I just watched the Fyre Festival thing. I watched Birdbox. What else did we watch? Game of Thrones.
Mero: That first episode of Black Money was ba-nan-as! You know what I’m saying?
Who was your first TV crush?
Desus: My first TV crush? Um, damn! Oh Lisa off Saved By The Bell, Lark Voorhies.
Mero: Yeah! Yeah. To me it was, man I can’t remember her name, but she co hosted Sabado Gigante! Which was a tradition in my household that shit was on! On Saturday my mom was like, “Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco!” You know what I’m saying? And they always had the promotional models with the Cap’n Crunch like, “Cap’n Crunch, el cereal muy delicioso!” And I’d be like, “wow they’re so pretty!”
What’s the first movie you saw that changed your life?
Mero: Kids. Yeah I watched Kids and I was like, “Oh. Wow! They’re doing the same shit I’m doing! What! This is in a theater?” I was looking around like is this a joke? Like what? Like and you just followed me and my friends around, it was wild.
Desus: Probably Iron Giant. Remember that, the cartoon?
What’s the best movie you’ve ever seen?
Desus: Children of Men or City God.
Mero: This is a little off the beaten path, but every time I will watch this movie in full no matter what’s time it’s on, and that’s Paid in Full. With Mekhi Phifer and Cam’ron.
What’s the best video game you’ve ever played?
Both: Best video game I’ve ever played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2!
What do people from the Bronx know that others don’t?
Mero: That J Lo doesn’t really drive a Fiat. She doesn’t drive it through the Bronx!
What do white people not understand?
Desus: Yeah we had this discussion.
Mero: It’s like, we have to get out of the shower and put our lotion on, especially in the winter months.
Mero: Jennifer Aniston is the spokesperson for Aveeno lotion, and I'm like, "How much lotion is she using? How dry is Jennifer Aniston?" You know what I mean?
Desus: She's also doing Smart Water so she's clearly hydrated. So, yo, Jenn, I have questions!
What do black people not understand?
Mero: Square dancing. It looks like a lot of work for not a lot of pay.
Desus: For people who don’t have rhythm, it’s a lot of steps.
Where’d your names come from?
Desus: Mine is a nickname from my neighborhood cause my real name is Daniel and I’m really good at computers so people would bring me computers to fix and they’re like, “Yo, he’s like Jesus!? And that became Desus.”
Mero: And mine was just a graffiti name. I've been writing since '96, '97. And now we're out here.