What's Going on With Desus and Mero?
The brand is in peril
There are certain duos so intertwined that their names seem like a single unit: Tom and Jerry, Rick and Morty, Bill and Hillary, Macron and Teacher, etc. This also applies to the comedy pair Desus and Mero, two funny guys from the Bronx who are also best friends. The two got their start with a podcast, Desus vs. Mero, which debuted in 2013; they went on to host a Viceland show, Desus & Mero, which ran from 2016 to 2018, and a subsequent showtime show by the same name, which hit airwaves in 2019. Suffice it to say, there is not much Desus without Mero, and vice versa.
But it seems something is up, in a Call Her Daddy sort of way. Bodega Boys Daily, a Twitter fan account that posts constant updates on the pair, posted a series of screenshots last night that seemed to confirm the best friends and comedy partners were… no longer best friends and possibly not comedy partners anymore.
First, there was a tweet from Mero — aka The Kid Mero, aka a lot of nicknames he coined on the show, but born Joel Martinez — from a month ago. It read:
NAH ITS A WRAP BRODY, SOMEBODY MENTIONED DUDE TWEETING THAT FROM SOME COUNTRY AT LIKE 3AM…I TOURED W DUDE FOR YEARS HE WAS FUBAR AND IN HIS BAG. PODCAST DONE ENJOY THE BACK CATALOG MY PALS.
Then there was a response from Desus — aka Desus Nice, aka a lot of nicknames he also coined on the show, but born Daniel Baker — around the same time. That one read: “bodegahive you think I abandoned y’all but the art is coming back. Plz believe me, I love y’all.”
Desus followed up with two tweets last week, first to say: “I tried ya’ll.” And then added on July 15: “The hive deserved better than this ending. Reddit can slander my name but when the truth comes out……actually just wait.” Now that the news is out, it also appears that somehow Anna Kendrick is getting Yoko Ono’d. What’s all this?
WHAT DO THE TWEETS MEAN?
- “Fubar” is military jargon for “fucked up beyond all repair.”
- “Bodegahive” are fans of their podcast, Bodega Boys.
- “The Art” is what the two hosts call that podcast.
- “Where’s the art?” is what fans say if the podcast is ever late. It comes out on Mondays.
WHAT’S THE BACKSTORY?
Desus and Mero were both early Twitter guys who got a following in nascent Black Twitter and elsewhere for tweeting about culture and politics. In 2012, Mero was reviewing music in all caps for Noisey at Vice. Here’s his first post about Crystal Castles, which he gave “4 PILES OF DUTCH GUTS OUT OF 5.” By that time, Desus’s Twitter had gotten popular enough that he’d appear in random roundups.
In 2013, they started collaborating on a podcast for Complex called, as we already discussed, Desus vs. Mero. This was also very popular. At the time, Desus appeared on it anonymously because he had a day job at a site called Black Enterprise writing blogs about small businesses under the name C. Daniel Baker (example post: “FOR HEROES ENTREPRENEURSHIP COURSE FOCUSES ON VETERAN WOMEN & SPOUSES.”) For a very brief moment, Mero started a rumor he was white. In April of 2014, though, the podcast pivoted to video and Desus revealed his real identity.
The video podcast ended in 2014, and the guys went on to appear on some MTV shows, including Guy Code, Joking Off, Uncommon Sense, and Wild ‘N Out. In 2015, they started a new podcast called Bodega Boys, which gained a cult following and developed extensive internal jargon (Vulture had a good breakdown of it a few years ago). Despite their success on TV, the podcast has continued to air, with intermittent consistency. There have been a lot of breaks, which is why nothing seemed too unusual last November, when the boys stopped putting out episodes. After a few months, however, fans started to agitate over the lack of new content; the subreddit went nuts and questions spilled over into Apple Podcast reviews.
WHAT’S GOING ON?
The consensus on Reddit and Twitter seems to be that there was some disagreement about money, but it’s unclear what, exactly, went down. There’s been some talk about how Mero, who has four kids, has more financial responsibilities than Desus, who is childless and has spent a lot of time traveling lately. Some Redditors have suggested that their deal with Showtime forced them to tame down some of their jokes.There’s also the question of their acting — both appeared in Ezra Koenig’s Netflix show, Neo Yokio, and have each landed some other parts elsewhere — and whether they’re taking a break to dabble in the theater.
Their Showtime series was renewed for a fourth season last August. At one point, Desus made a joke about the show going on hiatus, which pissed off fans. But the season went as scheduled, airing from March to June. Showtime did not get back to us about whether the show has been renewed for a fifth season.
What we do know is that in January, Mero tweeted that he “literally [had] no idea” when the podcast was coming back. In April, the subreddit started to wonder whether there was some undisclosed beef between the two. The same month, Mero followed up with a long monologue about wanting to keep the podcast going as a solo thing. When questions about the podcast’s return come up on social media, Desus tends to respond with “No <3;” Mero has doubled down elsewhere on going solo. In May, Desus went on Watch What Happens Live and seemed to suggest the show would make a return after they “retool[ed]” the format, as they weren’t “getting $60 million like some podcasts.”
That month, it seemed the two were at least interacting outside the show. Showtime revamped their series digital shorts, “Happy Hour,” in which the boys drink with celebrity guests. Between May and July of this year, Showtime put out three episodes. Also in May, they did an interview with IndieWire that suggested some future plans:
The pair have bigger ideas they would like to try once the world opens up more. “We definitely want to do a big travel interview. We want to go to England or go somewhere, and interview someone who you necessarily wouldn’t see here in the United States. So it’s like a big, big gotcha interview,” said Desus…“We’re gonna be the first show to interview Rihanna’s baby, so make sure you write that.” Mero gleefully cut in to say, “In utero!”
WHAT DOES ANNA KENDRICK HAVE TO DO WITH THIS?
Great question. Kendrick went on the Showtime show back in 2019. She and Desus have been seen hanging out since then, like in this picture in Reykjavik from the spring. There were some unsubstantiated rumors that they were dating, which resurfaced recently; interestingly, Kendrick and Bill Hader allegedly broke up last month. It didn’t help that, three days ago, Showtime posted this clip on their YouTube channel.
This seems like it would be a nice outcome.