Desus and Mero are two fast-talking, goofy, bodega boys from the Bronx who have turned a YouTube series into a successful two nights weekly late-night talk show for Showtime. Two relatively unknowns, the duo first gained popularity with a weekly podcast and web series in 2013. Then the pair was cast onto MTV’s Guy Code (2011-2015), Joking Off (2015), and Wild N’ Out (2005). In 2016, they made the jump from YouTube to premium with moving their talk show Desus & Mero to Viceland and have recently moved to Showtime in 2019 and has been renewed so far for the second season.
Desus Nice and the Kid Mero portray themselves as the guys from the neighborhood, even calling themselves the Bodega Boys. Their image is set in this familiarity and unpretentious quality that unlike other talk shows, they’re real and raw with their conversational and informal interview style. Even their guest list reflects their political and social ideals with their first guest on their first season – second guest on the second season – of their Showtime series being representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also promotes a similar image. Though being on Showtime – and previously Viceland – creates a bit of a contradiction since the channel is an extra $10.99 a month. The accessibility of their show is a concern. But similar to what other premium talk shows such as Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act (2018) or John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight (2014), Desus & Mero post clips from their show onto YouTube. Though most of the clips are just snippets of the show this does garner access to those who might not be able to afford the premium channels but still creates exclusivity that is the opposite image of these supposed bodega boys. They’ve moved on from the bodega yet still try to create the image of accessibility and the everyman. This calls into question whether Desus and Mero are embodying their persona or selling it for a younger generation seeking diversity and relate-ability compared to the white cable channel late-night shows currently broadcasting. But unlike the cable channels, you have to pay an extra $10.99 to your bill to get it.