a celebration of life

The Brand Is Sad: 7 Standout Desus & Mero Moments

Coulda been Timon and Pumbaa. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The Bodega Boys will now be attending different bodegas. Showtime’s Desus & Mero is officially ending after four seasons as the duo pursue separate creative endeavors — a tragic event for the Bronx, for America, and for the world. In honor of “the No. 1 show on late night” and all their “illustrious guests,” below, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite Desus & Mero moments, celebrating the work of Desus Nice and the Kid Mero a.k.a. Young Chipotle and the Human Durag Flap a.k.a. Jermaine Avocado Toast and Tiger Backwoods a.k.a. the Jouvert Boss and Barlos Santana a.k.a. Dionardo DiTrappio and Benzo the Clown a.k.a. the Original “my plus one got a plus one so don’t make a fuss son” and “Check the guest list again because my name is definitely on it, and no I’m not stepping to the side while you check!”

“Celebrity Booze Taste Test (Extended Version)” (October 2021)

Who’s more qualified than Desus and Mero for guessing brands? The sucio boys blindly taste-test different celebrity alcohol brands to guess who owns the brand. As their cringe for brown liquor turns into laugh the more they drink, the segment give I Love Lucy vibes as it gets better and better the drunker they get. From Desus calling Cameron Diaz a Latin queen to Mero guessing George Clooney’s Casamigos by just the scent, they almost closed out the segment by singing Liza Minnelli’s “New York, New York.” But they are drunk and to producer Julia Young’s dismay, cannot stop making jokes. As they pretend they’re drunk patrons at a bar while also discouraging people from visiting Sandals resort, Desus and Mero leave the stage, laughing together as friends do at the end of a good night. —Alejandra Gularte

“Completing an Escape Room w/ Sen. Elizabeth Warren” (November 2019)

One of the best things about Desus and Mero’s celebrity interaction style was how little it was tailored to any one person. Anna Kendrick, Michelle Yeoh, and Denzel Washington all got the same rowdy yet amiable energy. The people who thrived were the ones who could hang. Elizabeth Warren, apparently, can hang. Some genius producer stuck the Bodega Boys and the Candidate With a Plan in an escape room and made them suss their way out of it. The joy is seeing Elizabeth Warren complete the assignment almost singlehanded, as one assumes she did on every group project in K-12. And D&M relying on riffing over any problem-solving skills, again much as they must have for all of their school days. We never escape high school, do we? —Bethy Squires 

“Noname Puts Music on Hold to Focus on Social Issues” (July 2020)

We should be so lucky to have an interview with Noname on the history books. Airing July 2020, fresh off of protests in honor of George Floyd, the activist, book-club founder, and rapper discussed what she learned about capitalism, social justice, and police brutality after being dragged on Twitter for a political tweet. A month earlier, the rapper J. Cole tried to project some insecurity in his activism onto her with a diss track. Desus and Mero is the only show on late night that could pull this interview off, with what feels like genuine curiosity through treating their guest like the expert she is instead of giving credence to the gaslighting she received online. (Word to their illustrious team of writers.) Not to mention Noname’s choice of neon sign. What other show on late night would proudly display the words “Fuck capitalism. Free Palestine”? —Zoë Haylock

“Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen Debate on Dominican Republic” (August 2019)

Desus and Mero have big class-clown energy, making interviews with acting greats and politicians feel like a catch-up with long-lost friends. Even while interviewing Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen in 2019, two fixtures of (white) media who seem like the types to let Mero sell them bags of oregano, can’t help but make room for sex jokes about politicians, name-dropping Housewives, drunken anecdotes, and a swig from Mero’s bottle of rum. “Andy told me this is a religious broadcast, that’s why I agreed to come on,” Cooper jokes when things get a little too sucio. “He was like, ‘It’s Jesus and Hero’ and I was like ‘Okay.’” In more recent seasons, the show utilizes their capacity for banter with “Happy Hour” segments featuring an array of guests including Sam Jay, Mina Kimes, Taylor Rooks, and beloved producer Julia Young, prioritizing organic interactions over talking points. Even if they aren’t actually best friends forever, personally gonna miss hanging out with MY best friends Desus, Mero, and whoever they’re hanging out with. —ZH

“Quentin Tarantino Almost Took a Bat to David Letterman” (February 2020) 

When Desus and Mero made the switch from Viceland to Showtime, they needed a first guest who signaled the merits of their more prestigious platform and higher-profile status. Who better than the god of late-night television himself, David Letterman? Across his sprawling 33-minute conversation with the duo, Letterman compliments Desus and Mero on their punk-rock sensibilities, needles them to deliver the scoop about what happened over at Viceland, compliments them on their quick wit, gives them a lesson on how to host an interview, learns he’s a fixture on New York City hip-hop radio, and tells an incredible story about an altercation he had with Quentin Tarantino. Every minute of the interaction, from Letterman explaining his first impressions of Desus and Mero (“Years ago, I saw promos for your show at the other place, and I thought, ‘Whoa! This is either going to be something, or it’s going to be nothing!’”) to Desus cracking Letterman up by saying that, together the three of them look like a “diverse sleep-apnea commercial,” is worth savoring. It’s always touching to watch comedians who grew up watching David Letterman receive his stamp of approval. But even accounting for this, this appearance is heartwarming. —Hershal Pandya

“‘Love Is Pain’ Knicks Get #3 Pick in NBA Draft Lottery” (May 2019)

As a Californian (sorry), one of the funniest things about Desus and Mero is their diehard Knicks fandom. Rooting for a historically bad team is inherently funny, but when you add the Bodega Boys’ signature shit-talking to the Sisyphean effort of convincing yourself and others that the Knicks have a shot at relevancy outside of New York, it is a beautiful, sad, and hilarious thing to behold. No moment encapsulates the pain and misery of rooting for the Knicks like their 2019 draft-lottery party, where they invited Fat Joe to watch the lottery play out in real time. (Desus introduces the clip by asking, “Y’all want to see a dead body?”) Watching them hype each other up over getting the number one pick and gushing over Zion Williamson highlights only foreshadows the heartbreak to come when they land the third overall pick and miss out on drafting a future superstar. And despite the massive disappointment and all the losing they know the future holds, our boys manage to laugh it off and hold out hope for another season. —Nic Juarez

“Which Fast Food Restaurant Has the BEST Fish Sandwich?” (April 2022)

In the catalogue of Desus & Mero recurring characters (looking at you, Pio!) nothing has carried more of a storied love-hate relationship with the duo than the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish. On the heels of Pusha T’s extremely hard diss track for Arby’s, the Bodega Boys went where no sane person has gone before: trying five different types of fast-food fish sandwiches to see which one is the best. Similar to other taste tests the duo has done, the formula is simple, with five unlabeled sandwiches — what’s special here, though, is that it offers for beautiful reflection on the power of the Filet-O-Fish. “This is my ex,” Desus proclaims, before intimately sharing a kiss with the sandwich and lovingly listing all the places they’ve spent time together: “Denmark. Amsterdam. London. France. Bruckner Boulevard.” By looking at the familiarity of the Filet through the lens of the brand, you can excavate the beauty of Desus & Mero: a specific knowing authenticity, like you’re riffing about shared experiences alongside some of your closest friends. —Reanna Cruz

“DJ Envy and the Breakfast Club Ambush” (March 2018)

There is no denying that celebrity feuds make the world go round. Who among us hasn’t feasted on the latest celebrity beef? And while there are bigger, juicier headlines, the beef between Desus and Mero and DJ Envy is the stuff of legend. After (very mildly) joking about DJ Envy and his wife discussing his infidelities on television, Desus and Mero join the Breakfast Club to promote their upcoming tour and get ambushed by DJ Envy, who is incensed that they would imply his wife is only with him to collect a check. Phew! We could unpack that all day, but it’s best to focus on Desus and Mero’s handling of the ambush. From the painfully awkward and heated exchange with DJ Envy to the play-by-play breakdown on their Viceland show, Desus and Mero put on a master class in dragging your enemies. They already had a following, but the Breakfast Club brawl brought them to the attention of a whole new audience and put all potential enemies on notice that when called to the mat, the sucio boys are willing to get messy. —NJ

The Brand Is Sad: 7 Standout Moments From Desus & Mero