Uptown Vs. Everybody: Desus & Mero’s Most Memorable Interviews

Photo: Todd Owyoung/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images.
Daniel Baker and Joel Martinez, professionally known as Desus Nice and the Kid Mero, remind me of my own cousins. It was standard routine on Saturday afternoons for all of us Rodriguez kids to congregate in my grandmother’s living room. We would shuttle in from respective barrios between Washington Heights and the South Bronx to spend hours trading witty banter, riffing on the latest family gossip, opining on recent blockbusters, and arguing who the best rapper alive is. To the outside world, we were loud-mouthed, rough-around-edges, less-than-proper and all. To us, we were the only legitimate experts of our experiences and knew that what we had to say — less-than-proper and all — mattered. Desus and Mero are poignant reminders of just that as the pair’s iconic era in comedy and nighttime entertainment comes to an end.  
Last week, Showtime confirmed the beloved twosome are splitting and pursuing new solo endeavors. “Desus Nice and the Kid Mero have made a name for themselves in comedy and in the late-night space as quick-witted cultural commentators,” read the statement. In response, fans took to social media to mourn what they viewed as a loss, not just for New York but the proverbial culture as a whole. 

"Desus and Mero dished pop culture insight and anecdotes from the perspective of people historically disallowed from the mainstream."

Desus and Mero, who both come from immigrant households, spent more than a decade building a brand that represented so many across Black and Brown communities. Showing up as exactly themselves, playing on their cultural tethers and nuances instead of diluting them, rocking Timbs and fitteds, and swaggering in braggadocio, Desus and Mero dished pop culture insight and anecdotes from the perspective of people historically disallowed from the mainstream. They accomplished tremendous things together and were intentional about authenticity and humor even in the most uncertain or messy of times. It’s why they have the hundreds of thousands of followers that they do. 
Who Desus and Mero spoke with and what they spoke about further illuminates their voices and who they represent. Their series of the same name, which won a Writers Guild of America Award and earned Critics’ Choice and Television Critics Association Award nominations, is a stellar composition of interviews with everyone from President Barack Obama and Seth Rogen to Amanda Seales and Charlize Theron. But it was talks with native New Yorkers that remain extra special for me, as the idiosyncrasies that fuel the Bronx duo’s Internet ethos heightened in such a way that the world could feel and celebrate its familiarity. From Rosie Perez to Denzel Washington, here are seven memorable interviews with celebrity New Yorkers and the gems they offered.

Desus & Mero Interview Rosie Perez

This Brooklynite talks about her days choreographing for “In Living Color” and fighting to bring Jennifer Lopez on as a dancer with the Fly Girls. We learn that Public Enemy created the iconic “Fight the Power” song for Spike Lee’s classic “Do the Right Thing” in one night. She goes on to discuss the historical Young Lords, the current political climate in Puerto Rico, Harvey Weinstein, and being a survivor.

Desus & Mero Interview Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Desus, Mero, and AOC make a day of walking around the Bronx and talking with locals. The trio of Bronxites chop it up about bodegas and how they are a hood cornerstone that serves as a grocery store, casino, and therapist in one fell swoop. In the end, the popular Democrat returns to her days of bartending and whips up a few of her famous libations. 

Desus & Mero Interview Denzel Washington

Literal Bronx tales are traded among these Uptown representers. The indomitable Denzel Washington talks about coming up in the Bronx during his time, when “a slice and a coke cost 25 cents.” He talks about being a Boys & Girls club ambassador, and why the program was so essential to his youth and upbringing. “You’ll never see a U-haul behind a hearse,” he offers up in life wisdom.

Desus & Mero Interview Fat Joe

This was the episode where many learned that Joey Crack was also Fat Joe’s graffiti tag in his youth. He dismissed the rumors that said he had some searing beef with Jay Z and chalked it up to widespread misunderstanding. And “for the birds” took on a whole new meaning when Fat Joe and his family built their dream home in Miami and were living in a wildly different environment for the first time.

Desus & Mero Interview Spike Lee

Spike Lee talks about creating “She's Gotta Have It” for Netflix, and discloses that it was his wife’s idea to translate his classic film into a television series. The guys also dig into the intersection of art and justice as well as the evolution of the portrayals of Black people in media and art. 

Desus & Mero Interview Method Man

The Wu-Tang veteran and hip-hop luminary talks “cult classics” and gripes about them not meriting at the box office. Case in point? His stoner comedy film alongside Redman, “How High.” He tells Desus and Mero that “You’re All I Need” featuring Mary J. Blige, which is considered one of the greatest love songs in hip-hop history, is an open letter to his longtime partner.

Desus & Mero Interview A$AP Rocky

Desus and Mero catch up with A$AP Rocky after the rapper was forced to serve jail time in Stockholm. The gang dives into the injustices of the legal system, the horrid conditions of U.S. prisons, and everything from marijuana legalization to the iconicity of New York summers to Rihanna

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