Desus and Mero cohosts Daniel Baker (Desus Nice) and Joel Martinez (The Kid Mero) don’t conduct celebrity interviews like other late-night hosts, honing their different style on their old Viceland show, which routinely made news for their guests being so relaxed that they said something that got them in trouble. Even on this bigger stage, the duo brings that same spirit, especially among their friends who have also gone on to wider fame. Here, they riff on four of them:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Representative, New York’s 14th Congressional District
“It’s funny watching people [claim], ‘You’re not really from the Bronx,’ ” Baker says of their first guest on Showtime. “When we’re talking to her, she’s making references you cannot Google, that unless you lived in the Bronx, you don’t know.”
Chris Hayes, host, All In With Chris Hayes, on MSNBC
“He was the coolest person in middle school, which makes absolutely no sense,” says Baker. The two were classmates at Pablo Casals Middle School in the Bronx. “Girls would be like, ‘Oh my God, Chris.’ He would always get picked as the quarterback. I make this joke: I didn’t know Chris Hayes was white until seventh grade. I thought he was just light-skinned. When I had a crappy job a couple of years ago and saw him on MSNBC, I was like, ‘One of us made it.’ ”
Cardi B, rapper and television host
“Watching her is like watching your sister,” says Martinez. Baker explains, “We knew her from Bronx strip clubs. Our glow-up was at the same time. You feel bad for her, seeing how she reacts on Twitter and Instagram [when] people she doesn’t know get under her skin and she curses them out. I know what it’s like. It’s a cautionary tale.”
Ezra Koenig, singer-songwriter, Vampire Weekend, and creator, Neo Yokio
“He hit me up on Twitter,” Martinez says. “I was working at a school and he had been a teacher in Bed-Stuy. We [talked] about working in a public school in the hood, the parallels between a white Columbia grad and me, who barely finished school. We’re writing a show about it.” “He’s incredible at Sega Genesis games. I was like, ‘You are a god,’ ” says Baker.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.