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Desus Nice and The Kid Mero brought a welcome shot in the arm to the often staid room of TV reporters during their Thursday morning session at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, plugging their upcoming eponymous Showtime talk show with infectious energy — and a rare promise to bring something new to late-night that didn’t ring false.
“We have nothing against late-night shows,” said Mero. “We just want to bring something different.”
Paramount to that difference will be their interview style, one that anyone familiar with their brief Viceland series or their past podcast work would agree does not fit into the traditional late-night model.
“It’s experimental,” added Mero, saying that they will skirt the traditional project promotion — especially since the show will only air weekly. “That’s the fun of it. We bring the guest to watch the first act, so they don’t get scared. We’re affable dudes, we’re not here to throw you under the bus. It’s not softballs, but we’re real dudes who just got a show on Showtime.”
“You can come on the show to promote something, but you can’t come onto the show to only promote something,” said Desus. “Talk about the project, but talk about your life around the project.”
The pair also seemed confident that the new weekly format would give them more polish than what they produced during their tenure working for Vice. “Daily was boom, boom, boom,” said Desus. “We didn’t really have time to prepare. Having full staff a week to prepare, the quality you’re able to produce is incredible.”
With the Feb. 21 premiere of Desus & Mero coinciding with the start of what will likely be an endless 2020 election conversation, the duo also discussed how they plan to address politics.
“Most people who are running for president, we would want to interview,” said Desus. “Our audience needs to be informed. We have a platform, and we’ve got to use it.”
And while they won’t be entertaining the far right — “You won’t be seeing some MAGA hats” — they seemed open to the prospect of interviewing President Donald Trump and explained that his supporters might have more in common with the pair than they’d think.
“Someone told us once that we were too New York to appeal to the Midwest,” scoffed Desus, keeping the traditionally cool TCA crowd in a jovial mood throughout their half-hour onstage. “It’s like how Trump voters had economic anxiety. We invited economic anxiety.”
As for anxiety about their new vehicle, the duo wouldn’t admit to having any at all. “We’re playing with house money,” cracked Mero. “I think a couple years ago, [Desus] was working at a magazine and I was teaching at a school. Eleven-year-old children were telling me to fellate them.”
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