Daniel Baker, professionally known as Desus Nice, and Joel Martinez, a.k.a. the Kid Mero, announced earlier this week that they decided to go their separate ways after nearly a decade of building a (strong) brand as the funniest twosome in entertainment. After rumors circulated online that they had gone their own ways, fans took to social media to react to what they viewed as a tremendous loss—with some even comparing the split to other tragic and historical NYC events.
The pair knew of each other from high school, but famously connected years later thanks to their shared connection of being Bronx natives with larger-than-life senses of humor and Twitter expertise. They joined forces on the Complex podcast Desus vs. Mero, a weekly show and web series where they shared their musings on the latest in pop culture news from December 2013 to December 2014. Their chemistry was undeniable. They riffed off of one another with ease, in the way that longtime friends and siblings can, and the took off from there.
They joined MTV’s Guy Code cast in Season 5, and their trajectory continued as they launched the Bodega Boys podcast, landed a show on Viceland titled Desus & Mero, then moved to Showtime. The pair accomplished a ton together throughout their business and creative partnership, bringing endless laughter to their devoted followers through their TV work, talk show appearances, writing, social media, celebrity feuds, and more. They authentically represented New York culture, and in their tenure interviewed notable names (some of them multiple times) including President Barack Obama, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Derek Jeter, Denzel Washington, Chadwick Boseman, Seth Rogen, the Wu-Tang Clan, and ASAP Rocky.
This month Showtime took to social media to confirm the worst: Desus and Mero’s run as a duo is over, and they’re pursuing new endeavors on their own. All good things must come to an end, but Desus Nice and the Kid Mero’s journey together, from Twitter to Complex to late night, was one for the history books. As we look back on their contributions to the culture, check out a full timeline of Desus and Mero’s history together below.
The birth of "caucacity"
To be clear, the type of behavior referred to when using the term “caucacity” has existed for a very long time. The word itself, however, is often credited to Mero circa (at least) 2012, with him using it in numerous tweets.
In subsequent years, the term—which perfectly marries the word caucasian with audacity—has become a staple of the larger Desus and Mero brand.
As for an official definition, Mero himself provided exactly that in a tweet from November 2014, followed by several examples of caucacity in action.
“SOMEONE ASKED ME WHAT CAUCACITY MEANT. CAUCACITY IS A SPECIAL LEVEL OF AUDACITY RESERVED FOR ONLY THE MOST YAKUBIAN,” Mero tweeted.
By 2019, the term was still popping up widely, including in the opening lines of a New York Times piece titled “White Filmmakers Addressing (or Avoiding) Whiteness Onscreen.” In the piece, writer Jenna Wortham begins with a mention of the duo’s Bodega Boys podcast before noting “there are levels” to caucacity, and some “all-time high” instances were afoot.
The Complex era
Date: December 2013
Launching in late 2013 and running for nearly 50 episodes, the Desus vs. Mero podcast (and accompanying videos via Complex TV) gave the uniquely hilarious duo a platform that was quickly embraced as a go-to source of weekly commentary that only they could provide.
Bringing them together was Complex’s Donnie Kwak (then deputy editor, now general manager), who later said in a piece for the Ringer that kicking off the project “was as easy as emailing Desus,” whom he initially knew from his posts on Okayplayer message boards.
“Desus and Mero weren’t yet full-fledged friends, but from that very first recording, their chemistry was uncanny,” Donnie said in 2016.
Highlights from this era of the duo’s path to glory are arguably too numerous to name, but the selection of special guests on the show—including Marlon Wayans, Hannibal Buress, and Iman Shumpert—only further strengthened their growing presence in the pop culture lexicon of the time.
“We just go at it—there aren’t even talking points,” Desus told Rolling Stone of the Desus vs. Mero show’s approach in an early 2015 interview. “I think the setup time for the show might be 20 minutes: Wire us up, hit us up with the lint brushes to make sure we’re not covered in cat hair, and sit us on the stage.”
During this time, the two also appeared in a number of non-podcast videos for Complex, including (but not limited to) the Jennifer Lopez-centered clip above.
'Guy Code' and MTV
‘Bodega Boys’ launches
Date: September 2015
The Bodega Boys podcast—or “the art,” as longtime fans call it—began its prolific run in September 2015.
An online community quickly formed around the show, leading to lively subreddits kept active by passionate members of the Bodega Hive (not to mention more recent Reddit activity that ultimately signaled the duo’s split).
While Bodega Boys’ format-averse approach also extended to its decision to typically forego the employment of special guests, the duo made an exception when bringing Jonah Hill on the show for a Milk Studios-housed session, embedded above.
A signature of the podcast was the oft-lengthy introductions and outros, during which the hosts would list off an exhaustive rundown of various nicknames, a live version of which can be seen below.
The last episode of Bodega Boys was Episode 253: “Bathed in Borax,” which arrived in November 2021.
'Desus & Mero' on Viceland
Feud with DJ Akademiks
Date: December 2017
In short, Akademiks made some less-than-kind remarks about Desus and Mero on Twitch amid coverage of Joe Budden’s then-recent departure from Complex’s Everyday Struggle. This resulted in an obliteration-level response from the duo.
As seen in the clip above, Desus said they had “not been firing shots” at Akademiks. “I don’t know, maybe Akademiks feels some kind of way that the actual reason people watch the show left,” he said at the time.
In another clip the same month, Desus & Mero showcased a Twitch clip of Ak getting emotional about the feud, trollishly completing the experience by soundtracking it with some soft piano music.
At one point in the feud, Charlamagne tha God got involved by urging Desus and Mero to pump the brakes.
DJ Envy controversy
Date: March 2018
Undoubtedly among the most memorable entries in the larger Desus & Mero cinematic universe is the footage of DJ Envy demanding an apology from the duo.
During a March 2018 appearance on the Breakfast Club, Envy told the two they owed his wife Gia Casey an apology for, in Envy’s words, having “insinuated that she was only there for the check” on their show. This was in reference to a Desus & Mero remark from Nice, who joked in a February 2018 episode that Gia “knew them DJ Envy checks though” in response to a clip from The Real noting she didn’t know the “DJ Envy” persona of her husband.
While Desus and Mero asserted the remark was very much a joke, Envy wasn’t impressed, resulting in his non-participation in the rest of the interview.
Fittingly, Desus and Mero graciously marked the one-year anniversary of the viral moment by sending Envy a mysterious “peace offering,” as they detailed on an episode of their Showtime series in 2019.
At one point amid the (apparently since-quashed) feud, a staff member of the Viceland version of Desus & Mero joked about having gotten an inconveniently timed DJ Envy tattoo.
When Charlamagne and Angela Yee addressed the Desus/Mero split on the Breakfast Club this week, Envy kept quiet with a nod and a mere, “Well, wish ’em the best.”
'Desus & Mero' on Showtime
Desus and Mero become New York Times bestselling authors
Date: September 2020
Released in hardcover in the fall of 2020, the aptly titled God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons from the Bronx earned Desus Nice and the Kid Mero the distinction of becoming New York Times bestselling authors.
Malcolm Gladwell, a New York Times bestselling author in his own right multiple times over, famously praised the book as being so funny it urged him to simply “give up” any efforts to best it.
“I will never write anything as hilarious as they have. I give up,” Gladwell joked.
Critics by and large agreed with this assessment of the book’s ability to bring hilarity to the written form, which often presents a unique (and in some cases, insurmountable) challenge for many writers.
In Lovia Gyarkye’s Times review of the book, specific praise was given to the “On the Inevitability of Becoming Washed” chapter, particularly its melding of “vulnerability and self-reflection” with the type of humor fans had by then come to expect from these two distinct creative voices.
'Bodega Boys' podcast and Showtime series come to an end
Date: July 2022
There was some speculation that the relationship between them was rocky in July 2022, and that the future of Bodega Boys the talk show was up in the air.
“Bodegahive you think I abandoned y’all but the art is coming back. Plz believe in me, I love y’all,” Desus tweeted in June.
A screenshot of a message Mero reportedly wrote on Reddit surfaced on Twitter, reading (in part), “Podcast done enjoy the back catalog my pals.”
When this was brought to Desus’ attention on Twitter, he responded, “The hive deserved better than this ending. Reddit can slander my name but when the truth comes out…..actually just wait.”
Days later, a representative for Showtime confirmed Desus & Mero had come to an end after nearly 200 episodes and that the two have parted ways creatively.
“Desus Nice and The Kid Mero will be pursuing separate creative endeavors moving forward,” the statement read. “SHOWTIME’s late-night talk show DESUS & MERO will not be returning for a fifth season. Its final episode aired Thursday, June 23.”
“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,” the statement from Showtime continued. “Throughout its run, the series won a WGA Award, received Critics’ Choice and TCA Award nominations and scored interviews with President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden, Derek Jeter, Missy Elliott, Denzel Washington, Charlize Theron, David Letterman, Yo-Yo Ma and many more. They have been brilliant hosts, and we wish them the best, along with the team at JAX Media and the incredible crew.”
Desus took to Twitter to share the news, writing, “Shouts to showtime & shouts to the hive, thanks for being part of the journey. proud of the show my staff made every episode. Big tings soon come….”
Thus far Mero—aside from comments allegedly made by him on Reddit—has only retweeted Showtime’s farewell post.