I have a love-hate relationship with nearly everything I love — likely born from my love-hate relationship with playing devil’s advocate. I rarely find myself appreciating things without trying to find problems with them. I play both sides of everything in my mind before I commit to appreciating anything.
My favorite singer is Erykah Badu, but I’ve forced myself to acknowledge that her vocal range is not the greatest, and can be sometimes be found annoying (by those with questionable taste). My favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, but I’m often bothered by the fact that a Black person wasn’t the one addressing those racial issues in 1960. My favorite song is “Ignition (Remix),” but R. Kelly has a reputation for not being a very good person, and I know I should stop listening to it. My favorite podcast is “Bodega Boys,” but … I’ve never had a single problem with liking it — and I’m beginning to doubt I ever will.
The podcast’s hosts, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, are a Black, Afro-Dominican comedic duo on the rise in the entertainment industry. They’ve managed to expand from appearances on MTV’s popular show “Guy Code” to a video and podcast show entitled “Desus vs. Mero” to their current podcast, “Bodega Boys,” which is released every Friday. They even signed to a TV show on Viceland, “Desus & Mero” in 2016, which runs Monday through Thursday, where they discuss the same recent occurrences as they do on their podcast, plus an interview each episode and a few more restrictions.
Each podcast begins with Mero doing an “impression of the week,” and a performance of a plethora of aliases. They then address recent political and racial issues and happenings of the week in Black culture, typically things widely discussed on Twitter — all in the least problematic way possible.
The majority of my appreciation for Desus and Mero lies in the fact that their personalities are based entirely on their dedication to authenticity. They’d never let anyone forget that they’re from the Bronx — mentioning their own life experiences (both in and out of the Bronx) anywhere they possibly can, and unapologetically repping the New York Knicks and New York Yankees through their wins and losses.
They haven’t compromised a single aspect of themselves in order to be funny or to please any employer. They give endless shoutouts and shoot off maxims like “Life comes at you fast,” “Gotta hear both sides,” and “Black lives matter. Facts don’t.” This last one is my favorite, reiterating that everything they say is opinion-based. They are unapologetically silly, unapologetically free and most importantly, unapologetically Black.
Since my older brother introduced me to their podcast in 2015, their comedy has served as a source of meditation for me — I can never commit myself to sitting still and clearing my thoughts normally. My best bet is to color and listen to podcasts to relax.
Their commentary is engaging, covers everything I care about, and is likely the best thing to ever happen to my mental health. They offer the best kind of stress relief — laughter. It is nothing short of uplifting to hear the joy of other Black people. Their speech exudes warmth and gratefulness that they can do what they love in everything they produce. It provides a sharp contrast to other portrayals of Black people in mainstream media. NFL protests of police brutality show pent up anger and frustration, and our current president’s decision to call the people choosing to protest “sons of bitches” weighed heavily on me — until Desus and Mero made light of it. They are positivity. As the news makes it increasingly difficult for me to feel like I have all the rights I deserve as a Black woman, they make it a little easier to exist.
The best thing I’ve gotten from them has been a break from my own pessimism about most aspects of life. They defy one of the most natural parts of my disposition: my inclination to never find anything is ever perfect. I think they are perfect. I’m ashamed it took me this long to find them — before I did, I was missing out on so much good in the world. The more I try to find something negative about them, the more it seems that they just enhance my life and mind, and be a support system on a strict time schedule.