Ever since Showtime announced in July that not only had Desus & Mero come to an end but that Desus Nice and The Kid Mero were going their separate ways altogether, fans haven’t stopped speculating about what caused the Bodega Boys’ split. The Bronx-born duo’s rise from Twitter popularity to podcasting to hosting shows on Viceland and Showtime marked a new path to success made possible by the internet, and the breakup came as a significant blow to longtime followers.
In an interview with Blackbird Spyplane, Mero (aka Joel Martinez) offers up more details about what went down but also hints at deeper problems that have yet to be revealed. Some of the conversation is off the record, thanks to “Media-Training Mero,” and is recapped as “several minutes of candid talk about frustrations with Showtime executives and about fissures in his relationship with Desus going back to 2017" by the fashion newsletter. However, the comedian does clarify the duo’s terms with the network.
“When we signed to Showtime, we signed individual deals,” he says. “It was always, We’re gonna do our own things at some point. The way it ended seemed mad abrupt and weird, but that’s the way T.V. is. People pull the plug on T.V. s**t all the time.”
Some viewers speculated that the growing aspirations of “Hollywood Desus,” aka Daniel Baker, clashed with his co-star’s more raw, spontaneous approach. (While Desus recently took a more high-profile gig guest-hosting for Jimmy Kimmel Live, he described himself as “fired from Showtime” during his monologue.) Blackbird Spyplane asked Mero to weigh in on these rumors.
“There were people we thought could have helped us turn the show back to what it was at Vice, where it felt fresh and way more edgy—genuinely different and good,” he says. “And Showtime was not trying to do that. That was the beginning of the end. It was giving me mad anxiety, but I’m a first-generation immigrant kid, like, You never quit your job before you have a new one. But I think Desus was like, ‘F**k it.’ And that was the end of the podcast, too.”
While the interview does not address the previous report that the alleged “asshole behavior” of manager Victor Lopez led to Showtime axing the series, Mero does talk about his own ambitions, including reviving talks on a long-gestating sitcom co-created by Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig; he has previously shown more of an interest in acting, appearing in the Netflix movie Vampires Vs. The Bronx. Of course, he was also asked about the possibility of a reunion with Desus.
“Never say never,” Mero says. “Right now I think we’re on different trajectories as far as what we wanna do.”