The Kid Mero spoke with Okayplayer about sports fandom, what’s next in his career post-Desus & Mero, and more.
Just one month after calling it quits as one-half of Desus & Mero, The Kid Mero is moving on. He’s returning to the audio circuit on the live radio app Amp with Fast & Loose, a live simulcast show with sports reporter Michelle Beadle that won’t be in the traditional Bodega Boys podcast format.
“She’s in her sportscaster bag giving updates here and there. Of course, I’m doing my thing on that tip as well, like, ‘Yo listen – yellow flag, you know what that means,’” Mero said. “We hit it off immediately because she wasn’t uptight. I can’t really rock with people who are uptight. Like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna leave you hanging on that joke because you took it too far’ or whatever. [Michelle] doesn’t get down like that at all.”
In 2012, Mero started off solo as a writer for VICE music website Noisey, one year before becoming a comedy duo with Desus Nice. With a decade into their run before parting ways during the fourth season of Desus & Mero in June, Mero explained on podcast Basic! that the split was decided upon “over a year prior to the show coming to an end.” While some Desus & Mero fans are still accepting that the hit Showtime late-night comedy series has ended, Mero assures fans that Beadle is his perfect match for the Formula 1-focused show, ad-free for Wondery+ subscribers.
“It gives me that old school radio vibe where you can take a caller during the action or if there’s a lull,” he said. “[At] one of the recent races, there was a 50-minute delay and I’m just like, ‘Damn.’ If you’re watching the regular broadcast, it might be a bit dry. No shots at the other broadcasters, but it might be a little dry. I’m gonna fill those 50 minutes, Michelle’s gonna fill those 50 minutes up with interesting tidbits so it appeals to the casual fan and the hardcore fan that wants to hear something a little different.”
The Kid Mero spoke with Okayplayer about sports fandom, becoming a storyteller through social media and what’s next in his career post-Desus & Mero.
What led into you joining the Fast & Loose Sidecast on Amp?
The Kid Mero: It felt like such a dope opportunity because I’m kind of like a newish F1 fan. It seemed like the perfect place to connect with fans that are on my level. Guys that are not necessarily super-duper nuts and bolts about the sport, but are interested in the drama.
Ten teams, 20 drivers, you know what I mean? It’s kind of like Love & Hip-Hop with fast cars. There’s always gonna be drama, there’s always gonna be drivers beefing. Like, just now, Daniel Ricciardo announced mid-season that he’s not coming back to [British motor racing team] McLaren. Mid-season! Usually, you wait until the end of the season to make that type of announcement. But in F1 it’s like, “Fuck it! I’m quitting the team, y’all!” Things like that kind of drew me in and immediately I was like, “Oh, this is different.”
I’m from the Bronx, I feel like motorsports to me – in America – was just NASCAR. No shots at NASCAR but I would catch it after a basketball game or randomly on a weekend on Channel 4, and I would be like, “Yo, what is this? They’re just going in a circle? What is exciting about this?” For the longest time I thought F1 was the same thing. I also feel like a lot of people got put on by Drive to Survive on Netflix, because that kind of dramatizes everything. I’m just hyped to be a part of it because I’m a new fan and it gives me the ability to connect with fans that are on my level.
How did you get accustomed to teaming up with Michelle Beadle?
She was mad cool, we hit it off right away. It was funny because I’m used to seeing her on TV talking about basketball. So that was another thing – we’re kind of on the same level as far as fandom in F1. We’re semi-new, not novice.
We started talking about the same things, immediately clicked, and it was a wrap. We did a couple of races internally just to see what it would be like, and from the jump we hit it off. The reason I was talking about that 50-minute delay, we filled that 50 minutes and it felt like it went by in 10. We were going back and forth, had a good rapport, and it’s just mad fun. Also, I respect her work as a sports journalist.
When you think of a typical sportscaster, they’re kind of real buttoned-up, especially in the F1 world, which is kind of highbrow and like, “Oh, that’s not acceptable for us to say.” Then you go to Miami and you got Megan Thee Stallion walking on the paddock. So it’s like, “Is it ‘Oochie Wally’ or is it ‘One Mic?'” With Michelle I feel like it’s very much “Oochie Wally” with a little bit of “One Mic” sprinkled in, because we’re having fun. The whole time we’re just chopping it up, talking shit, having fun.
Can you share how sports was impactful for you while growing up in the Bronx?
Sports was everything growing up in the Bronx because I didn’t have cable. I watched a lot of sports because sports were on over-the-air TV, so a lot of Knicks games, a lot of Yankees games — I played basketball and baseball as a kid. I’ve always been into the “Big Three” in America – baseball, basketball and football – but I gotta shoutout my guy Victor Lopez who I’ve been working with since forever. [He’s] the Maverick [Carter] to my LeBron [James]. He put me on to a lot of this international stuff that I probably would not have checked for just being an American media consumer. So, F1 being mad popular globally, [Victor] put me on to the Euro League Cup.
There’s a certain kind of space that you fall into as an American sports fan where you kind of ignore other sports like, “Ah, that shit ain’t poppin,” but it actually is poppin’ everywhere else in the world. F1 is another one of those things where I’m like, “Now I understand why this is poppin’ globally.” It’s wild fun, wild dramatic, and it’s like a tiramisu with the layers.
How do you feel about social media essentially being the launchpad for where your career is now?
It was really helpful in getting out a lot of the writing I was doing at the time. I was less on there like, “Yo, I’m about to give you a bunch of jokes on Twitter for free,” because you’re hustling backwards. To me, Twitter was a great place to kind of workshop stuff and see what works, what doesn’t, and also promote stuff that I was already writing.
When I was doing music reviews and blogging I used [Twitter] a lot to point there. Then I realized if you’re also funny on Twitter and then you point to other stuff that you’ve written, you get higher engagement. That’s what really kind of made me be like, “You know what? Instead of sitting around playing Candy Crush at midnight, why don’t you just get some of these tweets off? Why don’t you live tweet the Oscars, dawg? John Travolta got new hair, let’s talk about that.” It kind of gave me the ability to get a joke off very succinctly, because [the character limit] used to be 140, now it’s 280. I started [using] the letter “U” a lot just to get the whole joke in there in one tweet. Once you start making a thread joke tweet it don’t hit the same.
You [had] to be like, “How can I say this but really tighten it up?” Which is wild because when you get into comedy and writing, you create ideas, worlds, characters, and write them out. It helps you in that process because it helps you be concise with your ideas. Something that can be four pages of dialog you can turn into two, and achieve the same feeling you want to achieve because Twitter taught me how to make that joke faster and less verbose.
Shoutout to Victor for encouraging that because he’s like, “Listen, the most important thing is your voice. Maintain your voice, be you, because people are coming here for the way you express things and the lens that you view shit through. Keep that, put that on paper, and the rest you’ll sort out after the fact.” It’s like what they say on TV, “Fix it in post.” Every time I write something, I want you to read it and hear my voice in your head. If you stick to that, you’re good – unless you’re mid. Not every scratch off is a jackpot. You might get a dollar back, you might get $500 — not every one is gonna be a win for life.
What do you seek in this new phase of your career, especially after becoming solo since the end of Desus & Mero?
Definitely diving into the creation aspect of how I got in the game. I got in [through] writing — it’s something I’ve always been passionate about and getting to really spread out and do that on my own terms. It’s not a bad thing to be part of a duo but when you are part of a duo, you have to be cognizant of the other person. Being free from that, it’s like being single versus being married. If my wife comes in right now and she’s like, “Yo, I just fell down the stairs,” I’m gonna put this headset down and see what happened. I’m here by myself right now, she’s in Chicago with the kids. So, if I hear somebody fell down, it’s probably just the dog and she’ll be alright because she’s very hearty. Shih Tzus got short legs, they can tumble a little bit and be OK.
In what ways do you think Desus & Mero shifted the culture of late-night talk shows?
Just by being us, two dudes from the Bronx. Two dudes who are not white, from the Bronx, doing a format that was typically reserved for a 5’9 white dude in a suit. Just that simple fact made it revolutionary. To double down on that, having guests that we had over the course of the entire run, and [we tackled] social issues in a way that didn’t feel preachy. Then getting Yo-Yo Ma to do DMX acapella — like, where else are you gonna get that?
What do you think it would take to potentially see a reunion in the future?
Oh man, that’s a good question. Shit, I don’t know, a lot of money? [laughs] Back that Brinks truck up! Pay the man! I have four kids and they like to play sports. That shit is expensive. I just paid for pads and helmets, like damn. I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and spent $500. So yeah, we need big bags over here.