Desus & Mero on Why Their Showtime Show Is an Essential Stop for Every Presidential Candidate

And why their program is a 'palate cleanser' from Trump

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker appeared on the show in April. Jojo Whilden/SHOWTIME

There’s a new late-night talk show that will be an important part of the media tour for 2020 presidential election candidates. And if you’ve ever watched Desus & Mero, you know that it’s a show unlike any other that politicians have stopped by before.

The two hosts of the Showtime program—Desus (Daniel Baker) and The Kid Mero (Joel Martinez), who cover Adweek’s Creative 100 issue this week—are bombastic, funny and crass. They told Adweek they are making it their mission to have every presidential candidate, including Donald Trump— or at least a good number of them—stop by to chat.

So far, their guest list since Desus & Mero debuted on Showtime in February has already included Pete Buttigieg (they smoked hookah) and Cory Booker (they played basketball). “It depends how bad you want it. Can you hang with two fast-speaking guys from the Bronx? If you’re able to do that, you deserve to be president,” Desus said.

With these conversations, Desus and Mero say they want to show the “human side” of each of the politicians, not just focus on policy. They pointed to an interview they did with Stacey Abrams in which they talked about policy for a few minutes, before the conversation veered into how to make the best grits. That’s the kind of conversation they hope to have on their turf.

“We’ve heard your policy, you’ve been on every single other show and talking about your policies. Who are you? Who are you as a person? Like, what do you do? Drop all the extra shit,” Mero said.

Desus and Mero have hosted political guests before, kicking off their Showtime program with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. However, the two don’t often address the news coming out of President Trump’s administration. Part of the reasoning behind that strategy, they told Adweek, was because the bar of unusual ongoings at Trump’s White House is so high.

“What are we going to be like? ‘Yo, yo, Trump hangs with people who are corrupt.’ We’re like, yeah, we know. Yeah,” Desus said.

“Yeah. OK, cool,” Mero continued, “So did Tony Soprano. This is old news.”

At some point, they said, there’s too much content already out there about Trump. They view their minutes on Showtime as a way to avoid it. Plus, the Trump stuff is “boring,” Desus said.

“I think some of that Trump fatigue leads to the popularity of our show because people are just like, ‘Yo, we just watched this Trump shit all day on MSNBC, show us anything else,’” Desus said. “It’s kind of like the ginger when you eat sushi: it’s a palate cleanser.”

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.