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Science & Medicine

Not My Job: We Quiz Desus And Mero On The Game Of Darts

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The following program was taped before an audience of no one.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BILL KURTIS: NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. It's June, and the weather's heating up. Get ready for a hot summer in the Bill-y. I'm Bill Kurtis. And here's a man convincing himself that, technically, a beach body is anybody you bring to the beach, Peter Sagal.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill. The summer of 2020 was cancelled, so everybody is very excited for this summer, except we're rusty. It's been a while since we've had very much - oh, damn it, what is that word again?

KURTIS: Fun. F-U-N. Noun, from the early English word meaning to kick back with some buds and brews, crank the tunes and maybe get out the Slip 'N Slide.

SAGAL: Right, fun. So we thought as a tutorial, we'd bring you some of the most fun segments we've done in the last few months.

KURTIS: The top of that list was a visit with talk show hosts Desus & Mero. In March, the Bodega Boys had rocketed from podcast hosts to their own premium cable show. And as soon as Peter welcomed them, you could see why. Truly, they are the click and clack of Generation Z.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

SAGAL: Desus and Mero, welcome to...

THE KID MERO: What...

SAGAL: ...WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

DESUS NICE: Thanks for having us.

THE KID MERO: Yo...

DESUS NICE: BX in the building. You ready for some chaos?

SAGAL: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I'm ready for you.

DESUS NICE: Let's go.

SAGAL: You know, one of my first questions was, are you guys like you are on the show in real life? And I think I now know the answer.

THE KID MERO: Yeah.

DESUS NICE: Yeah. A lot of people have this problem because sometimes we'll do, like, a 7 a.m. talk show. We'll do a 8 a.m. talk show. And people are, like, how do you possibly have this amount of energy? And the truth is, it's a lot of cocaine.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Did I get your origin story right? Because, I mean, your rise was extremely rapid, but my understanding is it started on Twitter. You guys had Twitter accounts, and people were, like...

DESUS NICE: Yeah.

SAGAL: These guys are great.

THE KID MERO: It was, like, a reconnection via Twitter. It was...

SAGAL: It was.

THE KID MERO: ...Like the Craigslist ads. Like, I saw you on the train. You were wearing a blue hat. You were listening to French Montana.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

THE KID MERO: Let's connect.

MAZ JOBRANI: It's amazing that two people on Twitter actually got along and created this thing because usually when you find someone that's opinionated, you just start cussing each other out.

DESUS NICE: You know what? We had similar opinions. And also, we both extremely hated our jobs at a time when it was all right for you to tweet verbatim how much you hated your job. So I created whole characters...

KAREN CHEE: (Laughter).

DESUS NICE: ...That I worked with. People were just logging in because it was, like, what's going on with Keisha? Your co-workers - people knew who my co-workers were dating, and Mero was going through the same thing. So we were just back - going back and forth about how we - who hates their job more.

SAGAL: Mero, what were you doing when all this started?

THE KID MERO: I was working at a school, at a junior high school that I attended - shout-out to Junior High School 117, BX stand up. It is what is referred to in the DoE as a high-need school, which means you might get stabbed if you're a member of the faculty. So they - I was the only male paraprofessional in the school, and I was, like, six feet tall, so they put me in the class that was just like, yo, these dudes are about to age out of here, and they're all in gangs. So please just, like, help, like, the teacher not get merked (ph) by them, and we'll be fine.

And I used to take 30-minute bathroom breaks and be, like, oh, I'm going to the bathroom and just sit in there and tweet. And then I got caught by the principal. And I made up this whole elaborate lie about how I was prewriting tweets and sending them to my manager...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

THE KID MERO: ...And having him tweet them out during the day.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

THE KID MERO: And then it all came to an end when it was just - like, I was on the cover of, like, The New York Times, like, arts and culture section or something like that. And the assistant principal walks in - it's this Irish dude, John Skelly. He walks. He's, like - The Kid Mero, huh?

(LAUGHTER)

THE KID MERO: The Kid Mero - well, The Kid Mero is actually Mr. Martinez, and you need to get your ass in the room because it's 8:05.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Woah.

THE KID MERO: And I was, like, OK. I was, like, all right.

SAGAL: So you're tweeting. You're blowing up on Twitter. You're on the cover of, like, New York Times arts section. And his only reaction was, you need to be in the classroom.

THE KID MERO: Yeah. He was, like, I don't give a [expletive] whether you're on The New York Times, son.

(LAUGHTER)

THE KID MERO: You need to get over there because it's the kid throwing a desk.

JOSH GONDELMAN: You need to be the authority figure, Mero, right now, the adult Mero....

THE KID MERO: Right now.

GONDELMAN: ...In the room.

(LAUGHTER)

THE KID MERO: Yeah.

SAGAL: You're not The Kid Mero anymore.

THE KID MERO: No more The Kid Mero. You're the adult Mero.

SAGAL: We're never going to get through your whole career. But you went from the tweeting to the podcast to the show. Now you're on Showtime.

THE KID MERO: Showtime.

SAGAL: I've been watching you guys for a while. You seem to really like each other. Is that real? Or is it, like...

THE KID MERO: (Laughter).

DESUS NICE: It's like - you ever see when they do the boy bands?

SAGAL: Yeah.

DESUS NICE: It's like that. It's, like...

THE KID MERO: Yeah.

DESUS NICE: ...Total...

THE KID MERO: Scooter Braun put us together.

DESUS NICE: I'll go even further. Like, everything about the show is fake. Josh is not funny in real life. Josh is mean.

(LAUGHTER)

DESUS NICE: No. We like each other because - you know what it is? - because we started at the same just - when we first started the podcast, we had to literally share a MetroCard to get home.

(LAUGHTER)

DESUS NICE: So once you have that - and then we - our experiences - we've had experiences that bond you for life. We got banned from the VMAs because I sat on a pregnant Kim Kardashian.

SAGAL: OK. You sat on a pregnant Kim Kardashian at the VMAs.

CHEE: (Laughter).

DESUS NICE: Yes, yes.

THE KID MERO: He did. So...

DESUS NICE: Sorry, Saint.

THE KID MERO: Yeah. So let me tell you this. So we go to the VMAs.

SAGAL: Yeah.

THE KID MERO: This is the first time ever we've ever been to, like, invited to anything like this in life.

DESUS NICE: Stop. Wait a minute - before you start, key - no, we - people don't know this. The VMAs are open bar.

THE KID MERO: Huge mistake.

DESUS NICE: We didn't know this.

SAGAL: That's...

DESUS NICE: So we thought - we had a pre-game. So we had a limo. We took the limo to a convenience store, and we just got...

SAGAL: Yes.

DESUS NICE: ...Like, liquor. So now we're at - we're on - we're at the VMAs. We are sauced up. We're taking pictures with the limo driver...

(LAUGHTER)

THE KID MERO: Yes.

DESUS NICE: ...With camera people. We're so excited to be there. And, like, you know, it hasn't dawned on us we're on TV as well.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

DESUS NICE: So what we're doing is just pointing out people like, yo, Vanessa Hudgens. Yo, oh, wow - that's Beyonce. I mean, oh, that's Rita Ora. All right, whatever.

(LAUGHTER)

DESUS NICE: So we're just wandering around. And we're just bothering everybody. You can see - they're just, like, who are these two - everyone's, like, who are these two people? Why are they talking to everybody? And we're not talking to them, like, hey, do we work on a project together? We're going to - hey, Jada Smith, yurr (ph). And they're, like, you know, we're trying to record. We're trying to record.

And because, you know, we're a little out there, a little drunk, a little smizzy (ph), I see this - got to be, like, seven-feet-four tall Russian guy talking down to my guy Mero. And, you know, every...

THE KID MERO: So...

DESUS NICE: You know, when you're, like, a little intoxicated, everything is, like, hazy, and you don't really hear anything? Well, I'm just, like, oh, you trying to fight my Bronx brother? I'll let Mero take care it from here.

(LAUGHTER)

THE KID MERO: You know, so I see Kanye West. And I'm, like, this is it. This is our opportunity to get a photo with Kanye West. So I'm just, like, hey. I'm, like, yo, Kanye, what up, yo? Yo, big fan - you know what I'm saying? Like, just keep talking, like, hoping, like, he's, like, do I know you? Like, whatever. Then, like Desus said, Zangief from "Street Fighter 2..."

(LAUGHTER)

THE KID MERO: ...Stands in front of me. He's, like, (imitating Russian accent) my friend, you cannot come any closer to Kanye West. You cannot come. But your boy had had, you know, a little - you know, a little Springsteen juice, you know what I'm saying?

(LAUGHTER)

THE KID MERO: You feel me? I was - I got very bold, you know what I'm saying? And I grew to his height magically. And I was, like, nah (ph), if Kanye doesn't want to take a picture with me and my man Desus, I want him to tell me that, not you. And then he's just - and then Kanye's just, like - I don't know if it's, like, out of pity or what. He's just, like, it's all right, man. Come on, man. Come on, man.

DESUS NICE: Yes.

THE KID MERO: So we go there...

DESUS NICE: He makes no effort to get out of his seat, and so we have to crouch down to take the photo.

SAGAL: Right.

DESUS NICE: So as I'm crouching down, like, I back into a pregnant Kim, who's sitting there...

SAGAL: Oh, no.

DESUS NICE: ...Because I did not realize she is tiny in real life.

THE KID MERO: Yes.

DESUS NICE: So then I back into her, and I guess she's, like, Kanye. And Kanye turns to me and says the greatest quote - and I want this on my gravestone when I go home - he goes, watch out for my wife, dog.

(LAUGHTER)

JOBRANI: That's amazing.

SAGAL: Well, Desus and Mero, I have a feeling we really could talk to you all day, but we have, in fact, some business to do. We have asked you here to play a game that we're calling...

KURTIS: Knowledge Darts? Try These Darts.

SAGAL: So you've got a book out called "God-Level Knowledge Darts." We thought we'd ask about real darts - the game, you know, that we play for fun, the Brits play seriously and everybody plays drunk. So you've got to answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly.

DESUS NICE: Yes.

SAGAL: Do that - you win our prize. That's the voice of anyone they might like on our show on their voicemail. So, Bill, who are Desus and Mero playing for?

KURTIS: Sarah Long of New York, N.Y.

SAGAL: There you go. OK.

DESUS NICE: Oh...

SAGAL: Here we go - first question. In the 1920s, a researcher from Johns Hopkins made a revolutionary discovery about the game of darts. What is it? A, an ancient cave painting in France is really a dartboard, making it the world's oldest sport; B, they discovered that men don't actually enjoy darts - they just enjoy explaining the rules of darts to women; or C, the drunker you are, the better you shoot.

DESUS NICE: I want to say, C, but I feel like A is probably correct.

THE KID MERO: Yeah. I mean, in my reality, my real life, it's C.

DESUS NICE: Definitely.

THE KID MERO: But for the purposes of this game, I'm going to go with A.

SAGAL: You're going to put aside your instincts to choose C, and you're going to go for A...

DESUS NICE: Should we go to a breakout room for this? Or should we just, like...

SAGAL: ...Cave painting in France.

(LAUGHTER)

DESUS NICE: Yeah, we're going for A. We're going with A.

SAGAL: You're going to go for A.

DESUS NICE: We're going to go A.

SAGAL: I tried to talk you out of it. It's C. It's the drunker...

DESUS NICE: What?

SAGAL: ...You are, the better you shoot darts. Yeah.

THE KID MERO: That is true because when you get drunk and you do bowling, you get better at bowling. But all my ex-girlfriends disagree, so I mean...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

DESUS NICE: ...Yeah, C. Yeah, C.

SAGAL: All right. You get two more chances. This is not a problem.

DESUS NICE: All right.

SAGAL: This isn't a problem.

DESUS NICE: OK.

SAGAL: As you know, in England, darts...

THE KID MERO: Yes.

SAGAL: ...Hugely competitive sport, very serious - people watch it...

THE KID MERO: Oh, yeah.

SAGAL: ...On TV. And controversy hit the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts in England when both players in the final match accused the other player of doing what? A, farting constantly to ruin the other's game; B, muttering miss, miss, miss, miss under their breath; or C, using tiny motors on their darts to make them fly faster.

DESUS NICE: Let me see - what are you thinking, Mero?

THE KID MERO: I think...

DESUS NICE: We really blew it on the first question. We can't do it...

THE KID MERO: Yeah, I know. And I feel like the more ridiculous the answer is, the more right it is.

DESUS NICE: Yeah.

THE KID MERO: So I'm tempted to go with the farting. I think flatulence is it.

DESUS NICE: We're going farting? We're going with the fart.

THE KID MERO: Yeah.

DESUS NICE: We're going with the farting.

SAGAL: Of course, it was farting.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

THE KID MERO: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: That's what happened. They both said that the other guy farted so much they were distracted. One said...

THE KID MERO: Nice.

SAGAL: ...Of the other, it'll take me two nights to lose this smell from my nose.

THE KID MERO: (Laughter).

DESUS NICE: What - was he farting on purpose, or did he have, like, Chipotle or something before?

SAGAL: Well, the accusation was he was doing that - he was making it very hard to play because I was so distracted by the stink. And then they each denied that.

DESUS NICE: Wow.

SAGAL: One guy said, look. I'll tell you, you know me. These darts - professional darts players look and act exactly as you would expect professional darts players...

THE KID MERO: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah.

THE KID MERO: I have a vision in my head.

GONDELMAN: Every dart tournament ends with, oh, I'm late to pick up my kids.

(LAUGHTER)

DESUS NICE: I've got them this weekend. Oh, my God.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. You've got one more question here. So believe it or not, there is an enthusiastic population of blind darts players, some of whom are pretty good.

THE KID MERO: OK.

DESUS NICE: OK.

SAGAL: Britain, in fact, has a team entirely made up of blind players of darts. What is the team name? A, the Three Mice; B, We Apologize in Advance; or C, the Optimists.

DESUS NICE: Optimists is big, like, "Monty Python" energy. How do you feel, Mero?

THE KID MERO: Yeah, I agree.

SAGAL: You're right.

DESUS NICE: Yeah.

SAGAL: That's the one - the Optimists.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: You just nailed that. Bill, how did Desus and Mero do on our quiz?

KURTIS: They did get 2 out of 3. That means they are winners - champions.

THE KID MERO: Yes.

SAGAL: That's right. Season three of "Desus & Mero" is on Showtime now. Their book is "God-Level Knowledge Darts." Desus and Mero, thank you so much. You guys are awesome.

DESUS NICE: Thanks for having us.

THE KID MERO: Thank you.

SAGAL: ...On WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

THE KID MERO: Thank you, man.

DESUS NICE: Later, y'all.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STRONGER")

KANYE WEST: (Singing) Now, that don't kill me...

SAGAL: When we come back, the king and queen of TikTok, by which we mean two septuagenarian Jews who are only vaguely aware of what TikTok is. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.