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Unlikely childhood pals Desus Nice and Chris Hayes talk fighting Tucker Carlson and Kanye 2024

Desus Nice, Chris Hayes, The Kid Mero
Screenshot: Desus & Mero

If you had to look at the current media landscape and pick the two guys least likely to have have come up together, nobody would look askance if you picked Desus Nice and Chris Hayes. No judgement on either, but, c’mon—one of the Bodega Boys and MSNBC’s bespectacled blonde pundit? But the Bronx is a strange and wonderful place, as the two (along with Nice’s partner in Showtime late-night chat The Kid Mero) chopped it up on Monday’s Desus & Mero over their days shooting craps, playing concrete-playground tackle football, and trying to prove their pubescent mettle at Pablo Casals Middle School in the Bronx’s Co-op City, all while ducking the inconvenient fact that they were both in the gifted and talented program there. Nice sheepishly admitted that, yes, he was given the politest student award, while teasing that he—somehow—didn’t realize that pal Hayes was actually white until later. “I just thought you were light-skinned,” he joked with Hayes, who Nice also claims was the ladies’ man of junior high, which Hayes wasn’t really denying. What is even happening?

Anyway, the trio shared some of the show staple Desus & Mero brand rum—Mero tossing out the water from Hayes’ glass—and talked old times and new politics. For Emmy-winner Hayes, talking shop is nothing new, as he explained how his All In With Chris Hayes staff has learned that it’s futile to react to every Trump tweet as if the barely grammatical rantings of a desperately needy, increasingly panicky old jerk were automatically newsworthy. “Oh shit, Trump tried to buy Mars!,” Nice ad-libbed, trying to come up with something just plausible enough that you just checked your phone. Hayes, talking about Trump’s “terrible personality,” opined that “being around a person with toxic tendencies brings out bad features of other people’s personality,” leading Mero to the analogy that the toxic culture (on Twitter and in America in general) is like “the whole country has a terrible boyfriend . . . but his name is on the lease.”

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And, hey, speaking of terrible people and Twitter, the three reminisced about the time that Mero was sent to Twitter jail for coming after Fox’ Tucker Carlson for his (safely online) attacks on Hayes. “The guy with that fat face and the bow tie,” according to Mero, made the mistake of impugning Bronx boy Hayes’ manhood, if you recall, and while Hayes explained that professional decorum saw him composing angry tweets telling Carlson to meet him in the parking lot in his drafts folder before deleting, fellow Bronx ally Mero was not so, um, restrained. “That jerkoff,” scoffed Mero, no doubt imagining how prep school bully Carlson would fare against scrubbed-up Bronx native Hayes “in front of Bagel Cafe.”

Looking far ahead, Hayes answered the pair’s questions about the 2024 presidential election, the trio assuming, perhaps optimistically, that America and/or the world will exist by then. Hayes, half joking(?) suggested that it’s going to be Kanye vs. Don Jr. at that point, which would have been just a sick, mordant joke a few years ago. But you, having once more rushed to your phone and discovered that Kanye West has, in fact, repeatedly declared his intentions to run for inexplicable pal Donald Trump’s job, have to give it up to Hayes for, as he says, sort-of predicting it back in 2016. Even before West went full MAGA/nuts, Hayes said that he and some colleagues were spitballing about just who was the Democrats Donald Trump—and came up with Kanye. Calling the rapper-preacher the person Dems would look at in a primary and have to admit was sort-of more refreshing than some other candidates but who definitely “shouldn’t have the nuclear codes,” Hayes said that the parallels between Trump and West aren’t really all that hard to see. You know, because we are all doomed and so forth. ¡Salud!

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.