Shoplifting North Face like a demon, boosting baby formula like an angel
The Kid Mero on being the GORP Similac Robin Hood, his "mad abrupt & weird" split with Desus, and what's next
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The Kid Mero — he’s one of the funniest people on earth ! He started bubbling up in the early 2010s, getting off these prolific blog posts, music reviews and spicy tweets while he was still working as a teacher’s aide at a junior high school in the Bronx. A few years later he broke through as one-half of the beloved comedy duo Desus & Mero. Their illustrious achievements included 2 all-time-great s**t-talking-heavy podcasts (Desus vs. Mero and Bodega Boys); voice-acting parts on BBSP Certified Animated Classic Neo Yokio; and a slapping late-night talk show (Desus & Mero) that they took from Viceland to Showtime, and where they chopped it up with GOATS from Denzel Washington to Bernie Sanders.
In July, word broke that the duo had SPLIT 💔, in a sad reminder that no earthly thing, no matter how beautiful, is permanent.
We got on the SpyPhone with Mero to talk about what the f**k went down with Desus; what’s next; stealing $$$ North Face jackets in the ‘90s and using their stowage capacity to boost more s**t, including baby formula to nobly redistribute thru Bronx bodegas; and more…
Blackbird Spyplane: How was yr summer, Mero?
The Kid Mero: “It was crazy, you know, with the break-up of the show and weird shadiness and s**t. Between you and me [launches into several minutes of candid talk about frustrations with Showtime executives and about fissures in his relationship with Desus going back to 2017. Tale-as-old-as-time Show Biz S**t.]
Blackbird Spyplane: D*mn. Ok, now give me the not-just-you-and-me version...
The Kid Mero: “Bro, it’s very cathartic to speak about this s**t, but I don’t want it to be, like, ‘Yo Mero’s being mad messy and mad public.’ Media-Training Mero is in full effect. Because if it was just me talking to you, [says a bunch more extremely messy things for the next several minutes.]
Blackbird Spyplane: King, give me something I can actually print for the people of Spy Nation !!
The Kid Mero: “OK, super high-road and super-clean, but honest: When we signed to Showtime, we signed individual deals. 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.”
Blackbird Spyplane: Yeah, it felt harsher than that — like 2 dudes who once seemed like best friends, and who’d become our imaginary best friends over the years, were suddenly at odds.
The Kid Mero: “I consume s**t the same way, like, ‘Mike and the Mad Dog broke up?? F**k!!’ It’s crazy, man, the industry sucks. I know I’m speaking in mad clichés and platitudes, but once you scale something to this level, you really gotta be careful. Grab s**t, know what you’re doing. Go balls to the wall and tell a network, F**k your notes.”
Blackbird Spyplane: I heard a rumor that the numbers at Showtime were softening by the end of season 3, and you wanted to respond by making the show super raw, bringing it back to the early podcast-energy, whereas Desus had a more polished, celeb-friendly vision. Is there any truth to that?
The Kid Mero: “No, not framed that way. Creative disagreements? Nah. 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. 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.”
Blackbird Spyplane: So on one front you guys had problems with each other, and on another front you both had problems with Showtime. Can you see a future where you two are cool again?
The Kid Mero: “Um. I don’t know, man. I feel like — maybe? Never say never. Right now I think we’re on different trajectories as far as what we wanna do.”
Blackbird Spyplane: So what’s next? Years ago you were developing a sitcom with the Big SpyHomie Ezra Koenig, based on your experiences working at NYC public schools. Could that project come back to life?
The Kid Mero: “Definitely, we’re talking about it again, with some new people involved, like [young TV hotshot behind a massively hyped show redacted]. There’s that, another scripted project where [legendary comedy power-mover redacted] is telling me, ‘We’re gonna make this.’ But I don’t wanna jump out the window saying, ‘I’m working on this’ until the ink is dry.”
Blackbird Spyplane: Let’s get into Fully Unredacted Jawns Talk — was there clothing you wanted as a kid and yr parents said, H*ll no, and when you started making $$ it’s the first thing you copped?
The Kid Mero: “I was a North Face addict. Still am, high key. As a graffiti kid, part of the culture is racking s**t. North Face jackets — Steep Techs, Extremes, Mountain Guides — they were like, $300, $400, so I’d be at Tent & Trails, Paragon, Transit, just taking them off the f**king rack. I was like a demon. It was adrenaline, like, the same way people jump out of planes, I was like, Yo, can I boost this s**t? They’d attach wires and I’d just come in with wire cutters, like, snip-snip-snip-snip-snip!”
Blackbird Spyplane: I’m from NYC but I live in the East Bay now, which is where North Face originated — it’s amazing how kids in ‘90s New York took it & flipped it into a fashion thing.
The Kid Mero: “It was, like, I live on East Tremont, I’m not going f**king spelunking. You know what this s**t is for, dog — it’s because the armpit has a zipper that’s long as f**k, so I can throw a pair of shoes in that motherf**ker. I can go to a supermarket and get a filet mignon!!”
Blackbird Spyplane: You stole a Steep Tech and then used it to steal more s**t?? This is like an O. Henry story but with no moral.
The Kid Mero: “For real! 100%. I’m looking in the corner right now at my old crumpled red-and-black Steep Tech I got in the ‘90s.”
Blackbird Spyplane: Where did that one come from?
The Kid Mero: “Off some kid from Bronx Science High School [laughs]. No, actually, that’s where I got my blue one, with the foam spine. This one came from… somewhere in Connecticut.”
Blackbird Spyplane: D*mn dude, so it wasn’t about waiting to buy North Face when you finally made money, it was about racking it and running other kids for their s**t when you were still a lil goon!
The Kid Mero: “Yeah... Although boosting could be kind of noble, sometimes. Like, we used to rack powders — basically Similac, baby formula. We’d go to Walmart and these other big-box stores, boost a bunch of baby formula and then sell it to the bodegas below wholesale, like, ‘I got a trunk full of this s**t.’ And for them it was, ‘I could charge this single mom less because this dude sold it to me for a buck fifty as opposed to whatever the f**k I have to pay wholesale.’”
Blackbird Spyplane: The Similac Robin Hood — salute. Tell me about this ESPO piece you sent me …
The Kid Mero: “So ESPO, Stephen Powers, is one of my favorite artists of all time — GOAT, legend, not an overstatement. I credit 3 artists with my obsession with graffiti, and it’s BESTER and TABE, from the Bronx, and then ESPO. Just watching him on Videograf, this graffiti series, painting in broad daylight? He had this spot on the West Side Highway, this sanitation garage with massive gates, huge, and he did a piece on those. I was like, How did you do this?? He didn’t just slap the s**t up. He did a hot spot and he finessed it.
“So, when I started getting known for my comedy, ESPO actually reached out, telling me, Yo I f**k with what you do, and I’m like, D*mn I’ve been a fan of yours since I was a little rat smoking half a Newport my friend gave me. So he gave me this piece on vinyl, and I’m gonna cherish the s**t forever.”
Blackbird Spyplane: Do you ever get smacked out of yr brain & go down eBay rabbitholes?
The Kid Mero: “Yes and no. The other night I was writing with a ‘99 Knicks Finals Run compilation playing in the background, and I look up from the TextEdit and Sprewell is dunking, going crazy — I’m like, Yo I have to immediately buy a Knicks throwback Sprewell jersey. Or I had on the Acronym Presto Mids and my wife was, like, Can I get those? I found them for her, never worn, tags on — because if they had a tiny scuff she’d be, like, These smell like someone else’s feet.”
Blackbird Spyplane: See, I appreciate a little roastedness in a pair of shoes. I wrote a thing here about seeing a kid rocking a pair of Yeezy boots with paint stains and hella scuffs and they looked so much harder than someone who paid a reseller $700 and kept them pristine.
The Kid Mero: “I did the same thing with my Off-White Prestos, I went bombing in them during early Covid, going out crazy. Then my dad visited me from the Dominican Republic, and he put them on just to be in the house, like, ‘These are cozy’ — then I visited him in D.R. and he was wearing them! He cut off the zip ties, I was, like, Noooo you’re supposed to leave those on!”
Blackbird Spyplane: I love that — he didn’t care, he just wanted to use them.
The Kid Mero: “He was walking through a farm, the s**ts were fried, but I was like, ‘Yo I respect it. No one here knows what you have on, and you’re feeding cows.’”
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