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Desus & Mero brought their natural charisma and dislike for Ted Cruz to SXSW virtual chat

Matthew Odam
Austin 360
Desus and the Kid Mero, host of "Desus and Mero" on Showtime, had some harsh words for Ted Cruz at the virtual South by Southwest.  [CONTRIBUTED BY MICAIAH CARTER / SHOWTIME]

One of the best things about the pre-recorded interviews featured at South by Southwest this year: the mitigation of last-second cancellations brought on by the coronavirus. 

Joel Martinez DBA Kid Mero of the wildly popular Desus & Mero show (brand? empire?) Tweeted Tuesday night that he had contracted the coronavirus. Fortunately for Mero, he said he is doing “OK,” and asked all of his followers to take the virus seriously and continue to follow safety protocol. 

And fortunately for all of those attending the virtual SXSW, Mero had previously recorded the interview with his partner, Daniel Baker aka Desus Nice, and the Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg. 

So, the show went on as scheduled. And Desus and Mero went off, as per usual. It’s hard to imagine a duo bringing more verve to the potentially awkward Zoom format. Their ability to stay engaged with Weinberg and trade turns answering questions was born undoubtedly from their natural charisma but also from the adaptations the two have had to make in producing their popular Showtime show and weekly podcast remotely. 

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The partners discussed the nuances of remote work, their ceaseless hustle, getting back to normal (“eating crab legs in an apartment after dusk is sad”) and Donald Trump (they say he’s persona non grata in their native New York City). But they saved their hottest heat for a Texas politician. 

Feinberg opened the floor to discuss anything from Ted Cruz to Kim Kardashian, and the fellas pounced on Cruz with playful fury. 

Referencing the Texas junior senator’s brief jaunt to Cancun, Desus called  Cruz a “bum” and a “terrible person," and joked that he allegedly eats rats. And Mero, whose family is from the Dominican Republic, called Cruz by his given name “Rafael,” which he said the senator forsake in order to make himself appear “more powerful to white people.” He added that Cruz wasn’t even from Texas, but born in Canada, and then suggested that there be some sort of international trade wherein the United States could trade Cruz back to Canada in exchange for Ontario native Mike Myers.