If you’ve spent the last year in quarantine, what better guide to introduce you back into life outside than the world’s most famous cellist?
Over the past few weeks, “Desus and Mero” has been tossing in some filmed segments done outside the two hosts’ respective home studios. Few of them have been fueled by as much unadulterated joy as Desus Nice and The Kid Mero’s visit to Cambridge, Massachusetts, curated by the ever-illustrious Yo-Yo Ma.
Within seconds of meeting, they’re giving each other giant mutual appreciation bear hugs. Before long, they’re having a hearts-to-heart at a local barbershop. By the end, Ma is paying tribute to DMX with a cello rendition of “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.”
Sometimes guests on these late-night field segments can be a mixed bag. Politicians try to project some idea of who they want their constituents to think they are. Performers are awkwardly trying to shoehorn in references to their new project. Even the most well-intentioned guest can come across as not the best fit.
So it’s always exciting to see a combination where everyone involved just gets it right away. When Desus asks about expensive instruments and Mero makes a joke off Ma’s answer, the three just settle into a groove. Maybe it’s just really shrewd editing, but you don’t get 11 minutes this free and easy without working from longer footage that has at least some of that same vibe. (Wouldn’t dream of spoiling it, but it also helps to have a certain iconic song from 2000 to help make that common ground.)
Everything leading up to it is wonderful (from some insightful talk about performing while wearing glasses to the truly innovative “Toxic” trio), but what best proves the instant chemistry is one of the segment’s final beats, as Ma plays a favorite of the legendary virtuoso Pablo Casals. At first, Desus and Mero try their best to contribute in their own way with some interpretive dance from their chair. By the end, their fluttering hands slowly give way to genuine surprise at the sound coming from the instrument in front of them.
Just a perfect combination of excitement, curiosity, and genuine admiration all around.
“Desus and Mero” airs Sundays and Thursday nights on Showtime.