TIME 100 Talks
Updated: August 7, 2020 1:01 PM EDT | Originally published: August 6, 2020 2:21 PM EDT

Comedians Desus Nice and The Kid Mero have been ending their recent episodes with a call to arrest the police who killed Breonna Taylor. It was an organic but intentional decision, they said during a TIME 100 Talks discussion with Ashley C. Ford.

“We have this platform. We have to use our voice,” Desus said. “What other talkshow is ending saying arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor?” The duo host a late-night show called Desus & Mero on Showtime.

Protesting isn’t the only way to support the Black Lives Matter Movement, Mero adds. “Everybody has a role to play,” he said. “If you can’t be out there on the streets (…), if you have a platform, if you have a megaphone, use that megaphone.” It’s impactful and not performative to speak out, especially if you have millions of followers, he said.

Both Desus and Mero say they are inspired by the younger generation. “Generationally, things are changing,” Mero said. “Kids are thinking differently and they’re being more proactive earlier.” He finds hope in children as young as 11 showing up to protests and talking about their civic duties.

Desus and Mero’s talk show has come to be known for it’s high-energy, authentic discussions that touch on everything from jokes about porn to pop culture and politics. “We’re not trying to be just one specific thing. We’re messy. We’re messy and we’re good,” Desus said. He adds that the duo emerged onto the talk show scene “like two guys talking in a bodega and that’s what it’s remained.”

Desus and Mero are coming out with a book called God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons from the Bronx, which will be available in September; pre-orders are available now.

The last few weeks have seen their challenges but the show continues. (Some team members lost power during a recent tropical storm as trees took down power lines.) But “we’re rolling with the punches,” Desus said.

During a pandemic when many people are stuck indoors with limited social contact, Desus finds that art continues to be a comfort for many. “We are making entertainment for people,” he said. “And it’s getting people through a tough time.”

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Write to Sanya Mansoor at sanya.mansoor@time.com.

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