“Due to Atlanta Legislation, we will not be able to do our AKAs tonight.”
If you ever want to devastate a group of people instantly, just say that to any member of the Bodega Hive. When Desus Nice said that at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown of Atlanta, it was basically like the Yankees beat the Braves in the World Series, again, for the third time. But when he revealed that they would actually be doing their patented AKAs, the crowd in the orchestra hall turned on its ear. Everyone cheered to the loudest and pulled out their iPhones because when Desus and Mero do what they do best, they deserve your undivided attention.
That’s what has propelled them to the top of the media industry. Everyone understands that the Bronx duo are the best at what they do, making people laugh. When they come onto your screen, the capture your attention when their indomitable spirit and irresistible aura. For their fans, they’ve created a sense of family, bringing the Bodega Hive with them wherever they have gone, from Complex with Desus vs. Mero, to MTV2, to Viceland, and now to Showtime. For new viewers and TV executives, they are drawn in by Desus and Mero’s undeniably authentic personalities that resonate with people from all backgrounds.
At the live edition of the Bodega Boys in Atlanta, the Hive showed out in full effect for the pairing. They fully sold out all three levels of the orchestra hall, with only a few seats not having butts in them (Desus explained this by saying, “you know how Black people are.”). The energy throughout the entire hall was palpable up until the moment the two burst onto the stage. A lone DJ kept the crowd entertained until about 8:24pm EST, when he played the signature theme song of the podcast. The crowd rose to their feet as the most illustrious duo made their way onto the stage, both donning giant flags of their respective countries, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. They were ready to match the energy of the crowd, with Desus literally wearing a “Smacked City” T-shirt, a perfect representation of their physical states, and Mero clutching a half-full bottle of Brugal, the elixir of the gods.
From the jump, the duo had me and the rest of the crowd doubled over from laughter. They tackled topics from that infamous picture of Jay-Z on a jetski wearing a helmet (Mero said he needed a Xanax), the different Atlanta terminology for guns, and how Mero has been preparing his children for a home invasion. The magic of the Bodega Boys was apparent from the start. There seemed to be no set jokes. Desus and Mero were up on the stage, riffing off of each other, free-wheeling jokes like a couple of friends just going at it. It was authentic and legitimately fun. They never had to worry about getting side-tracked because every side-splitting joke and comment was improvised. They would get to a topic and just run with it for 10 minutes. They never ran dry either: every joke felt fresh and had the entire orchestra hall dying.
Desus and Mero made sure to never forget their beginnings and those, the Bodega Hive, that had ridden with them since their start. Throughout the show, they shouted out numerous people in the crowd that they had interacted with, those who had an effect on them in the past. If you were lucky enough to be in the front two rows, they made sure to interact with you often and you made feel like you were a part of the show. Multiple members of the Hive were given 3-4 shots of Brugal from the bottle by Mero, and others were given an indiscernible liquid from an gasoline can. In a series of jokes about the availability of guns in Atlanta, Desus pointed out which member of the audience was most likely to have a gun. He then pointed at me, right in the second row, in silver framed glasses and a Prince Purple Rain shirt, and said that I would have an AK-47 next to my front door. I was both shocked and delighted at the exact same time.
The show felt like a celebration. Like the whole family celebrating fresh off of a graduation. This was in fact their first show since ending Desus & Mero on Viceland. With them describing themselves as being in “limbo,” having not signed their official contract with the network Showtime, the Bronx natives promised the crowd one thing: that they would continue to bring them with them. There will be no selling out. No forgetting those that have supported them from the beginning. They would continue to level up and glow up (Mero showed out with Versace shoes and a Versace jacket), but they would never cease to be two dudes from the Bronx.
The Brand is 100-0, never lost.
Near the end of the show, Desus and Mero conducted a Q&A allowing members of the Hive to come up and ask them anything, as long as it wasn’t a trash question or about Desus’s secret child. People had come from far and wide just to see the podcast live, with one dude coming all the way from LA and was brought to tears by being able to ask them a question. Another dude had been following them since their start on Complex and came all the way from the Bronx to see them. It was fully apparent that the duo means a lot to many people across the country. Desus and Mero were not even sure that they had fans in Atlanta. But fans from all over have latched onto them and ridden with them, putting their friends onto them, blasting trolls on Twitter, and slandering DJ Envy’s name to no end.
While the Q&A technically finished the show, the AKAs were the ceremonially finale. As they both went through their individual monologues, it was basically a call and answer affair as the entire orchestra hall knew their AKAs by heart. It was a glorious celebration of fandom and success. The duo were more like rockstars at this point, rather than two dudes who just do a podcast. The whole segment took over 13 minutes, and the audience never grew tired of it, yelling the words from the AKAs like they were lyrics at a Kendrick concert.
If you are a part of the Bodega Hive, try and make it out to the live tour. There is nothing more fulfilling as a fan to see Desus and Mero at the top of their game, the product of all their grinding and growth, live and in person. Continue to support them as they move to Showtime. If you’re reading this and you don’t know who Desus and Mero, take a couple of hours to get accustomed to the Bodega Boys podcast and other clips of them on youtube. And if you’re a hater of the strongest brand, or you’re DJ Envy, there is only one thing for you to do…
That gif will never not be applicable.