Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021

AdvertiseDonateSubmit
NewsSportsArtsOpinionThe QuadPhotoVideoIllustrationsCartoonsGraphicsThe StackPRIMEEnterpriseInteractivesPodcastsBruinwalkClassifieds

IN THE NEWS:

Tracking COVID-19 at UCLA

Book review: ‘God-Level Knowledge Darts’ humorously shares life lessons from the Bronx

(Courtesy of Random House)

"God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons From The Bronx"

By Desus & Mero

Published September 22

By EJ Panaligan

Oct. 5, 2020 4:48 p.m.

The Bodega Boys have done a podcast. They’ve done live shows. They’ve done TV.

It’s only natural that their next evolutionary step is a New York Times bestseller – a great one, at that.

Co-authored by comedians and Showtime hosts Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, “God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons from the Bronx” is as bombastic and enlightening as its title implies. The pair, known as The Bodega Boys, impart onto readers a slew of life lessons and advice they’ve gained both before and during their ascent to success in the late-night comedy realm. Throughout their literary journey, they cover topics ranging from navigating narcotics use, relationships, sports and getting through life while broke.

And the pair does not waste a single inch of print space being dishonest.

Nothing about Desus and Mero’s rise into late-night stardom screams traditional in any sense – they’re products of an earlier iteration of Twitter in which their frequent interactions afforded them the chance to quit their day jobs and pursue comedy in a nontraditional space online. A little more than a decade ago, they were just two regular guys trying to live and survive in the Bronx, and the topics covered throughout the book reflect that “humble beginnings” aspect of their relatability to readers with incredible humility.

[Related: Book review: ‘Midnight Sun’ fails to eclipse problematic points of past ‘Twilight’ novels]

The book itself is a different but inspired take on the standard autobiography, where stories and life experiences carry a fluid, start-to-finish narrative. Instead, Desus and Mero share their experiences – both good and bad – with readers in chapters that are structured like individual short stories within the grander novel. The duo makes it clear to readers early in the preface and introduction that it isn’t so much a direct advice book as it is a warning not to repeat many of the hilariously tragic experiences they went through in the Bronx.

Possibly the strongest quality this book possesses, though, is its ability to seamlessly capture its authors’ distinctive voices in one of the most difficult mediums to do so. Desus and Mero have spent years in front of microphones and television cameras, letting their natural chemistry be their style of comedy’s defining characteristic. Yet in print, the system used to distinguish the two is simple but just as clever: Desus, the more cultured and composed of the pair, has his words printed in a proper Times New Roman font, while Mero, the more brash and outlandish of the two, speaks in an all-caps, modernized font synonymous with his Twitter voice.

This narrative choice and style allows for Desus and Mero’s individual voices to shine in a much more limited format than they’re used to, and many special comedic moments transpire as a result. Even with their platforms and following, it never feels as if they’re talking down to the reader. There’s a relaxed sense of casualness in their dialect that reads as if they’re two of your best friends that are only sharing these “knowledge darts” because they care about you.

Immediately after the introduction, the chapter titled “Navigating Narcotics” sees Mero’s laundry list of zany experiences trying different drugs throughout his life hit a sharp contrast to Desus’ critical approach to eloquently explaining the different, possibly detrimental effects these drugs can have on an individual. But that’s not to say Desus confines himself to the straight, by-the-books role while Mero plays the outlandish jester for the entire duration of the book. A crucial component of the duo’s chemistry is that their perceived personalities tend to cross over much more than expected, which helps incorporate an element of surprise while reading as they trade off paragraphs.

[Related: Second Take: Late-night shows continue cultivating comedy, creativity with at-home formats]

Further along in the book, the “Survival of the Brokest” chapter takes on an interesting Q&A style as the pair outline how to go on date, pay rent, deal with a medical emergency and put food on the table while financially unstable. They perform literary alley-oops with one another as they run through preposterous but somewhat feasible solutions to these very common scenarios, with Desus humorously suggesting that the reader tell their date that they simply detest capitalism.

If nothing else, “God-Level Knowledge Darts” proves that comedians from a newer, social media-influenced realm of comedy can take on a medium as old as time and make it their own without missing a beat. Late-night legend David Letterman’s cosign that the duo are the future of comedy feels more prophetic by the day, given the quality and abundance of comedic moments throughout the book.

With Desus and Mero’s seamless blend of casual relatability and honest insight, the future of comedy seems to be in good hands.

Share this story:FacebookTwitterRedditEmail
EJ Panaligan | Senior staff
Panaligan is a senior staffer for the Arts and Entertainment and Opinion sections. He was previously the Opinion editor in 2020-21, and created the "Columns From Quarantine" Opinion column series. For the Arts and Entertainment section, he regularly contributes features, columns, reviews and Q&As to the Music | Fine Arts beat. He also co-created the "Life and Hip-Hop" Arts column series. He is from Carson, California but unabashedly dreams of a professional life in New York City.
Panaligan is a senior staffer for the Arts and Entertainment and Opinion sections. He was previously the Opinion editor in 2020-21, and created the "Columns From Quarantine" Opinion column series. For the Arts and Entertainment section, he regularly contributes features, columns, reviews and Q&As to the Music | Fine Arts beat. He also co-created the "Life and Hip-Hop" Arts column series. He is from Carson, California but unabashedly dreams of a professional life in New York City.
COMMENTS
Featured Classifieds
Internships

Accounting Paid Internship. Seeking accounting student with excellent communication skills for a local CPA firm. Flexible hours and remote work available but few onsite office training may be required . Email or fax resume to: [email protected], or fax: (323)694-7413.

More classifieds »
Related Posts