Shout Out to the Bodega Boys, From the Bronx to the Best-Seller List

BOYS TO MEN When Daniel Baker, a.k.a. Desus Nice (top), got a call from his agent, reps and lawyer out of nowhere in late September, he panicked. “I was like, oh wow, the show must’ve gotten canceled,” he said in a three-way phone interview with Joel Martinez, a.k.a. the Kid Mero, his co-host on their late-night TV series, “Desus & Mero.” “It scared the hell out of me.”

But it turned out to be good news: Their debut book, “God-Level Knowledge Darts,” had hit the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list, at No. 13. “You know when you get your Ph.D., you’re like, ‘Don’t call me Mister, call me Doctor’?” Martinez asked. “I’m gonna go to the bodega later and when Papi’s like, ‘Hey Papi!’ I’m gonna be like, ‘No no no. New York Times best seller.’”

A fitting reference for the Bronx comedy duo behind the “Bodega Boys” podcast, which recently released its 220th episode. This book is the extension of their on-air chemistry, the “sucio” humor and stoned, semi-“washed” wisdom that have made them famous far beyond the New York City borough where they grew up. To preserve their casual repartee in book form, Baker said, they wrote in a shared, “living” Google Doc, the authors and their editor all “freestyling” and feeding off of one another’s energy in real time. Plus, this way, whenever Baker or Martinez wrote something self-incriminating, their editor could flag it on the spot.

Given how much of the finished book is unprintable in The Times, it’s fun to imagine what could possibly have been cut. Many anecdotes mention what “may or may not still be open cases,” Baker explained. “That’s why we say ‘allegedly’ at least 1,000 times.”

For the Boys and their entire Bodega Hive, making the list is a surreal achievement. “I told my wife and she literally did a back flip,” Martinez said. “I’d never seen her do a back flip before.”

The news brings Baker back to his adolescence, when he worked behind the desk at the New York Public Library. “One of my jobs was to look at the New York Times best-seller list, take those books off the shelf and put them in a display,” he said. “Now I’m one of those authors.”

Where do they go from here? Well, anywhere. “We’re firing on all cylinders,” Martinez said. “We’re poppin’ right now.”

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