Talking With Comedian and Iconic Sweetie Josh Gondelman
We discuss 'Desus & Mero,' Twitter, and the future of hugs in our 'What Now' newsletter.
Hi, friends. I hope this Monday is treating you well. I’m the captain of the What Now ship this week (toot toot), and I’m delighted to say that this boat is sailing free, not at all stuck in the Suez Canal, and contains a fantastic guest aboard: writer and comedian Josh Gondelman. You might know Josh from his work on Last Week Tonight and Desus & Mero, or his writing in places like The Cut and The Ringer, or from Twitter, where he is known for pep talks, positivity, and being generally very funny and very kind. The cutthroat journalist in me wishes I could use this space to drop a shocking exposé about how Josh’s public-facing niceness is a sham, but alas, the only scoop I have for you is this: he’s as much of a gent IRL as he is online. I talked to Josh last week a few days after news broke that The Kid Mero had contracted COVID (he has since appeared on the show and is tweeting through his recovery) and the day after Desus & Mero won best comedy/variety talk series at the 2021 Writers Guild Awards. We chatted about everything from working on the show to processing the news to preparing for rampant post-COVID horniness.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
First and foremost, big congratulations on your WGA award.
Oh my gosh, thank you. It was very exciting. I'm so happy for, and proud of, our team. I was really thrilled and overwhelmed. I was drunk at the time and I had a more emotional reaction than I would have guessed.
I mean, that's great though. Now more than ever, we love some good news.
Oh yeah. I'll take any good news right now. Like anybody tweeting “my grandmother just had her first vaccine!” and I'm just like all caps reply: “HELL YEAH.”
I’d imagine too that, after what was probably a really weird year on the job, recognition like that is probably especially validating.
Yeah. I'm so lucky to have been able to do my job at home for a year. And for most of our staff to be, you know, almost entirely from home for a year. I'm so impressed and grateful to our post department who figured out how to make that work. But yeah, it’s been a little strange and different, but I'm really proud of the shows we've been putting together during the pandemic from home. It was really overwhelming and flattering to be recognized by the members of the Writers Guild. It was really cool.
What has it been like for you during the last year to do the show from home? Both pandemic-wise, but also news-wise.
News-wise it definitely got easier as we went along. Our first show from home last year was March 30th, but for like a month, all the news was like, “this celebrity has COVID,” or “these are the places where the spikes are the highest,” or “here is the death toll.” And it felt like every other thing was blotted out by how massive and terrifying that story was, and is. But as little cultural things came back and people figured out how to live a little more safely and figure out what was okay and what wasn't okay, there was at least other stuff to talk about other than just, “Hey, remember to spray your groceries with Lysol, or actually, no, you don't have to do that! What are we doing? Everything is chaos and terror!”