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ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" - Season 20

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A man of many talents, Desus Nice remains booked and busy. While many know him as a solid half of one of the country’s funniest duos, Desus has been making his mark in his solo act.

Now, he’s collaborating with Verizon on a new interactive experience to promote the new Google Pixel 7 series. Part ad campaign and part “Where’s Waldo” style social experience, “The Magic Street Search,” is exclusive to Verizon customers using Google Maps.

Desus described it as an immersive photo scavenger hunt with him using the Pixel’s Magic Erasure feature in Google Photos to “remove” legendary landmarks. 

“We gotta like find me around the city,” Desus explained. “Basically, I’ll be in front of a landmark. But more of the features that will tell you exactly where I’m at will be erased. So, you’d have to take a guess where I’m at.” 

Players have to find Desus and could win a Pixel 7 Pro. The activation begins on Oct. 7 and runs through Oct. 12. Staying on brand, Desus even made sure to snag a shirt in that classic Verizon red color and style for the ad campaign.  

“That is not as easy to find as most people would think,” he said. “So, I want to give myself points for that. There’s a lot of stores, but you know, it’s all about branding.” 

During the interview with NewsOne, Desus was focused on the future and basking in the abundance of opportunities to come. In addition to the partnership with Verizon, he has been a guest host on Jimmy Kimmel Live! And he is slated to host the upcoming Bronx Defenders’ 25th-anniversary gala. 

This isn’t the first time Desus has partnered with Verizon. During the pandemic, he worked with the communications giant, with zoom meetups and recording the show “Desus and Mero” while many other teams shut down production.  

“This is an authentic partnership,” he said. “We’re going to do more stuff going forward in the future. But at the same time, it’s like, I’m not doing anything corny.” 

When working with Verizon or any collaboration, Desus explained that being able to show up consistently as his real self is essential. 

“I don’t want the next generation to be like, ‘oh, that’s what you have to do to work with these major brands,” Desus said. “Hopefully, the next generation they see it, and they’re like, ‘yo, this guy from the Bronx made it being authentically himself. He didn’t have to like change anything up.'” 

Living life beyond his wildest childhood dreams 

As a child, Desus couldn’t have imagined he would grow up to be a high-profile influencer, guest-hosting late-night shows and innovating major corporate partnerships. Many of us growing up in the 80s would never have been able to imagine the opportunities the internet and technology would bring.  

“Now and then, I’ll meet people, and they’ll be like, ‘I’ve wanted to do this ever since I was little,'” Desus shared. “When I was little, the most I wanted was a regular government job with benefits. Like I didn’t want anything.” 

ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" - Season 20

Source: Randy Holmes / Getty

He said he never imagined being famous or hanging out with celebrities. But at the end of the day, he said he’s the same guy he’s always been.  

“Desus is Daniel,” he said. “It’s like, I’m the same person. If you meet me in the street, I’m the same person I am on TV.” 

And he was. And just like any New Yorker, Desus has his favorite places to grab pizza —special shout out to his high school spot Ljubo’s Pizza in the Bronx and Cuts & Slices in Brooklyn. 

Young Daniel grew up to get a whole lot more than a monthly MetroCard. 

“I’m really enjoying it,” Desus said. “I really exceeded expectations.” 


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