Desus Nice and The Kid Mero just tackled esports on their comedy talk show, thanks to Riot’s latest masturbatory advertisement showcasing League of Legends pro players. Riot’s video, which juxtaposes clips of notable esports haters like Colin Cowherd with emotional esports moments like Faker crying, argues that people should take esports seriously. Mero doesn’t buy it.
Desus rises to the occasion and plays devil’s advocate: “It’s a real sport, though. I watched a Rocket League championship game, or some shit, this weekend. It’s real. What makes a sport not a sport?” Desus also defends NASCAR: “It takes hand-eye coordination! You’ve gotta do all that, and keep your Confederate flag waving!”
Mero doesn’t concede the point, insisting that pro gaming just isn’t cool with him: “I’m not sending my kids to no fucking PlayStation camp. Get the fuck out of here!” Desus plays some clips of the 2017 Call of Duty Championship, and Mero gives a halfhearted “hell yeah” to some of the highlights, but it’s clear he’s not on board.
Desus tosses off this tired joke to close out the segment: “Esports could be the new big thing. Unless these people find out about sex.” You know what? Compete already debunked that shit. But that’s not really what this debate is about. It’s about whether esports deserve the cultural cachet and “coolness” that comes with being called a sport. It’s jocks vs. nerds again.
If you ever hang around pro gamers, you’ll realize fast that they’ve got a lot more in common with jock stereotypes than nerd ones, and my hands crumbled into dust while trying to finish typing another fucking sentence about this hoary comparison.
Desus and Mero’s ancient takes don’t rise to the level of meriting a demand to take me on in Street Fighter or anything; that challenge does remain in place for Paul Tagliabue, the coward. Speaking of Street Fighter, though, they might find the fighting game scene to be more exciting—or at least, different—than League of Legends or Call of Duty.
I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to give esports a chance, though. Can pro gaming organizations stop making these embarrassing advertisements about how normies should totally pay attention? We’ll know esports has “grown up” when Riot Games stops producing the equivalent of a passive-aggressive AIM away message about how some people just don’t understand them.