At 30 years old, Lilly Singh has become one of the most influential figures in media. The Canadian YouTube sensation with 14 million subscribers is the first queer woman of colour to host her own late-night show on a major network. She is also one of the youngest late-night hosts in NBC history. The network, who boasts Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers as their late-night talents, is putting their faith in Singh to diversify their audience and bring in fresher perspectives on socio-political topics.
A Little Late with Lilly Singh, which made its debut on NBC and YouTube on Monday, served as a perfect introduction for Singh and the type of comedy she will be showcasing throughout the season. Singh opened the show with her rapping about how she’s not like “other Jimmy’s” on late night. The cold open is reminiscent of her content on YouTube which features satirical sketches about her life as an Indian-Canadian. Singh’s rapping and acting serves as a reminder that she’s not your typical network TV star—she’s a YouTuber looking to reinvent the late-night genre.
Singh’s show does not follow the conventions of other late-night shows, which focus on daily news headlines and timely segments that need to be written, revised, and edited before taping. Instead, A Little Late will be pre-taped over the course of three months and released incrementally. This format allows Singh to produce content that are easily serviceable and accessible for viewers of all demographics—a strategy she had implemented throughout her YouTube career.
In each half-hour episode of A Little Late, Singh opens the show with a monologue covering a wide range of trending topics before transitioning into a comedic segment at her desk. The latter portion of the show features interviews with celebrity guests, who join Singh in playing games, comedy sketches, and field pieces.
Mindy Kaling was the first guest on Monday’s show and praised Singh for being a relatable personality that her daughter could watch “20 years from now.” Kaling’s appearance marked a rare sight for NBC to have two South Asian women side-by-side, sharing their experiences about working in the industry.
During her opening monologue, Singh acknowledged the power she has in promoting and normalizing diversity on NBC.
“The media has mentioned that I’m a ‘bisexual woman of colour’ so often that I’m thinking about changing my name to Bisexual Woman of Colour,” she said before pointing out how NBC’s logo reminds her of a pride flag.
“Maybe I shouldn’t be joking about this because one of the biggest fears of white America is that minorities are coming to take their jobs, and honestly, we are,” Singh added.
These jokes along with colourful suits and Canadian references are what makes Singh stand out in a traditionally male-dominated field. She is able to diversify her topics that other late-night show hosts can’t do, like talking about what it’s like growing up in Canada with immigrant parents from India. By sharing her experiences, Singh is able to maintain her authenticity while helping NBC usher in a new generation of viewers—a welcome change that has been long overdue on late night television.