With the premiere of her new NBC talk show, Lilly Singh changed the face of late-night TV. As the first South Asian, first female, and first openly bi-sexual host of a broadcast network show, she made history, and is now paving the way for a more inclusive TV landscape. If you aren’t familiar with her work, you might be wondering who Lilly Singh is and what she’s bringing to Late Night with Lilly Singh.
The 30-year-old hails from Toronto, Canada, where she first started her Youtube channel IISuperwomanII in 2010. Through original songs, hilarious parodies, and videos satirizing herself, her parents and her Punjabi Indian culture, Singh earned a Youtube following of over 14 million fans, and cemented her presence in popular culture. Some of her most watched videos include “What Clubbing Is Actually Like” (over 32 million views) and “Three Girls, One Elevator” featuring Zendaya and Winnie Harlow (over 28 million views).
With a massive fan following under her belt, Singh launched her own road tour in 2015, in which she spread her messages of love and positivity. The tour was highlighted in her documentary film, A Trip to Unicorn Island, which was centered around Singh’s life as a Youtube celebrity.
After the success of her Youtube channel, and her film, Singh released her New York Times best-selling book, How To Be A Bawse: A Guide To Conquering Life, in which she describes her inspirational journey and talks about how hard work and determination can bring people closer to their dreams. In 2017, Singh won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Youtube Star, and was also seen in films like Bad Moms and Fahrenheit 451.
In March 2019, with the departure of Last Call with Carson Daly, NBC announced it would be filling the time slot with a new late-night show hosted by Singh. The news was not just thrilling for Singh’s fans, it was also a monumental moment for TV. Singh is the first Asian female host of a late-night network talk show, and she’s changing the game by filling her writer’s room with different voices.
In an interview with NBC News, Singh revealed her Late Night with Lilly Singh writing staff is 50 percent men and 50 percent women, making the show more diverse in perspective. “It was very important for me to have an inclusive writers room — not because I had to, but because I could,” she told the outlet. “I genuinely think it’s so important, because not only will you get my point of view on camera now, you’ll get the point of view of my writers — I feel like that’s what storytelling should be. It should be representative of the actual real world.”
In her very first Late Night with Lilly Singh monologue, the host gave a shout out to all the women who’s hard work paved the way for her new show. “Someone like me could not be here without the many successful powerful women of color who led the way,” she said as she gave props to Mindy Kaling, Michelle Obama, and the brown M&M. “I needed role models, and my options were limited.”
As a brown female writer myself, I can attest to the lack of representation in TV and film. But now that Singh is paving the way with her remarkable talent and hard work, I’m sure there are plenty more refreshing changes to come.
Late Night with Lilly Singh airs weeknights at 1:35 a.m. ET on NBC.