Lilly Singh Is Knocking Down The Door Of Late Night TV

YouTuber, comedian, actress, producer, and author of “How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life,” Lilly Singh is bringing some color (literally and metaphorically) to the once white world of late night television with her new show “A Little Late With Lilly Singh.” 

Known as ||Superwoman|| on YouTube, Singh stands out as the first queer woman of color to host a network late night show. And, at just 30, she is also the youngest host on one of America’s major networks. 

Singh first started posting videos on YouTube as a depressed, confused graduate of York University in Toronto in 2010. But what started as a way to deal with her feelings, quickly turned into a channel with over 14 million subscribers. She was even named on the Forbes list of the highest-paid YouTube stars in 2017.  

Then, in March 2019, it was reported that Singh would host her late night show, succeeding “Last Call With Carson Daly” as it hit its final season. 

“Your girl is getting her own NBC late night show!” Singh excitedly announced on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” 

Related: A Little Late With Lilly Singh 

Already in her first week, Singh proved that she has the charisma, passion, and self-deprecating wit to enchant viewers. She offers a refreshing take on late night comedy, as she expertly infuses her millennial frankness and positive trailblazing into earnest interviews and punchy sketches and monologues. 

In the first segment of her premiere, Singh performed a sketch in which she takes over an all-white and all-male writers’ room, dressed fittingly in a colorful suit, rapping “Hello my name is Lilly, and I ain’t a white man / My skin’s got some color and it ain’t a spray tan.” 

Not only did this sketch represent Singh’s breakthrough into the white male-dominated world of late night, but it also represented her dedication to making her own writers’ room diverse and inclusive. 

“My writers’ room looks like a mini-United Nations/More than 50 percent women and people of all races/And that’s not because I had to, it’s because I could/This the new standard so take note Hollywood,” rapped Singh in her opening sketch. 

On camera, Singh’s guests also reflect those values.

Her pilot episode featured Mindy Kaling, the two even saying at one point that this was the first time two Indians have been on late night at the same time.

Kaling’s own film, “Late Night,” which she wrote, directed, and starred in, focuses on talk-show host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) who hires Kaling’s character, Molly Patel as the first female writer in her writers’ room. 

The story is not completely fiction, as it reflects Kaling’s own struggle entering Hollywood as a woman of color when she joined the writing staff of “The Office” at 24 and exposes the general exclusivity of the industry. 

Women like Kaling and Singh, though, are proof that the times are changing. 

And while it is too early to determine if “A Little Late” will be a hit, the representation of a millennial woman of color on TV will without a doubt attract an audience none of the “Jimmys” of late night could. 

No woman has ever made it past a single season of hosting a late night show on a main network in the late night boys’ club. But for Singh, it is less about being successful and more about chipping away at the glass ceiling for future women in the industry. 

“Regardless of what the outcome is, if I’m being super candid with you, it’s kind of not going to matter because it’s going to help continue to pave that path,” Singh told PBS, “And that’s what my priority is.”