Ya girl Superwoman shakes up the late night game!
The wait is finally over! After it was announced in late March of 2019 that the popular Indian Canadian YouTuber Lilly Singh aka Superwoman would be getting her own late-night show, the highly anticipated A Little Late With Lilly Singh finally premiered on September 16, 2019 on NBC. Singh’s new show, which fills the 1:30 a.m. spot previously held by Carson Daly (apparently, he was still on television) opened up with a rap sketch in which Lilly introduces her persona to her television audience who represent a slightly older more mainstream demographic than her regular YouTube viewers.
If you do not know who Lilly Singh is, she got her start making YouTube videos in 2010 after suffering from depression. Her sketch comedy videos went viral, earning her over 3 billion views and over 15 million subscribers. She wrote a New York Times bestselling book titled How To Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life, had a YouTube Red documentary, and even went on a world tour. Needless to say, she is one of the titans of YouTube and has broken into not just cable television like many of her YouTube counterparts before her such as the Paul brothers who starred on a Disney Channel show, but she has made it to primetime television on a major network. This is unprecedented in the YouTube world, and something else that is interesting to note: Singh has promised to vlog this whole journey, which is certainly something none of the other hosts have done before.
Jumping in fast and hot, Singh made it clear that this is not going to be your typical Late-Night Show where you have a straight white male Jimmy monologuing about Trump. As a bisexual woman of color, Singh is making it her goal to offer her own perspective that has virtually been absent from the mainstream scene to an audience that may find it hard to relate to your run of the mill suited up white guy on television. Instead, her monologue took on social topics such as why parents should teach their kids about sex, recounting in graphically detailed that her own Indian parents even told her about her period when she was young, leading her to be panicked and confused the first time, treating the bleeding like it was bloody nose and “pinched the top.” She jokingly remarked that “I got my period and masturbated for the first time on the same day. It was a mess.” While her monologue brought me to a few chuckles, her delivery just felt a bit off to me. This is probably because Lilly Singh is not your typical comedian; Stand-up is not her strong suit, but Singh certainly shines specializes in sketch comedy, which her show was certainly plentiful in. Though, their execution felt weak and a bit awkward.
Where Singh’s scripted comedy was weak, she certainly made up for with her charismatic and charming conversations with the guests. Guests Mindy Kaling and Jim Gaffigan complemented Singh fantastically as Singh proved herself to be a decent interviewer for late- night. One of my favorite moments of the show occurred when Gaffigan joked that Singh’s home country, Canada, was so clean he has never even seen a wrapper on the street. She sharply replied, “We have Drake.” I am not usually a fan of puns, but that one comment caught me off guard and is clever enough that it deserves recognition.
Those who are not a fan of Singh’s comedy may be contemplating why NBC would give her a show on late-night? The answer is very interesting. If you look at the YouTube trending page, you are likely to find several videos from late-night shows dominating the scene with videos such as Carpool Karaoke with James Corden raking in tens of millions of views, which is way higher than the viewership of those tuning in on television. If you look at The Late Late Show with James Corden’s YouTube channel, you see that it has over 6.3 billion views. Meanwhile, his own show rakes in a mere 2 million viewers on average a night. That is why these networks have altered their formats to created bite-sized clips that can be uploaded to YouTube for more viewership while also raking in the money from network commercials. As mentioned before, Singh is a YouTuber who has extensive experience making content such as this, so she comes primed with the experience and her charisma and position as a bisexual woman of color makes her an excellent candidate to appeal with numerous audiences.
As someone who used to watch Singh on YouTube back in the day and as a person of Desi descent, it is so super exciting to see Singh make it on television. To those who are still doubtful of Singh’s abilities, consider that her show just debuted. Her team is still locked in the experimental phase, figuring out what works and does not flow well. It is not until much later that most shows pick up their momentum and produce some of their best content, so give it a chance and some time. Until then, I wish her the best because she has a lot of people counting on her.