“A Little Late with Lilly Singh” changes the norm

YouTube star Lilly Singh recently joined a new clique: Late Night hosts. She joins the likes of Colbert, the Jimmys and Meyer; however  many have said that Late Night is not her place to be, claiming that she belongs on YouTube and YouTube only, citing her use of identity politics as the reason. Although many media outlets have coined her as the “bisexual woman of color” of late-night, Singh is more than what people see on the surface. 

As Variety’s Caroline Framke remarked, “Lilly Singh is well aware of her unique place in late night.” Singh even raps in her first episode, addressing all her viewers: “Hello, my name is Lilly, and I ain’t no white man.” Her bold outfits matched with bright, red lipstick and long hair all translate to one central idea: “This is who I am, and this is what my show will be.”

All this is complemented by her infectious and bright personality. “I think she is not a normal late-night host in the sense of her personality. I feel like a lot of the late-night hosts are dull and boring because they have been doing it for so long. I just feel like they aren’t having as much fun [as Singh is],” junior Riti Prasanna remarked.

Singh is strikingly unapologetic in her monologues. In one instance, she vented about how little she knew about sex as an Indian daughter. This is another reason people refuse to see her show as “revolutionary;” not everyone is Indian, so therefore she can’t connect to everyone because she “isn’t that funny.” 

Although this is a valid point, this also implies that jokes made by straight, white, male hosts somehow apply to everyone, and are accepted even though not everyone is white.

“I think there might be more diversity in Hollywood [now that Singh is a late night host]because almost all of the actors are white, straight, and mainly male. Hopefully, there will be more female representation and people of color who will get more gigs and opportunities,” Prasanna remarked.

What many people overlook is all the work that goes into the show. A Little Late is actually produced by Universal Television, Irwin Productions, and Unicorn Island Entertainment. Unicorn Island Entertainment was launched in April 2018 by Lily Singh, and Polly Auritt, the former head of original programming at Mashable Studios. The mere feat of having a late-night show produced by one’s own production company is a huge deal.

“A Little Late with Lilly Singh” is often associated with the idea of being a “bisexual woman of color,” and many may see this as Singh associating herself with identity politics, associating ones self with a cultural, ethnic, or social idenity based group for the sake of promotion, to market her show. Although this may be part of it, there is a more immense significance behind this phrase. 

“Sure, she comes from YouTube, and it isn’t very credible…but I still say she has a pretty good shot, and YouTube is one of the biggest social media platforms,” Prasanna pointed out.

Even if her show doesn’t last longer than a season or two, the significance is the pathway she is paving for others. Such an act is comparable to how Mindy Kaling paved a road for women of color in movies and television with feats such as The Mindy Project. Singh still holds a valuable fanbase from her Youtube channel, and already holds the attention of billions of teens and young individuals. 

Personally, as someone who is a woman of color, Singh is someone I look up to. Seeing someone on primetime television who is doing things her own way and running her own show is rather inspiring. In the current polarizing political climate where it is nearly impossible to have a civil conversation, seeing Singh grow and evolve gives me hope for societal change. Her show does not have to be loved by everyone; it merely has to be acknowledged and respected.