There’s no TV format that screams “America will never change” quite like late night shows. Huge swaths of the country settle down nightly with mostly straight white men who tell us how to process a crazy day of news, each show with practically the same format and set design. But now, Lilly Singh, a bisexual Indian Canadian YouTuber, is breaking barriers as NBC’s new late night host. And she has everyone from Kehlani to Nick Jonas rooting for her.
She dropped the announcement on the Tonight Show on Thursday night , telling Jimmy Fallon that her new show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh, will be replacing Last Call with Carson Daly starting in September. That makes her the only woman hosting a late night show on a major network, and the only woman of color hosting a major late night show on television. She’ll also be executive producing the show alongside her friend Polly Auritt, who heads her production company Unicorn Island Productions, Variety reports.
Singh, who rose to fame joking about her Indian parents’ struggle to understand her, told Fallon, “I’m so excited because I truly get to create the show from scratch. I get to make it inclusive. I get to create comedy segments and interview people and really create something I believe in.” She gave a shout out to the women currently in late night, like Samantha Bee, and those before her for “paving a path.” Cynthia Garrett was the first woman of color to host a late night show on NBC’s Later in 1999, and Wanda Sykes was the first lesbian late night host on her self-titled Fox show in 2009. Singh added, “But I do think it’s a little awesome, as an Indian Canadian woman also to be on my own show.”
The show itself sounds like it’ll be a change of pace for an NBC late night show. Singh assured it will retain the off-the-wall comedy she’s perfected on her YouTube channel, which has over 14 million subscribers. Whether she’s joking about the different types of kids in sex ed or immigrant parents’ holiday gifts with comedian Hasan Minhaj, Singh loves to push buttons and keep it awkward. And when she announced that she’s bisexual, it lit up the internet, sparking conversation on queerness in the South East Asian culture.
The announcement was met with excitement not just from Fallon but also Late Night’s Seth Meyers, who came out from backstage on Thursday’s show to pop some champagne and welcome Singh into the late night fold. It’s a step in the right direction for making late night TV a more diverse space, and for audiences to see greater representation.
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