by Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff
The last time a woman hosted a late night show on network television was in 2000. Late night television is changing with the recent debut of A Little Late with Lilly Singh scheduled to premiere on Sept. 16. It has sparked a discussion of female and minority representation in this arena. Taking Carson Daly’s slot, Singh will now be in the spotlight more than ever. However, she faces competition from the likes of Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers.
NBC, the network that airs A Little Late with Lilly Singh, asserts that “the multi-faceted star’s debut in the late-night landscape is especially noteworthy as she’s a Canadian woman of Indian descent, combining a fresh take on the day’s events, pop culture, diversity, and life.” Singh has always been transparent about her background and proudly embraces it. Her parents moved from India to Ontario, Canada, where she grew up. She then relocated to Los Angeles several years ago to further her career.
Singh is best known for her successful YouTube channel, IISuperwomanII, where she publishes comedic videos, often posing as characters including fictional representations of her mother and father, and videos where she reflects on her personal life. Although she has amassed significant praise and success, the transition from vlogging her daily life to the more traditional nature associated with hosting a late-night television show poses some difficulties.
Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair writes, “The linear ratings for the premiere episode were on par with the end of Carson Daly’s show, which is good enough news, while a Wednesday night prime time special meant to boost the show’s profile did not seem to get much traction. But those numbers aren’t exactly what NBC will use to determine whether A Little Late is a success.” The first week of the show featured celebrities such as Mindy Kaling, Keenan Thompson, and Chelsea Handler.
In fact, Singh’s YouTube background may pose positive influence down the line. As fans who grew up watching her videos are growing older, they may turn to A Little Late in order to gain further insight from her. Nonetheless, this younger group must decide whether they want to turn back towards the traditional television structure in an era of YouTube and streaming popularity.
Furthermore, Singh’s purpose in creating new content has never been limited to comedy. Rather, she has been a proponent of diversity and inclusivity throughout her career, and this will certainly transfer over into A Little Late. Additionally, she has openly discussed sensitive topics such as mental illness, experiences of growing up, and sexuality.
“I feel lucky to be in this position. I’m a minority in many, many ways, and I want to make sure that anyone, no matter where they are in the world, can relate and feel represented,” Singh told Marie Claire in a recent interview. The main takeaway from Singh’s debut of A Little Late is that the landscape of entertainment is changing constantly, paving the way for different opinions and personalities.