THE EVOLUTION OF LILLY
YouTuber Lilly Singh Makes History as TV’s First Openly Bisexual Late-Night Host
The popular YouTuber will replace Carson Daly as a host in NBC’s late-night lineup.
When Lilly Singh finally addressed her return from a social media hiatus in January, she announced some changes. Instead of her biweekly YouTube videos, she’d now upload only sporadically to her hugely popular “IISuperwomanII” channel in order to focus on her promising new production company Unicorn Island. She’d just come back from a two-month break, spurred by content-generating burnout. But as is her signature, she ended the video with a positive sendoff: “This is the evolution of Lilly, and I’m really stoked about it.”
What she didn’t mention was that the evolution of Lilly would soon see her becoming a barrier-breaking late-night host. Singh is taking over for Carson Daly as the host of NBC’s third late-night show, formerly known as Last Call With Carson Daly. She made the announcement Thursday night on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, announcing that A Little Late with Lilly Singh will premiere sometime in the fall. Seth Meyers later made a surprise visit to toast Singh as the newest addition to NBC’s late-night trio.
“An Indian-Canadian woman with her own late night show? Now that’s a dream come true,” Singh told NBC News. “I’m thrilled to bring it to life on NBC, and I hope my parents consider this as exciting as a grandchild.”
Singh makes history as the first openly bisexual (she came out last month) and first Indian-Canadian host of a network late-night show. During her announcement, she shouted out the women “who [came] before me and are currently in the space because I couldn’t have done it without them paving the path.” There are only two women currently in the late-night space: Samantha Bee on TBS and Busy Phillips on E!. Phillips responded on Twitter with six hand-clap emojis and the word, “YESSSSSSS.”
Among the six network late-night hosts, Singh is the only woman. She’s preceded by Joan Rivers, who hosted Fox’s The Late Show from 1986 to 1988 after being passed up by NBC as a possible The Tonight Show successor to Johnny Carson. Cynthia Garrett became the first woman of color host on network TV when she spent a year in 2000 hosting Later, which later became Last Call with Carson Daly. Wanda Sykes also hosted the Wanda Sykes Show during the 2009-2010 season on Fox.
For A Little Late, Singh is planning to mimic the off-the-wall style content of her YouTube channel, which frequently features spoofs and interviews. “I get to make it inclusive. I get to create comedy segments and interview people and really create something I believe in, she told Fallon. “But now I have more than three staff members, and my sound guy won’t be an extra and won’t write the script. It’s nice.”
If A Little Late lasts longer a season, Singh would be the first YouTube personality to successfully make the jump from YouTuber to talk show host. Her pal Grace Helbig preceded Busy Phillips on E! with her eponymous late-night show for two months in 2015, while Tyler Oakley hosted his own talk show on Ellen Degeneres’ digital platform Ellentube in 2016.
Singh is a multi-hyphenate talent who has done a little bit of everything in Hollywood. Last year, Singh played a tabloid blogger in HBO’s adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 and released a self-help memoir titled How to Be a Bawse in 2017. She was also one of the many women to appear in Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” music video and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.