Little Late With Lilly Singh Ends Run: Beacon For Representation

On May 6, the Team Super fanbase was wrought with conflicting emotions of sadness and joy at the same time. Why, you ask?

YouTube sensation Lilly Singh announced the end of her late-night show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh. While hardcore Unicorns (Singh’s fanbase) shed tears, thousands came forward to express their gratitude for the talk show.

The show, which used to air on NBC at the 1:30 AM ET slot, will conclude its second season on June 3. Airing after Tonight with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers, it replaced the nearly two-decade run of Last Call with Carson Daly in 2019. The show received the green light for the run-up to its pilot season quite late, courtesy of the pandemic. Season 2 began airing only in January 2021 despite its predecessor ending in early May 2020, which is quite a significant gap in the talk-show world.

In her Instagram post announcing the decision, Singh writes, “I’m going to focus on the slate of projects my company Unicorn Island Productions is developing, and we’re saying good-bye to A Little Late with Lilly Singh,” She adds, “I have a desire to make longer-form content telling underrepresented stories, which is difficult to execute on a nightly show.”

Singh doesn’t have much time to linger on the fond memories as she’s already stepping onto the next thing. So, what’s next on the cards for the star? Singh already has a first-look deal between NBC’s Universal Television Alternative Studio and her own production house, Unicorn Island Productions, lined up. With this new venture, Singh hopes to bring “even more diversity to screen in an even bigger way.”

But that’s not all! Singh has more up her sleeve. She landed herself a comedy project at the streaming giant, Netflix, foraying deeper into her passion for comedy. The project will be executive produced by Kenya Barris and a writing team of Nell Scovell and Diya Mishra, starring Singh. The fans were exuberant with joy for these exciting new projects, pouring in hearty congratulations.

Singh has always been a vocal endorser of bringing more representation to the media we consume. A Little Late with Lilly Singh was a pioneering breakthrough, having the first woman, one of colour, at that, piercing the bubble of a white-male-dominated industry. Her Indian descent, Canadian culture, and her identification as bisexual all single her out as the beacon for intersectional representation on television.

In an interview with Glamour, Singh says, “It’s historic to have a woman hosting late-night. And the headlines with ‘first Indian’ or ‘first openly bisexual’ are positive because a kid might go, ‘I relate to her!'” With all these labels attached to Singh, it’s only natural that she felt the pressure of representing them well. “I had to do two jobs. People said, ‘A billion people are counting on you.'”

Singh keenly felt the pressure of moderating how much she spoke about these identities that set her apart. “I had to represent all these people,” she says. “At the same time, I felt the pressure of ‘Don’t make this just about being Indian or part of the LGBTQ community.’ I thought, ‘Be a proud Indian, but don’t talk about being Indian too much.'”

And her fears weren’t unfounded. Singh was the target of many internet trolls who criticised her for falling back on these topics too often. “I wasn’t anticipating it,” she confesses. “I’m used to just being myself, and I think I lost that a little. There were monologues where I didn’t talk about my parents or coming out because [some viewers] have a check marker for how many times I’m bringing that up.”

With the advent and learning curve of the first season, Singh realised that mistakes were bound to happen. She took away the valuable lesson of not berating herself over the small things and be as authentic to herself as she could. Singh’s intent to further representation went beyond her own identity and what she spoke on air. The pilot episode of the late-night show featured a musical skit where she rapped,

“My writers’ room look like a mini United Nations;
More than 50 percent women
and people of all races;
And that’s not because I had to;
It’s because I could”

Singh applauded this endeavour in her sign-off post, too, writing, “And to the Late with Lilly crew, I’m so proud of the progress we made in diversifying late night. We’ve given 21 people their late-night debut this season. That’s pretty incredible and it’s been a true honor.” Lilly Singh has undoubtedly made enormous strides in cutting the clutter of the late-night scene by starting much-needed conversations about the diverse identities that the world is witnessing today. Her newest ventures will seek to bring these conversations to even large audiences in the hopes of giving a voice to many more underrepresented communities in mainstream media.

Aayushmita Bhattacharjee

A voracious reader and writer, I aspire to be a feature journalist. I am absolutely enamoured by stories and the art of storytelling and wish to write my own someday. When I'm not reading, you can find me listening and singing along to Taylor Swift, drawing or watching anime.

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