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Ask Lilly Singh, the YouTube star and host of the new “A Little Late With Lilly Singh” on NBC, about her writers room and her voice lifts, her sentences blend together and her excitement is apparent.
“It was very important for me to have an inclusive writers room — not because I had to, but because I could,” Singh told NBC News NOW. “I genuinely think it’s so important, because not only will you get my point of view on camera now, you’ll get the point of view of my writers.”
And that includes a group that’s more than 50 percent women and 50 percent people of color, all from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, she said.
In the weeks leading up to Monday night’s premiere (at 1:35 a.m. ET), Singh has collected accolades for becoming the first woman of color and openly bisexual host of a network late-night talk show.
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But unlike with her YouTube channel “IISuperwomanII,” which made her one of the highest-paid female stars on the platform, Singh isn’t doing it alone this time around. More than 100 people are working on the show, and new people introduce themselves to her every day, she said.
That’s a boon particularly when it comes to her writers room, Singh said.
“I tell them my point of view on something and they go, ‘Oh, that’s interesting because growing up, X, Y, Z.’ And I’m like: ‘That’s so cool! We should talk about that,’” she said. “I feel like that’s what storytelling should be. It should be representative of the actual real world.”
While she said not enough people ask her about her writers room, one question Singh hopes to help eliminate is what it’s like being the first woman to take on the role.
“I’m one piece of this puzzle, but women before me have done such amazing things and the women after me will do such amazing things and I wish it was viewed more collectively in that way,” she said. “Hopefully paving the path on having more women on screen and more women of color on screen will make that question nonexistent anymore.”
Singh started “IISuperwomanII” on YouTube in 2010 and over the course of nine years earned nearly 15 million followers with a blend of characters and sketch comedy. She plans on bringing new characters to “A Little Late” but will also continue to do what she’s best at: being herself.
“I didn’t become very successful until I truly started to embrace all of my imperfections,” Singh said. She’ll also follow the groundwork laid by “IISuperwomanII” in steering clear of political issues but continuing to use humor to highlight social issues important to her.
“For example, if there’s a policy that affects women’s bodies, sure, I will talk about the experience of being a woman," Singh said, "but I have no desire to talk about specific candidates or specific politics."
The Toronto native, whose parents are from Punjab, India, also said she’s going to make jokes related to her heritage that won’t necessarily be universal. That’s just one of the new qualities she hopes to add to the late-night talk show lineup.
“I’m still so weird. I’m so weird,” Singh said happily. “You’ll see it in the first episode: I’m weird.”