“Hello, my name is Lilly, and I ain’t a white man.” That’s how comedian and YouTube star Lilly Singh introduced herself on Monday night during the premiere of A Little Late With Lilly Singh, setting the tone for much of what was to come.
Singh kicked things off with a skit-turned-rap video that also functions as something of a thesis statement for the new show, which fills the 1:35 a.m. ET time slot previously held by Carson Daly. The lyrics highlight the qualities that make Singh—a bisexual woman of color—unique among other late-night hosts. “I know you’re used to only Jimmys in the spotlight/ But I’mma throw some melanin up in your late night,” she raps. “I’m about to spice up your life, so if you want to be my lover/ I put B in LGBT, I’ll take Sansa and her brother.” Singh also voices her support for parental leave, encourages breastfeeding in the workplace, and notes that her writers room is made up of more than 50 percent women.
The frank focus on race and gender continued throughout the show as two stars from The Office joined Singh for her inaugural episode. First, Mindy Kaling—appropriately, the writer and star of Late Night—talked about what it would’ve meant to her as a child to see an Indian woman hosting a late-night talk show and imagined her daughter watching the show in 20 years. Singh returned the compliment, telling Kaling, “I think I speak on many people’s behalf when I say that’s how we feel about you. You paved the path for so many people like me.”
Kaling says that The Office has also made her popular with some unexpected demographics, including “15-year-old white boys” who recognize her at the airport, to her surprise. Singh asked Kaling for an update on what the characters from The Office would be doing in 2019. “Seeing Michael Scott dab is one of my favorites, ’cause I feel like he would do it all the time,” Kaling said. “And also, Michael Scott on Instagram, and the thirsty comments he would leave on celebrities’ pages.”
Kaling’s former co-star Rainn Wilson also dropped in to give Singh a “white noise” machine, but not the kind that imitates a fan or the sound of rainfall.