Toronto’s Lilly Singh bring­ing YouTube act to Just For Laughs stage

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - BILL BRIOUX

MON­TREAL — Lilly Singh bills her­self as “Su­per­woman,” but she’s adored by fans as the girl next door.

The YouTube phe­nom­e­non’s twice-weekly videos have been screened two bil­lion times and some 12 mil­lion peo­ple sub­scribe to her YouTube chan­nel. Forbes re­ports that Singh is one of the big­gest earn­ers on the pop­u­lar stream­ing ser­vice. Not bad for a 28-yearold woman from Toronto.

The for­mer psy­chol­ogy stu­dent’s life is one big YouTube doc­u­men­tary. She deals with real is­sues such as cul­tural di­ver­sity and girl-on-girl hate, as well as goof­ing on club­bing and “An­noy­ing Peo­ple i n Pub­lic Wash­rooms.”

But can a girl from the dig­i­tal side of the com­edy di­vide make it as a main­stream star?

Singh, who moved to Los An­ge­les a yearand-a-half ago, is liv­ing that dream right now.

Ear­lier this year, she re­leased the best­selling ad­vice guide “How to be a Bawse.” She’s un­der­taken two world tours, in­clud­ing stops in her fam­ily’s home­land of In­dia. Next week, she starts shoot­ing in Toronto on the HBO fea­ture “Fahren­heit 451,” based on the Ray Brad­bury sci-fi clas­sic.

This Sun­day, she’ll head­line her first live gala in Mon­treal at the Just for Laughs Com­edy Fes­ti­val, a per­for­mance that will also be seen this sea­son on Com­edy Net­work’s “JFL: All Ac­cess.”

At this year’s fes­ti­val, Singh finds her­self among such in­dus­try heavy­weights as Jerry Se­in­feld, Judd Apa­tow, Trevor Noah, Ali Wong, Howie Mandel, Mark Critch and Rick Mer­cer.

“I’m thrilled to be head­ing home, play­ing in Canada,” she says on the phone from L.A. “I def­i­nitely want to cap­ture what­ever peo­ple love about my videos and bring it to the stage.”

Her chal­lenge will be bring­ing the many char­ac­ters she plays — adding wigs and makeup to trans­form into her par­ents and oth­ers — to the live stage.

“We may have to set up a few video screens,” she says.

Trans­planted to Cal­i­for­nia, Singh has found that “there are just so many more pos­si­bil­i­ties when it comes to tra­di­tional space and dig­i­tal space merg­ing to­gether. Hol­ly­wood is a place where you re­ally can ac­tu­ally make your own path.”

In the past year, she did a cameo in the fea­ture film “Bad Moms” and, as a “dig­i­tal in­flu­encer,” lined up pro­mo­tional deals from ad­ver­tis­ers such as Coca-Cola.

Lilly Singh

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