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