Variety brought Trevor Noah and Lily Singh together for discussing about the difficulty of producing a late-night show during the pandemic.
Trevor and Lilly have been studying each other by the way of their work. While Lily is making content on Youtube right now, Trevor hosts Comedy Central’s ‘Daily Show’ from home. Trevor keeps an eye on Lilly’s Youtube videos while she claims to study the way he handles talking about politics and national issues.
Answering how they deal with scrutiny as both of them have late-night shows, Trevor revealed that his first year was horrible. He said that his first two years were terrible as he took over Jon Stewart, who handed the show to him. Trevor reveals everybody told him he should not be doing this job and made him feel unworthy. And the worst part is that Trevor used to believe them.
He further said in the first year he was just trying to find his footing and not get canceled. Trevor explained it with an analogy he uses. He said it was like learning to fly a plane while it’s flying. The host said that it how it felt like every day. He revealed how he never thought of the obstacles before of how he had to be different, how he was from another country. Trevor revealed that one of the biggest things he took for granted was that he looks different as well.
He further explains that people were used to a certain face and now they had to see him which they are not used to. Trevor explained that the first year was not the happiest but one thing his mom said to him always made him feel better. She said, “You don’t get stronger unless you struggle.”
Lilly agreed with Trevor and said his analogy was perfect and she feels selfishly a little better hearing he also had a tough year initially. She revealed what Trevor had told her once before starting her show saying, “Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not going to consume your life, because it’s going to consume your life”.
Lilly said he was the only person bold enough to say that to her and agreed with Trevor about not realizing the obstacles. She said there are so many obstacles she did not think about so looking different and being different was not easy.
Explaining the scrutiny she said, ‘You’re talking about your skin color too much. You’re talking about your sexuality too much.’ Lilly further admits that it is challenging as you have to be authentically you but people are not used to that.
Talking about representation, Trevor said he was never angry about it. He reveals he would not want to live in a world with no white late-night hosts. The host said he wants a world where there will be more late-night hosts.
On the other hand, Lilly said that she wants shows which can represent other people. She gave an example saying if she has a story about an Indian girl, they say we already have Mindy Kaling’s ‘Never Have I Ever’, so why again. Lilly says just because there is a show about a brown person, it does not mean there can’t be other stories.
During the pandemic, Noah says audiences are less worried about what they see on TV and more concerned about the world they are living in. He further talks about how he grew up in a political country.
From the time he has started stand-up he is talking about American politics which he feels is being himself. He said that is exactly what his show is about too and he does not feel stressed about coming up with political comedy because he has been doing that for a long time.
Trevor thinks people are looking for clarification from his show, about what everything means. He further says that is what he wants and people want. The host also says that we live in a world were nobody agrees with a fact and people live in different realities, which creates uncertainty.
Lilly says how comedy is like an escape and it acts as a good vehicle to talk about difficult things. She says people put down their defense mechanisms and right now it is a unique, difficult time for everybody. Lilly feels like the desire to escape is not there anymore as people used to turn to comedy to escape things.
The YouTuber turned late-night host admits that it was a struggle because she is trying to figure it out. She explains she was in a world everyone has a desk and they do things in a certain way. Lilly assures that as the show progresses, her goal is to be more herself than she was before.
On being asked if it is tough to be funny these times, Trevor said that he is trying to find a balance. He explains with an example saying if there is too much sugar, your body will tell you and if you have too much fiber, it is still going to tell you. Trevor said, “What I think audiences are going to be looking for is content that connects, whether it is funny or whether it is informative.”
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