talent

Need a Quick Dose of Inspiration?

Then take a look at this entertaining short video, “5 Minutes of Epic Motivation!

The video is by Lilly Singh, aka IISuperwomanII, a funny YouTube sensation who posts videos on a variety of topics ranging from “Annoying People on the Phone” to “Types of Parents.” Her delivery is very engaging and addictive; I find myself stopping to watch a particular video, then find I’ve watched 8 more in a row before I realize it!

She is a drug, I tell you. In a good way, though.

I’ve been watching her work for almost 2 years now, after having been told about her by my best friend who liked her work. (Does saying “best friend” make me sound like a ten-year-old girl? Well, I’m not; and I’m sorry, but she is my best friend, and I will refer to her as such even when we’re both 100!)

Anyway, Lilly/IISuperwomanII is very talented, and I think her popularity will only keep growing exponentially. I can picture her one day doing mainstream comedy shows or movies, if she wants; her talent is mix of a lot of great entertainers from our time. I think she’s similar in some ways to the following celebrities:

  • Will Smith — I always marveled at his ease delivering funny lines and acting so naturally when he was on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (who didn’t love that show?). Plus he’s a talented musician and dancer as well, and Lilly is too. And they both have an edgy, fun vibe.
  • Tina Fey — particularly in her role as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, Tina was great at portraying a likable, real woman, oddities and all. Lilly does this too, making fun of herself often and openly sharing her pet peeves and other quirks.
  • Tyler Perry and Eddie Murphy — I actually like Lilly’s work more than Tyler’s or Eddie’s, but I’m referring to their versatility playing different comedic characters; Lilly also plays multiple parts in her videos, even the male roles — and it’s amusing!
  • Oprah and Queen Latifah — in terms of their positivity, warmth and ability to uplift others and yet come off “cool” at the same time.

What Lilly brings to the table that many other entertainers in the mainstream don’t, however, is a certain world sensibility and cultural awareness. Since she’s Indian, her jokes often relate to Indian culture, which is refreshing to see since I feel we don’t see enough of that in the media. Overall, we still have a long way to go in terms of seeing the wide range of people and cultures that exist in the world being portrayed in our entertainment. And she doesn’t just focus on Indian culture, but will also throw in impressions and observations from other backgrounds — I think she brings a global approach to her comedy that is so sorely needed!

I also like how she’s willing to look and act silly whenever necessary. Although she’s a pretty woman, she’s not afraid to make herself look like a hairy man or a nerd, making zany facial expressions throughout. She also adds to her humor by wearing unusual shirts in her videos (check out the Simpsons shirt she’s wearing in that “Types of Parents” video!). Usually, I wouldn’t like this approach because I’d see it as gimmicky, but with her it really works — in fact, she actually somehow makes the odd things she wears seem funny and cool! Like if I wore it, people would laugh, in a bad way — but when she wears it, I can see people thinking, “What a crazy shirt! Where can I get it?”

I feel like too many female comedians are either one extreme or the other; the pretty girl trying to appeal to the male audience, or the I-don’t-give-a-crap-at-all girl. Lilly manages to strike the right balance between caring how she looks yet being willing to look hilariously weird, and does so in such a way that I think her comedy appeals equally to men and women. In fact, this quality makes me realize I should have added someone else to the list above in terms of the celebrities Lilly reminds me of: Lucille Ball. Lucy was a pioneer for women in comedy, and although she was attractive and dressed nicely on the I Love Lucy show, she also didn’t hesitate to look zany, like when she’d dress up like a man (often to try to infiltrate Desi’s show), get messy (like in the famous episode where she’s stuffing chocolates in her mouth on the job since she can’t keep up with the conveyor belt), or portray being drunk (like when she didn’t realize that a medicine she was drinking for a commercial had alcohol in it). These were things that women weren’t seen doing on TV at the time, so it was especially groundbreaking. (I love those reruns; even though they’re from way before my time, I feel like they’re still funny today.)

So if I were in any position to offer Lilly a starring role on a sitcom or in a movie, I would. I could just picture telling her, “Now look here, see…kid, you’ve got it! I’m gonna make you a star! Your name’s gonna be in lights, kid!” with a cigar dangling out of my mustached mouth, as we chat in my office overlooking the Hollywood sign. (Not sure why I picture myself that way in this scenario, as I am neither a man nor a smoker nor a resident of California in what sounds like the 1940s, but I digress.)

Not that she needs anyone’s help, really. She’s come very far on her own and I know she’ll go even further. And she deserves it! So if you haven’t seen her work yet, check it out — her YouTube channel with access to all her videos and more information can be found here. Enjoy!

Great U2 Performance

Did you catch U2 on Jimmy Fallon a few months back? I happened to, and I found their performance to be so good that it’s actually stuck with me ever since. I was surprised, because although I’ve liked some of U2’s songs over the years, I’ve never closely followed them — now, though, I could imagine myself going to one of their concerts.

What made the performance stand out so much was how it was done in such a natural, real way, without the smoke and mirrors we usually see in music today, including live performances. But with them here, there are no major special effects — just raw talent.

I found their approach so refreshing and positive, including how they stayed by Jimmy Fallon versus standing in the stage area — that made it feel so much more intimate, like how it might feel if you got to be with them during a songwriting session. Their delivery was more about the song and not so much about them; a humble approach to music that is, sadly, very rare today in my opinion. At least among well-known artists, anyway.

They also genuinely seemed to enjoy the company of each other, Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show band The Roots, and the audience. The whole thing seemed kind of…uplifting to me, if that makes sense!

Anyway, here’s the performance — I wanted to share it in case people missed it, or just want to see it again (like me!):

Great, no?!