A little while ago, NBC navigated the still-uncharted hinterlands between streaming and network programming by airing new episodes of Peacock’s The Amber Ruffin Show in the Friday rerun slot of NBC’s A Little Late With Lilly Singh. With the two sole woman late-night hosts of color temporarily sharing the a time slot, predictably, certain media types (although not the A.V. Club) positioned that crossover event as a cutthroat competition, because there can only be one female late-night host, right? (Conventional wisdom: woman hosts are like Highlanders, and everybody knows that.)
Except, as Singh noted when welcoming Ruffin to her show on Wednesday, that’s just some more sexist bullshit from an entertainment landscape dotted with it. “I want to have some real sister talk,” noted Singh to the recently renewed Ruffin, who did a little dance in anticipation. (And while we only saw Amber’s head during the segment, it’s because she was appearing on Singh’s show remotely. Not—to repeat, not—because she is a Highlander.) Calling out the narrative that Ruffin’s new episodes being aired instead of Singh’s repeats represented any sort of beef or competition, Singh recalled her unequivocal support for the idea. Indeed, “Yes! I want to support Amber! I love this! I love it, let’s do it!,” is about as definitive as it gets.
Calling the resulting takes on their supposed feud disheartening, Singh asserted, “I thought this was such a beautiful thing, of two women riding or dying for each other,” to which Ruffin agreed, noting of the rumor-mongering, “I thought that was pretty disappointing.” That said, Ruffin did see a few media takes she described more appropriately as, “Aw, man, I frickin’ love these two idiots!,” something fellow late-night (not white, not male, not named Jimmy) host Singh could only agree was a lot more accurate. Ruffin explained how the lack of an audience in this COVID year has given her freer rein to push the weirdness envelope on her show, commiserating with Singh about the terrifying freedom of finally being the boss.
“I wrote this thing where I’m a dinosaur—make it make sense, byeee!,” Ruffin impersonated her process, prompting an excited Singh to pitch some tag-team goofy bits once in-person tag-teaming is back on the table. Ruffin also noted that, with two more women of color, SNL writer Sam Jay and comedian Ziwe Fumudoh, both prepping their own late-night shows (on HBO and Showtime, respectively), the perennially all white guy domain after the local news is about to change even more. “We support each other, and we’re here to see the collective wins,” stressed Singh, before the pair did a little socially distant tandem victory dance.