"You are the one that makes the rules," Johnson told her.
When Lilly Singh debuts her late-night show A Little Late with Lilly Singh in the fall, she’ll become the first South Asian late-night host and the first woman to host a late-night network TV show in more than 30 years.
That’s a lot of pressure. So understandably, Singh sought advice from none other than international superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
“He’s the smartest person in the world,” Singh told Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj in a video released Monday.
Singh, who currently boasts nearly 15 million subscribers on her main YouTube channel, has worked with the actor and former WWE channel on a number of projects, such as his Seven Bucks Moment series. She said she told Johnson she was afraid that her hosting gig would limit her from pursuing other things.
“He said, ‘Listen, I was a wrestler. Then I became a movie star,'” Singh recounted. “‘Then I did TV, now I produce. If you want to do all of those things, then you will define that, and you are the one that makes the rules.”
Looks like the Get Smart actor is pretty sage in real life.
Minhaj, who hosts his own political comedy series on Netflix, also revealed what advice — or lack thereof — his former boss Jon Stewart doled out.
“He would basically just ask me questions of like, ‘What are you interested in?’ or ‘Why does that bug you?'” Minhaj said. “But he would never give me specific advice. And the note of having no note was the best note. You’re going to be you.
“Stephen is going to be Stephen,” Minhaj continued. “Oliver is going to be Oliver. Everyone is going to do their own version of who they are.”
Past Daily Show correspondents like Minhaj, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver have gone on to achieve greater success and host their own late-night shows (or two), so Stewart’s non-advice certainly paid off.
Singh also gave viewers a glimpse at what they can expect from her upcoming series. First, “lots of social commentary,” the Indian-Canadian entertainer said. On and off her channel, Singh has discussed serious topics like mental health, women’s issues, and sexuality (she’s the first openly bisexual woman to host a late-night TV show on broadcast).
Other things we learned: she’s going to have a desk (“I only want to look good from [waist up],” Singh joked), she only has a “loose idea” of the format so far, and she wants to “change up the monologue game.”
A Little Late with Lilly Singh debuts Sept. 16 on NBC.