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Late night host Lilly Singh apologizes for turban joke

Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0).

YouTuber Lilly Singh kicked off her new late-night talk show just a couple weeks ago, but she’s already under fire after a controversial joke in which she compared turbans to bath towels, reports Entertainment Weekly.

Singh recently featured guest Jessica Alba on A Little Late With Lilly Singh, when Alba was discussing a house visit during which Singh encountered Alba’s two young kids.

“They’re really good at being cool, especially with people that they geek out over like you,” Alba explained to Singh, according to People. “They’re trying to be cool about it. I was like, ‘Lilly’s downstairs,’ and they’re like, ‘Lilly’s downstairs?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, come say hi.’ They wear the towels, the turbie twists, so they like look super not cool in the turbie twists but it dries their hair really quickly, so it’s very practical.”

“They look like my Punjabi friends,” said Singh. “It’s fine.”

People took to social media to respond to the comment:


Singh posted the following apology to Twitter on Friday: 

“This was the first episode of the show I ever taped and I was very nervous, doing improv that wasn’t well thought out,” part of the apology reads. “I’m incredibly sorry to those I hurt with that comparison.

“I don’t wear a turban and I haven’t lived that experience and so I really value people giving perspective. I’m grateful that this was a teachable moment instead of another opportunity to divide and attack.”

The apology was accompanied by a second Tweet containing an educational comedy sketch on turbans:

The Canada-born comedian was raised in a Sikh household to parents who immigrated from Punjab, India. According to NBC News, Singh is the first openly LGBTQIA+ person and the first woman of color to host an American major network late-night show. Singh identifies as bisexual.

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