A Formerly 'Super-Sheltered' Comedian Arrives on Late Night

Taylor Tomlinson talks overcoming introversion to break barriers as female host
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2024 7:43 AM CST
A Formerly 'Super-Sheltered' Comedian Arrives on Late Night
Taylor Tomlinson arrives at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, at the Peacock Theatre in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

One week ago, Taylor Tomlinson didn't even have a set for her new CBS late-night show. "Nothing's done yet," the 30-year-old stand-up comedian, about to become the sole female host of a late-night show, told CBS News. "Everyone's, like, asking me. I'm like, 'I don't know yet. We're working on it.'" But preparations aren't what has Tomlinson most nervous about After Midnight, premiering Tuesday (technically Wednesday) at 12:30am, following The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "I am naturally very introverted," Tomlinson told CBS. "The social aspect of it and how many people I'm gonna be interacting with and, like, being 'on' in that way ... that is a skill that doesn't come to me naturally."

But then Tomlinson is known for finding comedy in the painful and awkward, including her diagnosis with bipolar disorder and losing her mother to cancer at the age of 8. "I'm so glad I know that I'm bipolar now. I mean, I have the right meds. I got a mood ring. I'm handling it," she joked in her 2022 Netflix special Look At You. "But when I first found out, it was a very tough pill to swallow—and I've swallowed a lot of pills!" She also joked about telling people her parents were separated to avoid hard discussions. "And that worked very well until recently a friend of mine found out I had lied and she was very upset. She was like, "Your mom's dead? Taylor, you told me your parents were separated.' And I was like, 'Well they were ... by Jesus.'"

Speaking of Jesus, Tomlinson grew up "super-sheltered and very Christian," she told CBS. "I didn't even really know what standup was until, like, middle school." She first started performing stand-up comedy at her church. She's evolved a lot since then, but "all my jokes have always been really rooted in my real life," she said. More jokes are coming in Tomlinson's third Netflix special, Have It All, premiering Feb. 13, and this week on After Midnight. A game show inspired by @midnight, it will be "television's equivalent of comfort food," with guests "riffing" on news from the internet, per CBS. Its first episode will welcome comedian guests Whitney Cummings, Aparna Nancherla, and Kurt Braunohler, per Deadline. "It's just hanging out with my friends," Tomlinson tells ET. "It's such a good time." (More late night talk show stories.)

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