With Bad People in theaters, we can finally say what a lot of people on the internet are thinking: Yes, Mr Wolf is hot. The charismatic thief leads a band of villains made up of dangerous animals, and there’s just something about his arrogance that goes along with other animated hounds like ZootopiaNick Wilde and Disney’s scheming villain leader Robin Hood. Thankfully, comedian and YouTuber Lilly Singh agrees on this.
“Mr. Wolf is kind of Dad, I see it now,” Singh told Polygon. “I never thought about that. But will I slide in the DM? I think I will do it? I thought I would. So I think Mr Wolf is a bit sexy. I think animals have swag, like, someone I think is a fly. So yes, I saw all of that. I’m not mad at the internet for this one.”
And as someone who is very familiar with how internet fandom works, Singh’s sense of the ever-changing taste of online has years of experience to back it up. Singh, who voices reporter Tiffany Fluffit on Bad People (one of the few humans in a mostly animal cast), started his career on YouTube in 2010, sketching parodies and comedy skits. In 2016, he was third on Forbes’ list of highest-paid YouTubers. His career took off from there, and he headlined an NBC talk show from 2019 to 2021.
Bad People not Singh’s first film or voice-over role — previously, he voiced a few little unicorns in Ice Age: Collision Course and a deer in Sky Cinema Riverdance: Animated Adventure. But he’s still used to the contrast between creating content for the internet and doing voiceover work for a film. For one thing, he says it’s fun to see all the separate pieces he puts into a project come together in someone else’s finished work, especially when he’s so used to recording himself. But he still grapples with waiting to see the finished product.
“I made a big project that took three days to shoot and now my editor is editing it, and it will be released in the next two days,” he explained. “I can do something in a day or a week, and then I get instant, instant feedback. I have voiced for this movie [The Bad Guys] for the last three years, and it’s out now. So I think the patience to learn this new process is really hard for me, but it’s a good skill to have.”
The YouTube space has changed dramatically in the 12 years since Singh posted his first video. Today, creators and influencers are everywhere, flooding social media. It’s easy to forget that at one time, more than a decade ago, making a living with YouTube was a whole new idea. Singh is excited to see how much YouTube has changed.
“I think now it’s much more indisputable,” he said. “When I started in 2010, a lot of people, including my friends and family, were like, What’s your occupation? Are you making money? How can you? How can you make a living? I even questioned all of that.
“I think now that the digital space is something you can’t deny its power, you can’t deny its longevity, you can’t deny its influence. I think now people are really taking the space seriously, and know that this is a business. When I started, of course, it was someone creating and expressing themselves, but people didn’t really think of it as a business. Now without a doubt, you can say that people are making it online, they are business owners, and they definitely own a business. So that makes me very happy.”
As for his voice acting career, Singh is delighted to be a part of Bad People, which he says is unlike anything he’s seen in animation before: an action-packed heist that might upset the talking animal canon. And if he gets a chance to voice the animal he chooses, Singh has some thoughts.
“I feel like an animal that goes along with [being] mistaken for a lion,” he laughed. “I also just thought I’d make a pretty cool lion. This is really a selfish answer. I just want to be a lion.”
Bad People is in theaters now.