With The Bad Guys out in theaters, we can finally say what many on the internet are thinking: Yes, Mr. Wolf is hot. The charismatic thief leads a band of criminals made up of dangerous animals, and there’s something about his swagger that falls in line with other animated canine crushes like Zootopia’s Nick Wilde and Disney’s foxy outlaw leader Robin Hood. Luckily, comedian and YouTuber Lilly Singh agrees with this.
“Mr. Wolf is kind of a Daddy, I see that now,” Singh told Polygon. “I’ve never thought about that. But would I slide in the DMs? I think I would? I think I would. So I do think Mr. Wolf is kind of hot. I do think that animals have the swag of, like, someone I would think is fly. So yes, I see all of that. I’m not mad at the internet for this one.”
And as someone intimately familiar with the inner workings of internet fandom, Singh’s feelings about ever-shifting online tastes have years of experience to back them up. Singh, who voices reporter Tiffany Fluffit in The Bad Guys (one of the few humans in the cast of mostly animals), got her start on YouTube in 2010, creating parody sketches and comedic skits. In 2016, she was third on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid YouTubers. Her career took off from there, and she headlined an NBC talk show from 2019 to 2021.
The Bad Guys isn’t Singh’s first film or voice-over role — previously, she voiced some tiny unicorns in Ice Age: Collision Course and a deer in Sky Cinema’s Riverdance: The Animated Adventure. But she’s still getting used to the stark contrast between making content for the internet and doing voice-over work for a movie. For one thing, she says it’s fun to see all the separate pieces she does for a project come together in someone else’s finished work, especially when she’s so used to recording on her own. But she’s still grappling with the wait to see that finished product.
“I shot a massive project that took three days to shoot and now my editors are editing it, and it will be released in the next two days,” she explains. “I can do something in one day or one week, and then I get instant, instant feedback. I’ve been doing the voice-over for this movie [The Bad Guys] for the past three years, and it’s coming out now. So I think the patience of having to learn this new process has been really tough for me, but it’s a good skill to have.”
The YouTube space has changed dramatically in the 12 years since Singh posted her first video. Nowadays, creators and influencers are everywhere, saturating social media. It’s easy to forget that once upon a time, just over a decade ago, making a living with YouTube was a completely new idea. Singh is elated to see just how much YouTube has transformed.
“I think now it’s a lot more undeniable,” she says. “When I started in 2010, a lot of people, including my friends and family, were like, What do you do? Do you make money? How can you? How can you make a living? Even I was questioning all that.
“I think now the digital space is something you can’t deny the power of, you can’t deny the longevity of it, you can’t deny the influence of it. I think now people really do take that space seriously, and know that it is a business. When I started, of course, it was someone creating and expressing themselves, but people didn’t really consider it a business. Now without doubt, you can say that people who create online, they are business owners, and they inevitably have businesses. So that makes me very happy.”
As for her voice-over career, Singh is delighted to be a part of The Bad Guys, which she says is unlike anything she’s seen in animation before: an action-packed heist that might disrupt the talking-animal canon. And if she ever gets a chance to voice an animal of her choosing down the line, Singh has some thoughts.
“I feel like an animal that’s in line with [being] misinterpreted would be a lion,” she laughs. “I also just think I would make a pretty cool lion. This is completely a selfish answer. I just want to be a lion.”
The Bad Guys is in theaters now.