Although she got her start on The Daily Show, Jessica Williams isn’t necessarily interested in taking over the newly vacant host position. In an interview with People, Williams said that she has no interest in succeeding Trevor Noah as host of The Daily Show: “I’m really happy with where my career is going.”
Williams’s career in Hollywood began in 2012 when she became the first Black woman correspondent on The Daily Show at age 22 while still attending California State University Long Beach and living at home with her parents. Williams quickly established herself as a presence on the show, going toe-to-toe with host Jon Stewart while honing her sharp voice and excellent comedic timing in segments about everything from Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime performance to police assaulting Black teenagers.
“Ever since my first day at The Daily Show, my life changed and my trajectory changed,” Williams told People. “I learned so much about myself. Being on The Daily Show was like finishing college, because I never finished college. And I learned a lot by watching the writers work together [and] watching Jon Stewart.”
Since leaving The Daily Show in 2016, Williams has enjoyed a career befitting her multihyphenate talents, serving as cohost of the popular podcast 2 Dope Queens alongside Phoebe Robinson, starring in films such as Netflix’s The Incredible Jessica James and sequels in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and taking on roles in television shows including Love Life and the forthcoming Shrinking on Apple TV+. Right now it seems like acting is Williams’s main focus.
“I really, really love acting,” she said. “There’s something really special about it. I light up doing it and feel like I’m mining my own personal life and experiences and world on camera. And doing that in a scripted way is really fun. It feels almost like, in between action and cut, I just get to escape and go to a different world and just play this game and be present on set.”
The Daily Show returned in January with a series of rotating guest hosts, kicking off the year with Leslie Jones and Wanda Sykes. Comedians D.L. Hughley, Sarah Silverman, and Chelsea Handler will all be taking turns behind the Daily Show desk as Comedy Central’s flagship late-night program begins the search for a new permanent host. While it’s unclear who will take over for Noah, you can cross Williams’s name off the list.