Jessica Williams Talks 'The Daily Show's Transition To Trevor Noah & Summarizes Your Thoughts Exactly
If you're having trouble figuring out how to feel about someone replacing Jon Stewart, Jessica Williams’ thoughts on the new Daily Show are going to be just what the doctor ordered. If anyone out there was expecting Noah and Stewart to be anything alike, Williams quickly dispelled that notion when she spoke to Bustle on Friday. "Oh my god, it’s so different! We’ve only worked with Trevor for a few weeks, so we had to try and figure out how Trevor works, and it’s different from how Jon works. The cool thing is that with Jon it was always very collaborative, but now Trevor’s coming from a totally different perspective. He is a little younger, he’s a little hipper, he’s a little blacker, and he’s taller. So, we’re all just sort of adjusting to his new perspective, his new comedy, and that’s fun.”
When we first got word that Stewart was leaving The Daily Show , to be replaced by relative newcomer Trevor Noah, I felt like I'd been kicked in the gut. And not necessarily because of anything Noah did, but just because I couldn't imagine how anyone could possibly fill Stewart's shoes. But, at the same time, I felt bad saying so because it isn't really fair to Noah. After all, I had 16 seasons to get to know Jon Stewart on the show, and zero to get to know Noah. And, since I'm not that familiar with his stand-up before getting the job, I've tried to keep my nervousness to myself, because I couldn't think of a respectful way to put it out there without casting aspersions on Noah. But, luckily, Jessica Williams is way better than I am at this sort of thing (that's why she gets the big bucks!), and she found the perfect way to express how she was feeling about the new Daily Show during a press conference.
First, she said that the thing she's most excited about next season is the conventions, because, “It’s really intense, we’re all sort of running around and pounding the pavement trying to figure out who we’re going to interview. It’s really insane doing those things. So, I actually am really excited about the conventions… it’s going to be a really beautiful sh*t show.” And girl, I couldn't agree more with that. We're all gonna need drinking games out the wazoo in order to be able to handle all that nonsense. And, after getting us excited about that prospect, Williams moved on to a very eloquent, accessible way of describing her feelings about having a totally new boss when she told reporters:
Not only were we figuring out this transition, but so was the rest of America. I’d go get like a latté, and the barista’d be like, “Jessica, here’s your soy latté,” and they’re also like, “does Jon really gotta leave?” and you’re like, “Yeah, man, see ya later!” Everyone was just mourning, so it was weird to do that here with all my co-workers, and my friends, and then do it with my mom, my grandma, and my local barista... I’m somebody who is, personally, very nervous and timid about things until they happen, so I think I just had some anxiety about it until I got to know Trevor and got to know his perspective. He just came walking around, and sat in my office, and just starting talking to me and got to know me, and it was all really easy — he’s really easy to talk to — so then I started to get a lot more excited. It was definitely like… mostly anxious. Because I think Jon was like my favorite teacher. The best way I can describe him is my favorite professor. So professor retires, and it’s like… here’s my new tutor. It’s a big transition.
Yes! That's it! That's it exactly. My anxiety over next season has less to do with not feeling like Trevor Noah is qualified, because how could I know, and more to do with the immense loss that we all experienced when Jon Stewart left the program. He was perfect for the job because he made the job, and, until Noah gets comfortable enough that he stops feeling like a substitute, it'll be hard to shake those first-day-back jitters.
So great job putting this into words, Jessica Williams! Even if I still have these butterflies about moving forward without Jon Stewart, it's been good to be reminded that all our favorite correspondents will be sticking around and are feeling the same way, so none of us are alone in this. And I can't wait to see what Noah plans to do with The Daily Show going forward.
Reporting by Tanya Ghahremani
Images: Comedy Central; Tanya Ghahremani/Bustle (2)