Why Is Jessica Williams Leaving 'The Daily Show'? The Reason Could Suggest Great Things For The Future Of Television
After spending four years delivering some of the fiercest political comedy seen on modern television, Entertainment Weekly has confirmed that Jessica Williams is leaving The Daily Show — and soon. According to the site, her last episode will air Thursday, June 30. This is sad news for fans of Williams, who has cultivated a strong and devoted following since her first appearance on the show in 2012. Her involvement in the show often consisted of her starring in on-point satirical sketches that proved her prowess for comedy with a powerful political message. So if you're currently left aghast as to why Jessica Williams is leaving The Daily Show , then take heart, because the announcement is actually incredibly bittersweet: She's leaving to focus on her own upcoming project with Comedy Central, and that show couldn't be arriving at a better time.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive interview with the feminist icon, the TV show will focus on "a young woman who is a feminist and who imagines herself to be 'woke,'" while exploring all the complications that can come with that. Williams explains:
I think that a lot of the time, we have this idea that when you are, like, “woke” — and please always put this in quotations! — that you should always have your sh*t together. But I know that often for me, as a black woman of color, I feel like I’m supposed to represent these ideals and values that I was taught as a young lady. Like I’m supposed to carry myself in a special type of way, but oftentimes I’m, like… I’m still in my 20s, and still kind of a mess. So it’s a show about somebody in their 20s who has all these social ideas, but still does not have it together.
The upcoming project is especially thrilling for Williams, who has been developing her own intelligent brand of comedy and thoughtful approach to politics on The Daily Show and her podcast 2 Dope Queens. Being able to further develop these ideas within a vehicle that gives her much more creative control within such a mainstream medium not only provides her with a potentially wider audience, but it also gives her the chance to speak out about issues which don't always get the coverage they deserve. Williams explained how she is "excited to, in a silly and funny way, be able to explore ideas of feminism and race and LGBT issues," painting an overall portrait of a show which is much-needed at this point in popular culture.
Though we do have feminist shows starring very funny ladies like Broad City, Girls, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Inside Amy Schumer, we do very much need more, and it's ideal if they're willing to capably tackle LGBT and race issues in a way which is funny and relevant. Sadly, there remains to be only a small amount of female comedy shows currently delivering this sort of commentary on a regular basis, which means that there's a troubling proportion of the audience whose experiences are basically being ignored.
As such, the great potential for Williams' own comedy show can't be understated. Not only do we need more shows that are written by women for women, but TV also needs to start accurately reflecting their viewers and their experiences. With the first trailer for Awkward Black Girl creator Issa Rae's comedy series Insecure also recently having been revealed, it definitely feels as though we could finally be seeing a more diverse comedy culture which isn't just tailored to meet the needs of a white, heterosexual audience. And moving forward, that's a massively positive step for popular culture to be taking.
Crucially, it feels as though we need comedy more than ever as a cathartic way to explore and discuss some of the deeply concerning issues which are currently impacting on the lives of young people, and Williams delivers that political catharsis like no one else. Late nights may never be quite the same again with the absence of Williams from The Daily Show, but by allowing her wicked intelligence and impressive talents to be invested into their very own project, we're gaining so much more, and America has been needing that for a while now.