News / TV

Jessica Williams leaving The Daily Show to pursue own Comedy Central half-hour series

Jessica Williams announced today she’s leaving The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, with her final appearance airing this Thursday.

This is bad news for TDS, but great news for Comedy Central — which has watched past star correspondents for The Daily Show such as John Oliver and Samantha Bee depart only to launch their own weekly half-hours on HBO and TBS. Williams has a half-hour of her own in development with Comedy Central.

As Comedy Central president Kent Alterman told Entertainment Weekly today: “We see her as a great voice — she’s so dynamic and so funny. And she’s kind of grown up there at The Daily Show. Rather than say goodbye to her for her to go somewhere else, we want to make sure that we’re developing with her so that when she’s ready for her next platform, it can actually be with us.”

Willliams, 26, joined The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, four years ago at 22 as not only its youngest-ever correspondent, but also its lone voice for black women. She’s the first on-air talent to depart in the year since Trevor Noah took over.

Her new pilot for Comedy Central is a scripted series about a young woman who’s politically active but not necessarily aware. “It’s a show about someone in their 20s who has all these social ideas but still, like, does not have it together,” Williams told EW: “And she’s goofy and silly and funny!”

Comedy Central already has rolled out a highlight reel for Williams, Tweeting out:

Williams also launched a hit podcast this year with her comedy partner, Phoebe Robinson, “2 Dope Queens,” on WNYC Studios.

UPDATED: And here’s the truly tearful and heartfelt goodbye to Williams from her last appearance Thursday on TDS

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →