Jun 18, 2020
The Daily Show's Jessica Williams For Queen
You know Jessica Williams, the young black woman on The Daily Show. You love Jessica Williams. The first time you saw Jessica Williams, you said, “who is this girl she is so fucking good” because you always forget not to infantilize grown women by calling them girls like that, and also you never punctuate while you’re talking.
Mother Jones has a nifty little interview with Williams about diversity at TDS (Trigger Warning: they forget to mention intersectionality, even once), stop-and-frisk … but mostly, what it was like to finish up finals at Cal State Long Beach after she’d been hired at The Daily Show and would be moving to New York and getting her own place for the first time (she’s 23) the very next week.
Mother Jones: How’d you come to Jon Stewart’s attention?
Jessica Williams: Allison Jones, a big casting director out there, was like, “They’re casting The Daily Show right now—you should submit a tape.” I remember leaving school to go shoot an audition. I thought I did terribly. I remember driving back to school, being like, “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” But then I got a call a couple days later: “Hey, Jon Stewart saw your tape. He wants to fly you out to New York to audition.” So my mom took me to go get a suit from TJ Maxx, and I showed up for my audition with green hair. I was really nervous and I ran my lines a million and one times. They were finally like, “Okay, Jon’s ready to come down now.” The first thing I heard was him singing. That was really cool, because it made me feel very welcome and warm and safe—that this person who is legendary in my eyes is a normal human being. I kind of knew walking away that I did really well. They called me two days later and were like, “Hey, they want you to move to New York.” I was like, “I have to finish my finals!”
MJ: Did you?
JW: Barely, girl. I got by by the skin of my teeth because I just didn’t give a shit. It was stressful to work on this, like, astronomy lab when I know I’m going to be living in New York by myself for the first time and on The Daily Show in a week. So I got a lot of Cs.
JESSICA WILLIAMS IS ADORABLE YOU GUYS. Even more important, though, Jessica Williams is a woman who uses “whom” properly in spoken speech.
MJ: So who are some of the women who have influenced you the most?
JW: Tina Fey. I love Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon—kind of from that age of snl. Amy Poehler. Maya Rudolph. Right now on The Daily Show it’s Samantha Bee, whom I look up to.
Vote’s over. The people (I) have spoken. Jessica Williams for queen, you guys.