For those who have been rooting for Jessica Williams, today is a sad day. She announced on Twitter: “I’m extremely under-qualified for the job!” The young Daily Show phenom has been touted as a replacement for departing host Jon Stewart. But there’s plenty of other opportunities for Williams out there, and she’s aware of it. For one, she’s doing films — in the current case, “People, Places, Things” — and she’s been making superb comments on it during interviews and appearances at the Sundance Film Festival. Williams is weighing plenty of offers–and the Daily Show job is all-consuming. (To direct his first film, Jon Stewart had to take a months-long hiatus.) Williams is at a sweet spot in her career, and presumably wants none of the dreadful pain of prematurely committing to one thing, however prestige-laden.
Will Williams’s withdrawal rile those who believe mainstream comedy outlets tend to avoid black talent like the measles? Prior to her announcement, TIME magazine pushed her name forward as a provocative against-the-white-guy-status-quo selection. Demographically speaking, is a black satire show host as non-doable (perhaps!) as a major network black anchor?