Jessica Williams has been gone from The Daily Show for a long time. In the eight months since Trevor Noah took over as host of Comedy Central’s flagship political talk show, Williams has only made about a dozen appearances, with her last solo correspondent segment airing all the way back at the beginning of April.
And Noah did his best to send her off in style.
Remarking on the “bittersweet moment” of Williams’s departure, Noah introduced “one final report” from the correspondent. The subject? A focus group of Bernie Sanders supporters who actually plan to vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton this fall.
The field piece that followed was classic Jessica Williams. “After an impassioned Democratic primary between the Curb Your Enthusiasm guy and the Mother of Dragons, the voting is finally over,” she said. “With Hillary Clinton as their nominee, the Democratic Party has united without controversy. J.K., y’all. I’m fucking with you!”
With that, the show cut to Williams calling out a surprisingly diverse group of Sanders voters for saying that they will vote for Trump despite his status as “a bigot and a racist.” By contrast, the group views Hillary Clinton as a “stack of garbage.”
“I don’t get it,” Williams said. “How do you go from a left-wing progressive like Bernie to a man who worships money only slightly less than he worships himself?” Asked what Sanders and Trump have in common, the best they could up with was, “They both want to be president.” As Williams explained to them, “They are literally opposite people.”
Finally, Williams presented a clip of Sanders vowing to vote for Clinton in the fall and characterizing the idea of supporting Trump as absurd. “Maybe Bernie supporters should just listen to the guy that they’re supporting,” she said, before declaring, “J. Willy, out!”
Before Williams officially said goodbye, Noah paid tribute to her by saying, “We tried to put together all of your greatest moments, but the truth is no one show can do them justice.” As she seemed to fight back tears, he added, “You are the coolest, most awesome person. This building is going to suffer a severe lack of J. Willy-ness without you.”
The good news for Comedy Central is that, unlike Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee, who all eventually left to launch their own late night shows on competing networks, Williams isn’t going far.
Following her departure from The Daily Show, Williams will begin work with one of Broad City’s writers on a pilot for Comedy Central in which she plans to star as “a politically-minded young woman who may be ‘woke’ but doesn’t know what she’s doing,” according to an interview she did with Entertainment Weekly explaining the decision.
The yet-to-be-titled new show represents another bold chapter in Williams’s still-young career and is reminiscent of the moves made by former colleagues like Jason Jones and Wyatt Cenac, both of whom pursued sitcom-style shows instead of trying to follow in their former mentor’s footsteps.
During the short search for Stewart’s replacement, both Samantha Bee and Williams were touted as potential hosts that could bring a new, female perspective to the political late-night landscape. But while Bee has managed to continue Stewart’s legacy with her increasingly vital Full Frontal on TBS, Williams made clear from the start that she had no interest in doing the same. Just 25 years old when Stewart announced his retirement, Williams declared herself “extremely under-qualified for the job” on Twitter. When writer Ester Bloom subsequently criticized Williams for refusing to “lean in,” the comedian fired back with a series of tweets that culminated with this empowering message, which still sits pinned to the top of her profile more than a year later.