Jessica Williams: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Former ‘Daily Show’ Correspondent

Maybe you’re a big fan of The Daily Show, or you’ve watched (and rewatched) the Netflix comedy The Incredible Jessica James. Perhaps you’ve just heard the name Jessica Williams before. Well, then you have some familiarity with one of our favorite up-and-coming actresses.

The actor-host-writer-producer, who is best known for her work on The Daily Show and her podcast 2 Dope Queenshas been taking Hollywood by storm in recent years. Here, five surprising facts about rising star Jessica Williams.

jessica williams
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

1. Forget Acting, Williams Was Also A Podcast Host

Jessica Williams is a 30-year-old actress, comedian and podcast host. 

She’s best known for her work as a former senior correspondent on The Daily Show and as co-host of the podcast “2 Dope Queens.” The podcast, which she co-hosted with Phoebe Robinson, aired between April 4, 2016 and November 14, 2018.

2. She Started Her Career At Age 16

Being on screen was always the goal for Williams.

At age 16, she landed her first acting gig, a Nickelodeon show about soccer called Just For Kicks, executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg. “There wasn’t another option for me,” she told The Cut. “I was like, ‘This is what I want to do and this is how I want to make my money.’”

However, her breakthrough came when she was handpicked to be a correspondent for The Daily Show in 2012. At 22, she was the youngest person (and the first black woman) to be hired in the role. 

Williams has also starred in her own Netflix romantic comedy, The Incredible Jessica James, and landed supporting roles in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (more on that later) and Booksmart. Not to mention, she stars in Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot.

3. She Splits Her Time Between Two Cities

Williams grew up in Los Angeles as the daughter of an LAPD father and a mother who worked for the state of California. 

These days, she currently splits her time between Brooklyn, New York, and Harbor City, California. At least, according to her Instagram

4. She's Recently Gone Through A Very Tough Time

While we aren’t sure who (or if) Williams is currently dating, we do know a bit about her dating history. 

The 30-year-old comedian was in a long term relationship with photographer Blaine Spesak before he tragically passed away in February, 2019. Spesak was in his last semester of study at New York University, where he was completing a Masters in Fine Arts.

A few months after his passing, Williams shared an Instagram post about dealing with grief. 

“The early days of grief are just awful,” she captioned the post. “A lot of the advice that I got early on was to drink tons of water, try to take a walk outside if I could, and to try not to go ‘inward.’ Not going inward is hard because grief literally takes over *everything*. So a lot of times I found/find myself tucked in at home, crying- a mess. Other times I found myself crying, but decent(?!) and spending time with empathetic friends that are good at ‘heart stuff’. A lot of times they helped me by just coming to share my ‘grief space (lol, but accurate)’ with me by listening or talking or playing Overcooked on Switch. Every now and then, I would manage to throw on clothes and go outside. One foot in front of the other I guess. As a result, I’ve got a lil back log of chic-as-hell looks from the past two months that I now feel okay to share.”

5. She’s Bff To J.k Rowling

Like many of us, Williams is a huge Harry Potter fan. However, unlike many of us, she is very close friends with J.K. Rowling (whom she calls JoJo). 

Williams and Rowling got acquainted over Twitter and eventually met over a six-hour dinner in London in 2017. According to The Cut, it was a “mutual lovefest” as Rowling is a Daily Show fan. Ah, so now we understand how her role in Fantastic Beasts began. 

“I messaged her about downloading Rollercoaster Tycoon,” said Williams. “And she was like, ‘Hey, I’ve been working on this character for Fantastic Beasts. What’s your email? I want to send you this character description and see what you think.’ I read it and was just crying—it was unreal.”

Oh, and did we mention Williams and JoJo share the same birthday?