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The Daily Show's Jessica Williams on state of late night: ‘There’s white dudes everywhere'

‘The Daily Show’ correspondent address race, gender issues at the Peabody Awards

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The lack of diversity among late-night shows has been a discussion for some time now (it recently came to another head after Vanity Fair published a cover featuring the all-male and mostly white slate of hosts, but Jessica Williams says people like Samantha Bee, who mocked that magazine cover, are making things better.

“There’s white dudes everywhere, just all the time, at the top,” Williams, who became the youngest correspondent in the history of The Daily Show upon her debut in 2012, on the red carpet Saturday night at the Peabody Awards, which honored Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. “I feel like it’s time for change; I feel like that’s happening now with all these strong female voices like [Amy] Schumer, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. Especially with someone like Samantha Bee, which is a woman kicking so much ass in late night; like, it can be done! It just needs to happen. And people need to stop bullsh—ing and try different orientations, genders, and races in television, all across the board.”

When Jon Stewart left The Daily Show last year, Williams was one of the many names fans brought up when speculating about his replacement. But Williams said if she had been approached to take over the show, she would not have done it.

“It’s a lot of work,” Williams said. “I’m 26, and I’m not ready for that kind of responsibility yet, even though I’m flattered.”

But that doesn’t mean Williams isn’t ready to take on a host of other projects. She’s working on a pilot for Comedy Central, recording a podcast called “Two Dope Queens,” and teases that she has a role in a movie shooting this summer.