Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Political Correctness: It’s ‘Fantastic’

Julia Louis-Dreyfus discussed political correctness, the roles she’s drawn to, including starring in upcoming film Tuesday (out June 14) where she stars as a mother whose teenage daughter has a terminal illness, and more in a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times.

The actress has portrayed a variety of characters with “sharp edges” — from Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes to the self-absorbed Selina Meyer in Veep — they’re very funny, but they are not “good girls,” she said. “I don’t play girls who behave a way that a good girl should behave. If they do, they do it with bitterness and anxiety,” she told The Times. “I’ve played a lot of characters who push back on the position that they’re in, who are not content with their place in the world. And that’s real. Women are having their rights taken away. And women are not content, and I play women like that.”

And while Veep was political satire, Meyer was far from politically correct. Louis-Dreyfus’ former co-star Jerry Seinfeld recently made news for complaining about “the extreme left and PC crap” ending comedy and stifling creativity. His position has earned him the admiration of far-right influencers. Louis-Dreyfus, however, disagreed with that line of thinking.

“My feeling about all of it is that political correctness, insofar as it equates to tolerance, is obviously fantastic,” she said. “And of course I reserve the right to boo anyone who says anything that offends me, while also respecting their right to free speech, right?”

As far as what is holding back creativity, she sees the issue stemming from those who hold the power and money to greenlight what is being made. “But the bigger problem — and I think the true threat to art and the creation of art — is the consolidation of money and power,” she said. “All this siloing of studios and outlets and streamers and distributors — I don’t think it’s good for the creative voice. So that’s what I want to say in terms of the threat to art.”

As for if Seinfeld could be made today, she said, “Probably not.” Unlike Seinfeld, who told The New Yorker in April that he wouldn’t be able to make the same jokes on Seinfeld now as he did when it was made due to political correctness, Louis-Dreyfus cites the show being too unique versus it not being PC enough for the times. “I mean, what the hell is happening in network television anymore? When Seinfeld was made, it was really unlike anything that was on at the time. It was just a bunch of losers hanging out. So I would say one main reason it wouldn’t be made now is because it’s hard to get anything different recognized. Particularly nowadays, everyone’s sort of running scared.”

When she’s asked directly about her co-star’s controversial comments on political correctness, Louis-Dreyfus stressed how comedy has evolved over the decades.


“If you look back on comedy and drama both, let’s say 30 years ago, through the lens of today, you might find bits and pieces that don’t age well. And I think to have an antenna about sensitivities is not a bad thing,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that all comedy goes out the window as a result.

“When I hear people starting to complain about political correctness — and I understand why people might push back on it — but to me that’s a red flag, because it sometimes means something else,” she added. “I believe being aware of certain sensitivities is not a bad thing.”

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