Julia Louis-Dreyfus opens up about her 'miserable' time on SNL

Julia Louis-Dreyfus opens up about her ‘miserable’ time on Saturday Night Live and its ‘sexist’ work environment

Years before Seinfeld made her a household name, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and she opened up about her ‘miserable’ experience and the ‘sexist’ work environment on Saturday.

Louis-Dreyfus, 58, who joined the cast as a 21 year old comedienne in 1982 and lasted three seasons, spoke to Stephen Colbert at a benefit for Montclair Film at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

The actress admitted she was ‘unbelievably naive’ upon joining the cast, and she, ‘didn’t really understand how the dynamics of the place worked.’

Miserable: Years before Seinfeld made her a household name, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and she opened up about her ‘miserable’ experience and the ‘sexist’ work environment on Saturday

‘It was very sexist — very sexist,’ Louis-Dreyfus said. ‘People were doing crazy drugs at the time. I was oblivious. I just thought, ‘Oh, wow! He’s got a lot of energy!”

She left her school Northwestern University before graduating to join the show, explaining to Colbert that she didn’t understand how comedians could perform while inebriated. 

While she didn’t enjoy her time on the show at all, spanning three seasons from 1982 to 1985, the experience helped her develop a system that guided her in choosing future projects.

Sexist: ‘It was very sexist — very sexist,’ Louis-Dreyfus said. ‘People were doing crazy drugs at the time. I was oblivious. I just thought, ‘Oh, wow! He’s got a lot of energy!”

‘It was a pretty brutal time, but it was a very informative time for me,’ she told Colbert, adding she won’t do, ‘any more of this crap’ unless ‘it was fun.’ 

‘It is important and so basic, but I just felt like, “I don’t have to; I don’t have to do this, I don’t have to walk and crawl through this kind of nasty glass if it’s not ultimately going to be fulfilling,”‘ she said. 

‘And so that’s how I sort of moved forward from that moment and I sort of applied that kind of “fun meter” to every job I’ve had since and it definitely has been very helpful,’ she added.

Stephen and Julia: ‘It was a pretty brutal time, but it was a very informative time for me,’ she told Colbert, adding she won’t do, ‘anymore of this crap’ unless ‘it was fun’

Her time on the show also lead to a most important connection to her career in her last season on SNL, when Larry David came on as a staff writer.

‘Larry David and I had been on SNL together my last year there because he was a writer, and we bonded because he was as miserable as I was,’ Louis-Dreyfus said.

Four years later, David would-co-create Seinfeld with Jerry Seinfeld, casting Louis-Dreyfus as the female lead, Elaine Benes, making her a household name.

Julia on Larry: Her time on the show also lead to a most important connection to her career in her last season on SNL, when Larry David came on as a staff writer

Louis-Dreyfus’ tenure also fell within a five-year period where series creator Lorne Michaels was not a part of the show, where it also faced threats of cancellation every year.

She left the show as part of a massive overhaul where the entire cast was replaced with the likes of Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Dennis Miller, Jan Hooks, Nora Dunn, Victoria Jackson and Jon Lovitz.

Louis-Dreyfus’ would go on to make several guest starring appearances on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm before starring in her own shows, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Veep, which just ended its seven-season run in May.

Threat: Louis-Dreyfus’ tenure also fell within a five-year period where series creator Lorne Michaels was not a part of the show, where it also faced threats of cancellation every year

Overhaul: She left the show as part of a massive overhaul where the entire cast was replaced with the likes of Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Dennis Miller, Jan Hooks, Nora Dunn, Victoria Jackson and Jon Lovitz

Own shows: Louis-Dreyfus’ would go on to make several guest starring appearances on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm before starring in her own shows, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Veep, which just ended its seven-season run in May

 

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