Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks political correctness in comedy: 'Not a bad thing'

"To have an antenna about sensitivities is not a bad thing," she said.

June 10, 2024, 5:34 PM

Julia Louis-Dreyfus opened up recently about her feelings on political correctness in comedy.

"I think to have an antenna about sensitivities is not a bad thing," the "Veep" star said in an interview with the New York Times published Saturday, in response to a question regarding "Seinfeld" co-star Jerry Seinfeld's remarks on the topic, which he made on "The New Yorker Radio Hour" podcast in April.

"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," Louis-Dreyfus continued.

The "You People" actress has played comedic roles for years, starring in the iconic 1990s comedy "Seinfeld" from 1990 to 1998 and "Veep" from 2012 to 2019.

"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 said. "I believe being aware of certain sensitivities is not a bad thing. I don't know how else to say it."

Louis-Dreyfus' comments come a little over a month after Seinfeld's interview with The New Yorker, during which the comedian spoke about how television has adapted to sensitivities versus comedians, who he said use their audience as a barometer.

"It used to be, you would go home at the end of the day, most people would go, 'Oh, 'Cheers' is on. Oh, 'M*A*S*H' is on. Oh, 'Mary Tyler Moore' is on. 'All in the Family' is on.' You just expected, there'll be some funny stuff we can watch on TV tonight," Seinfeld said at the time.

"Well, guess what -- where is it? This is the result of the extreme left and P.C. crap, and people worrying so much about offending other people," he added.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus speaks onstage during the 28th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani Wall Street May 13, 2024 in New York City.
Dave Kotinsky, Getty Images for The Webby Award

Speaking with the Times in a follow-up conversation also referenced in the outlet's article on Saturday, Dreyfus elaborated on her stance and clarified what she felt was a real threat to art and creativity.

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

Pointing to where she felt creative liberties may actually be threatened, she added, "I think the true threat to art and the creation of art -- is the consolidation of money and power. All this siloing of studios and outlets and streamers and distributors -- I don't think it's good for the creative voice."