‘Seinfeld’ star Julia Louis-Dreyfus says complaints about political correctness are ‘red flag’

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“Seinfeld” and “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus disagrees with former co-star Jerry Seinfeld’s stance on the state of comedy and “political correctness.”

“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,” Louis-Dreyfus said in an interview with the New York Times.

She continued, “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. I believe being aware of certain sensitivities is not a bad thing.”

Seinfeld made headlines a month ago during an appearance on the New Yorker’s Radio Hour by lambasting the “extreme left” for making comedy too politically correct and driving it off television.


Close up of Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus told the New York Times, “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.” (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images/File)

“It used to be that you’d go home at the end of the day, most people would go, ‘Oh, ’Cheers’ is on. Oh, ‘M.A.S.H.’ is on. Oh, ‘[The] Mary Tyler Moore [Show]’ is on, ‘All in the Family’ is on.’ You just expected [there will] be some funny stuff we can watch on TV tonight,” he said.

“Well, guess what? Where is it? Where is it? This is the result of the extreme left and PC c— and people worrying so much about offending other people.”

In his opinion, stand-up comedians aren’t “policed by anyone. The audience polices us. We know when we’re off track. We know instantly. And we adjust to it instantly.”

“But when you write a script, and it goes into four or five different hands, committees, groups – ‘Here’s our thought about this joke’ – well, that’s the end of your comedy.”

Jerry Seinfeld in a black suit and tie holds a microphone and performs on stage

Jerry Seinfeld said he thinks comedy is missing on television because of “the extreme left and PC c— and people worrying so much about offending other people.” (Getty Images/File)


Louis-Dreyfus also took issue with creativity by committee, but for a different reason.

“My feeling about all of it is that political correctness, insofar as it equates to tolerance, is obviously fantastic. 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? But the bigger problem — and 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. So that’s what I want to say in terms of the threat to art,” she told The New York Times.

The “Veep” star also noted that as culture has changed, tastes have changed.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus wearing a gold necklace

The “Veep” star said comedy and drama today are being created through “a different lens” and “things have shifted very much for the good.” (Santiago Felipe/Getty Images/File)


“I just know that the lens through which we create art today – and I’m not going to just specify it to comedy, it’s also drama – it’s a different lens. It really is. Even classically wonderful, indisputably great films from the past are riddled with attitudes that today would not be acceptable. So, I think it’s just good to be vigilant,” she said, adding, “I mean, things have shifted. And in that case, I would say, things have shifted very much for the good.” 

The question that often comes up for classic comedy TV and films is “Could it be made today?” and in the case of “Seinfeld,” Louis-Dreyfus doesn’t think so, not from a content standpoint, but rather from the larger corporatization of entertainment.

Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Jason Alexander as George Costanza in a picture from the show "Seinfeld" all squeezing together

Louis-Dreyfus doesn’t think “Seinfeld” could be made today because now “it’s hard to get anything different recognized.” (Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)


“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,” the 63-year-old said. “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.”

Fox News Digital’s Caroline Thayer contributed to this report.

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