Julia Louis-Dreyfus: ‘SNL’ Was a ‘Very Sexist Environment’

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 4 -- Pictured: (l-r) Brad Hall as Ralph Curtis, Jim Belushi as Dale Butterworth, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as model during 'You Win a Dollar' skit on November 5, 1983 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty

Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus confessed that the three years she spent as a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live didn’t leave her with a “deep sense of happiness” because the SNL set was “a very sexist environment.”

“I did not come out of SNL as any kind of name,” Louis-Dreyfus said in a lengthy interview with the New York Times. “I didn’t do anything particularly great when I was there. I didn’t. It’s fine. But I learned a tremendous amount. It was a very sexist environment. Since I’ve gone back, I can tell you it’s much more of an equal-opportunity environment.”

Louis-Dreyfus, who is perhaps best known for role as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, said her experience from 1982 to 1985 on Saturday Night Live taught her to only accept roles that would make her truly happy.

“I was on it for three years, and when I left, I made this conscious decision that I would not take any jobs that didn’t seem as if they would be really fun,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “That’s very simplistic and Pollyannaish sounding, but really, I noted that. I’m not doing this unless I can have a deep sense of happiness while doing it. I’ve applied that, moving forward, and it’s worked. So in that sense, I have ‘SNL’ to thank.”

When Saturday Night Live launched its 39th season in September 2013, it added six new cast members — five men and one woman, and all of them were white.

In recent years, Saturday Night Live, the weekly NBC show which debuted October 1975, has endured criticism for its lack of black female cast members.

Saturday Night Live,” Louis-Dreyfus said, “is like its own university. Once you’ve been there, there is a kinship with everyone who’s been there and everyone who is there.”

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson.

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