Julia Louis-Dreyfus isn’t holding back. The actress is thankful for those who gave her a chance along the way, but that doesn’t mean all her experiences through her 35 years in the business were good.
In 1982, she joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, a dream for many comedians – at least male comedians. “It was so misogynistic and not female-friendly whatsoever. But I was also 21 and unprepared to be there as a performer,” Louis-Dreyfus, 58, said in the latest issue of PorterEdit. “A mash-up of those two very negative things made it a hard time, but I learned a lot.”
The comedian remained on the weekly hit until 1985 and, despite her experience, has returned to the show multiple times, hosting in 2006, 2007 and 2016. However, things have changed quite a bit in her life since she began.
Five years after exiting Saturday Night Live, she landed the role of Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, which, of course, changed her life. However, she revealed she has no desire to revisit that, even in the world of reboots and revivals. “I don’t want to sully it. It was pretty special and it’s been a long time now,” the actress told the magazine. “You don’t want to f–k something like that up.”
Louis-Dreyfus also opened up about her battle with breast cancer. She revealed the news to the world on social media in September 2017. “If I hadn’t had a show that was relying on me, I don’t know that I would have gone so public with it,” the actress said. “But I had 200 people waiting to go back to work. And I wanted to talk about it in a way that could maybe highlight something important. Universal healthcare was an important issue to me prior to getting this diagnosis, and it certainly is even more so now.”
While they weren’t shooting at the time, the Old Adventures of New Christine alum was reading scripts while going through treatment – she never stopped working. “My rounds of chemotherapy were three weeks apart, so at the end of every three weeks I would go in and do table reads,” she revealed. “The effects of chemotherapy are cumulative, so I definitely felt that more towards the end, but going to work was a very joyful distraction, and I was so pleased to have the strength to do it. To be creative for a living, to make people laugh or cry, is a f–king gift. I love it, and I love hard work to that end.”
Still, the mother of two was worried about being able to memorize scripts again. “I started doing tricks, trying to memorize poems and things – I think it was mainly just comforting to me to get them in my head,” she said.
As for how she stays positive now, she said that having cancer helped her to “crystallize” her priorities. “I would certainly say that I have an even deeper appreciation for the good stuff. That sounds corny, but it’s f—king true.”
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