Why Julia Louis-Dreyfus Hated Working On SNL | Screen Rant

Before she became a celebrated comedic actress, Julia Louis-Dreyfus got her start on Saturday Night Live – though she ended up hating the experience. The sketch comedy series, which has been running on NBC since 1975, has featured some iconic cast lineups, with many alums of the show becoming bona fide stars. Though a lot of former cast members such as Kristen Wiig and Laraine Newman look back fondly on their SNL stints, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an example of someone who had a less-than-stellar time working there.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was just 21 years old when she joined Saturday Night Live in 1982, making her the youngest female cast member at the time. Before her time on the show — long before her success as Elaine on Seinfeld — Louis-Dreyfus studied theater at Northwestern University and performed in the Chicago improvisational group The Second City, as well as Chicago-based The Practical Theatre Company. Her performance at the latter's "Golden 50th Anniversary Jubilee" led to an invitation to join Saturday Night Live. While on SNL, Louis-Dreyfus's recurring characters included Patti Lynn Hunnsacker, a teen correspondent on Weekend Update, and April May June, a televangelist, and she did a variety of celebrity impressions, such as Ali MacGraw and Andie MacDowell. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was on SNL for three seasons, from 1982 to 1985.

Related: The First Seinfeld Episode Elaine Wasn't In (& Why)

During a Q&A with Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis-Dreyfus revealed that her experience on Saturday Night Live was "a pretty brutal time" (via People)." Louis-Dreyfus, who was an SNL cast member alongside Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal, said she felt naïve and didn't understand the dynamics of SNL. She also described the set during her time in the early-to-mid '80s as "very sexist," with rampant drug use. Louis-Dreyfus bonded with Larry David, who had a one-year stint as a writer on SNL during her final year because they both felt miserable on the show. She also told Colbert that her SNL experience taught her an important lesson: “I learned I wasn’t going to do any more of this show business crap unless it was fun. I don’t have to walk and crawl through this kind of nasty glass if it’s not ultimately going to be fulfilling, and so that’s how I sort of moved forward from that moment. I sort of applied the fun-meter to every job since, and that has been very helpful.

After leaving Saturday Night LiveJulia Louis-Dreyfus appeared in the movie Troll. Shortly afterward, she was cast as Elaine Benes in the Larry David-created '90s sitcom Seinfeld, which ran for nine seasons and garnered her a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy in 1996. After Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfus had a lead role in CBS's The New Adventures Of Old Christine from 2006 to 2010 and nabbed her first Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Louis-Dreyfus has also gained critical acclaim and accolades for starring as Selina Meyer in the HBO political satire Veep, for which she also served as a producer, and earned six consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards. She returned to SNL as a host in 2006, becoming the first former female cast member to host the show.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus's filmography includes National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, the Pixar movies A Bug's Life (as the voice of Crown Princess Atta) and Onward (as Laurel Lightfoot), and the romantic comedy-drama Enough Said, where she co-starred alongside the late James Gandolfini and earned Critics Choice and Golden Globe nominations. More recently, Louis-Dreyfus joined the MCU as Contessa Valentina de Fontaine, debuting with a cameo at the end of Black Widow and following that with two episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Though Julia Louis-Dreyfus didn't have the best Saturday Night Live experience, it's clear that it was an informative one for her. It also led her to one of her biggest roles to date since SNL is where Louis-Dreyfus and Seinfeld co-creator and longtime showrunner Larry David met and became friends. While promoting a second SNL hosting gig in 2016, Julia Louis-Dreyfus noted (via CBS News) that "since I've gone back, I can tell you it's much more of an equal-opportunity environment" compared to the misogynistic conditions she endured during the '80s. It's a good thing for current and future female Saturday Night Live stars that times have changed since Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a cast member.

Next: Who Is Madame Hydra? Julia Louis-Dreyfus' MCU Future Explained

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