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Julia Louis-Dreyfus Stands Up For Politically Correct Comedy

Julia Louis-Dreyfus speaking with attendees at the 2017 WorkHuman conference at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus speaking with attendees at the 2017 WorkHuman conference at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

“I’m in favor of political correctness. I’m suspicious of those who have a problem with it. I think it is language for something else.”

Comedic actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is taking a stand for political correctness in comedy. With a career spanning four decades, the veteran actress is no stranger to comedy. Dreyfus has been a regular on esteemed comedy staples such as “Saturday Night Live”, “Seinfeld”, and the currently acclaimed “Veep”, on HBO.

Unlike many of her comedic peers, however, she sees no problem with abiding by the political correctness that some say permeates our current culture.

“When it comes to being “politically correct” for me, that’s a red flag word because ultimately, for me—and this is my opinion—that’s born out of ultimately being kind,” Dreyfus said in a recent interview with Vogue magazine. “[It] means, you know, be a human being, be mindful of being kind. And it doesn’t mean you can’t satirize. ”

Indeed, Dreyfus acknowledged that her current show “Veep” is actually quite irreverent, nonetheless: “We’re making a satirical show about political culture. And right now extreme times call for extreme comedy.”

She emphasized that the characters on her show are intended to be “horrendous,” therefore they are an object of derision and amusement, not a model to identify with – in essence, satire.

Dreyfus also made similar statements to Time magazine earlier this year, saying: “I’m in favor of political correctness. I’m suspicious of those who have a problem with it. I think it is language for something else–for ‘It’s O.K. to make racist jokes,’ or ‘It’s O.K. to make violence-against-women jokes.’”

It seems likely that a medium such as comedy, which relies on exposing truths and pushing boundaries, will be affected in our current age of social justice.

Comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, who Dreyfus co-starred with for several years on the hit show “Seinfeld”, have openly expressed dismay at this new development.

In the past year, there have been several high-profile cases of comedians getting in trouble for politically incorrect humor.

Fallen comedian Louis C.K. resurfaced at a comedy club in December, after a hiatus following allegations of lewd sexual behavior towards female colleagues.

The comedian shocked everyone with his new set and its overt mocking of gender identity politics, Asians, and the social activism of young adults. Unsurprisingly, the media condemned his material.

Also in December of last year, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer had his standup comedy set cut short at Columbia University, after making a potentially offensive gay joke. Unlike Louis C.K., it was a single joke that addressed prejudices against homosexuals and people of color. Organizers at the event alleged that the audience became uncomfortable, and responded accordingly.

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