Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Levelheaded Take on Political Correctness Is the Perfect Response to Jerry Seinfeld’s Whining


Buzzwords like “political correctness” and “cancel culture” have become so all-encompassing as to be nearly meaningless, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus offered a take on the subject that’s so reasonable it puts her former costar Jerry Seinfeld’s confused response to shame.

Louis-Dreyfus and Seinfeld were on the massively popular sitcom Seinfeld, and since the show ended, she’s gone on to be one of the biggest stars on TV, while he has…well, he made a couple movies and he does stand-up and he’s obviously rich and successful, but he’s nowhere close to as relevant as he was. So maybe it makes sense that they have very different perspectives on modern comedy.

“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,” the Veep star told The New York Times in response to Seinfeld’s complaints. “And I think to have an antenna about sensitivities is not a bad thing. 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.” She later added, “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?” Yes.

The cast of Seinfeld pose with the Emmys they won for Outstanding Comedy Series on September 19, 1993.SCOTT FLYNN

See how easy that is? She gets that it’s tricky and respects everyone’s rights, but let’s not pretend times haven’t changed. Now, compare that with the original quote she was responding to, the one Seinfeld gave The New Yorker, in which he blamed the perceived dearth of funny sitcoms now on “the extreme left and PC crap, and people worrying so much about offending other people.”

He went on to describe modern movie- and TV- making thusly: “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.” That’s called getting notes, and it can definitely water down comedy, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with the “extreme left.” So that’s a little puzzling.



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