This Former ‘Saturday Night Live’ Cast Member Calls Her Time on the Show ‘Miserable’

NBC’s long running show Saturday Night Live has been on the air for over 40 years and has launched the careers of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, and Jimmy Fallon.

Though some found their way to celebrity via the comedy sketch show, this actress revealed that her time on SNL was not all that enjoyable.

“Saturday Night Live” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Taran Killam, and Kate McKinnon | Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Repeat Emmy winner

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has become a household name when it comes to comedy. Hitting stardom with her infamous turn as Elaine Benes on the legendary sitcom Seinfeld beginning in 1990, Louis-Dreyfus soon became one of Hollywood’s funniest comedic actresses.

Racking up Emmy nominations and wins for Seinfeld, CBS’ The New Adventures of Old Christine, and HBO’s Veep, the comedian’s trophy case is most likely vying for space at this point in her career. Between her critical acclaim and now renowned catch-phrases – and who can forget her trademark ‘Elaine dance’ – Louis-Dreyfus is a force to be reckoned with in the comedy genre.

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Backstage selfie @colbertlateshow @veephbo

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Stint on ‘SNL’

Louis-Dreyfus appeared on Saturday NIght Live from 1982 to 1985. She recently spoke of her experience on the iconic show, saying how unprepared she was at the young age of 21, having not yet finished her studies at Northwestern University before heading off to New York.

During her time on the show, Louis-Dreyfus’ costars included Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy, Chris Guest, Marty Short, and Mary Gross. The actress told Stephen Colbert in an interview that times on the show could be “miserable” due to the rampant sexism. “There were plenty of people on the show who were incredibly funny,” Louis-Dreyfus said, according to USA Today. “I was unbelievably naive and I didn’t really understand how the dynamics of the place worked. It was very sexist, very sexist.” 

The former Veep star also commented on the drug culture on the set. “People were doing crazy drugs at the time (on ‘SNL’). I was oblivious. I just thought, ‘Oh wow, he’s got a lot of energy,’” she told Colbert. “I don’t know how anybody could work stoned.”

Looking on the bright side

Louis-Dreyfus clearly chooses to see the glass as half full, finding the positives that came out of her experience on the NBC late-night show. “It was a pretty brutal time, but it was a very informative time for me. “

The comedian revealed she cultivated some invaluable wisdom through that time of her life that she carries with her today, saying she “learned I wasn’t going to do anymore of this show-business crap unless it was fun. It is important, it’s so basic, but I just thought ‘I don’t have to do this,'” Louis-Dreyfus shared. “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 I’ve had since and that has been very helpful.” 

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Teeth with bridge.

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She also met pal Larry David while on SNL, who brought her on board for Seinfeld. “Larry David and I had been on SNL together my last year there because he was a writer, and we bonded because he was as miserable as I was,” she revealed.

Louis-Dreyfus announced in October 2018 that she was cancer-free after her public battle with breast cancer. By sharing her story, the actress hoped to turn her diagnosis into an opportunity to help other women. “To be honest, I’m a very private person, so it wouldn’t have occurred to me to have gone public with any of this,” Louis-Dreyfus told USA TODAY in March. “But my hand was kind of forced by virtue of the fact that we were about to start production, and I had 150 or 200 people waiting to get going on this show. So I thought, ‘OK, let’s make a virtue, if you can, of such a horrible moment.'”

Fans of Louis-Dreyfus are thrilled for her clean bill of health and can’t wait to see what she’s up to next!