Although there were plenty of “incredibly funny” people on the show, the Veep star told Stephen Colbert on Saturday that it was also a “very sexist” environment during her three-year tenure.
“I was unbelievably naive and I didn’t really understand how the dynamics of the place worked,” she revealed. “It was very sexist, very sexist. People were doing crazy drugs at the time. I was oblivious. I just thought, ‘Oh wow. He’s got a lot of energy.'”
Joining the NBC variety show in 1982, Louis-Dreyfus became SNL’s youngest female cast member at that time, and went on to share the stage with the likes of Eddie Murphy, Martin Short, and Billy Crystal.
Even though SNL wasn’t the right fit for her, Louis-Dreyfus was able to find a silver lining in working on the show. “It was a pretty brutal time, but it was a very informative time for me,” she said, as it taught her to value the “fun-meter” of her subsequent jobs.
“I learned I wasn’t going to do any more of this show-business crap unless it was fun,” she explained. “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 that ‘fun meter’ to every job I’ve had since and that has been very helpful.”
And one of the most fun and notable jobs Louis-Dreyfus had might not have happened without SNL, as many fans might know. It was on the show that she met writer Larry David, who was “miserable” like her. A few years after Louis-Dreyfus’ departure, David sent her a script for a show titled The Seinfeld Chronicles.
The rest is history. And it seems Seinfeld ranked high on the actress’ fun meter.
“Jerry’s laughing the whole time,” she said about working with creator and star Jerry Seinfeld. “I mean he can’t act at all and so he’s got a huge smile on his face when anyone is saying anything. And if I looked at him and saw him doing that, then I would [crack] up. Anyway, it took a long time to shoot those things because I was ruining all the takes. And so that was my favorite thing.”