Julia Louis-Dreyfus handily rejected the argument that political correctness is holding back comedians from doing their jobs—and described the the term as often a cover for people who just want license to be racist or misogynistic.
Louis-Dreyfus first articulated this thought in an interview with Time, in which she said, “I think as soon as people start bitching about ‘politically correct,’ it’s a term for something else [...] 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.’”
The subject came up again in a Vogue interview, when the interviewer pointed out most of the comedians complaining about PC culture are men:
Why do you think you don’t feel hemmed in by an impulse to respect people who might be offended, when others do? Those others are almost all men, by the way.
Well, you know, define respect is the first thing I’d say. It’s not that I don’t feel as if I am not respectful in the work that I do. I actually think the opposite, you know what I mean?
She reiterated a truth that will be so obvious to anyone who watches Veep, which is that laughing about other people is great when they deserve it:
It may seem strange to say, but I think that we are all playing horrendous people on this show. So it’s not like we’re advocating for these behaviors. In fact, quite the opposite. You’re laughing at these heinous people.
Selina Meyer is, after all, a woman who hates other women—so the show does not shy away from misogynistic or inappropriate jokes. But the point is that the people making the jokes onscreen are assholes, so the viewer knows that they’re wholly unreliable (and routinely immoral) narrators. Veep arguably makes a lot of the jokes that comedians like Louis CK and even Jerry Seinfeld are upset that audiences won’t tolerate anymore—but it’s a satire. Louis-Dreyfus seems to be saying that, if real-life comedians are complaining about not being able to say what they want, they probably want to say something that falls in the category of pretty fucked up:
But 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. So for me, “politically correct” means, you know, be a human being, be mindful of being kind. And it doesn’t mean you can’t satirize. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t take snark to DEFCON 5. But I think you and I both know that there’s a difference. And I do believe that when people talk about, Oh, I have to be so politically correct here, that’s a buzz word for something else that I don’t subscribe to anyway.
And she doesn’t have time for that, anyway. She’s too busy polishing all 11 Emmys she’s won!