Sunday, October 12, 2008

Advocate Interview: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Brandon Voss writes:
The fourth season of the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine has added something borrowed and something blue to its bouquet with a lesbian wedding. The catch? Both characters are straight. Emmy-winning star Julia Louis-Dreyfus (pictured) details the inspiration behind the same-sex subplot and revisits Seinfeld’s impact on gay people, even though her character, Elaine, was heterosexual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Advocate: The 1993 Seinfeld episode “The Outing” introduced the phrase “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” into the mainstream consciousness. Did it feel like a big deal at the time?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: It did feel like a big deal. Yeah, it was groundbreaking, and from a writing point of view, it was spectacularly crafted. Somehow we were able to speak about taboo subject matters while poking fun at political correctness in a way that other shows weren’t doing at that time -- like the episode when Kramer refused to wear the AIDS ribbon.

Advocate: Elaine once exclaimed, “I hate men, but I’m not a lesbian!” Looking back, though, is there any possibility that she was actually a big dyke?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: No, there’s no way Elaine was a dyke. She was just a totally fucked-up heterosexual.

Advocate: So it’s a total fluke that comedian Carol Leifer, on whom Elaine was partially based, now has a female life partner?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Yes, it is.

Advocate: Did that revelation faze you?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: No. But I have so many friends who are gay, it’s really like saying “She has blond hair.”

Advocate: In the current season of The New Adventures of Old Christine your character marries Wanda Sykes’s character, who’s also straight, to prevent her from being deported. What inspired that story line?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Obviously, same-sex marriage is a hot topic these days, particularly in California, and it just seemed like a strong story line for Wanda and me to play.

Advocate: By mining laughs from a sensitive issue, aren’t you running the risk of offending viewers?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: There’s always potential for offending, and maybe we even will, although that’s not our goal. We do want to push the envelope because that’s the key with comedy, and that’s how you find great material. At the same time, all of us are very comfortable with and supportive of same-sex marriage. We don’t want to make fun of it. I’m all for it. I can’t imagine not being for it. That seems ludicrous.

Advocate: Who’d make a better lesbian -- you or Wanda?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: [Laughs] It would have to be a tie. I think we would both make wonderful lesbians. I have been hit on by women, so I guess I’ve been mistaken for a lesbian. I say, “Thanks, but no thanks!” -- just like Sarah Palin.