Laughing Out Loud with Julia Louis-Dreyfus

A comic range that goes from slapstick to satire, "Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a pop-culture icon—and she got there without sacrificing love or sanity. Here she talks about her remarkable career, her 25-year marriage and the joys and sorrows of facing an empty nest

by Margot Dougherty
julia louis dreyfus wearing blue silk gown image
Pamella Roland silk chiffon gown; Saks Jandel 301-652-2250. Irene Neuwirth boulder opal set ring, price on request;
Photograph: Patric Shaw

It seems only fitting to meet Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a coffee shop. She is, after all, Elaine, the hilarious, no-topic-is-taboo Seinfeld character who, with her pals Jerry (Seinfeld), George (Jason Alexander) and Kramer (Michael Richards), routinely slid into a booth at Monk’s Café to hash over the issues of the day—steam room protocol, close talkers, rogue diaphragms. Twenty years later, Louis-Dreyfus looks like Elaine’s hipper sister. On a wintry afternoon in Santa Monica she could be mistaken for a grad student: upscale riff on an army jacket, black loose-fitting pants, a scarf twirled around her neck, large dark-framed glasses. If fellow diners at Caffe Luxxe recognize her, they’re not giving themselves away. When it comes to spotting celebrities, she says, “nobody in L.A. gives a shit.”

Or lets on that they do. Confronted with the comedy icon that is Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the coffee shop customers are more likely just playing it cool: Elaine’s navigation of our culture’s pesky social nuances was one of the key reasons Seinfeld became must-see TV. She got down with the boys (most memorably in the “master of your domain” episode) but was always our proxy, The Girl, brilliantly interpreting the role of smart, often shameless, always extravagantly funny female sidekick. Louis-Dreyfus is now deploying her potent comic arsenal as struggling Vice President Selina Meyer on HBO’s Veep, which begins its second season April 14.

To read the rest of Julia's story, pick up the April 2013 issue of MORE, on newsstands March 26th.

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First published in the April 2013 issue of More

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