Julia Louis-Dreyfus

time 100 2016 Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Art Streiber—August

Relevant as heck

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has achieved the unachievable: being completely comically on point and relevant as heck for the past 30 years. And also crushable—as her fellow feminist and friend, I feel I can say that. First she barreled onto the Saturday Night Live stage at the same age most of us are trying to figure out our major. Then she created the utterly singular Elaine Benes—patron saint of boldly neurotic women and also of blazers—a character paramount in the consciousness of every stressed-out, funny woman. Elaine formed some of us, truly, and she’s the sole reason I ever experimented with the contraceptive sponge. But not content with one iconic role, she created Christine, a riff on what society will allow a mother to be, and now Veep’s Selina Meyer, a character who is both old-school zany and new-school subtle, and who seems more and more real the longer this election circus continues. Julia’s brand of comedy—naturalistic lunacy, sharp but never cruel—taught a whole generation of women they were allowed to change the rules and a whole bunch of men that a woman with rough edges was something to desire. Oh, and as a friend? Kind, humble, funny, supportive and never, ever missing a beat. We are lucky to live in the age of JLD. Long may she reign.

Dunham is the creator of the HBO series Girls

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