Why Julia Louis-Dreyfus Is the Comedy Queen We Love

Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Actors are usually lucky if their career includes one great, memorable lead character — getting more than one iconic part is rare. Then again, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is no regular comedy superstar. For nine seasons she played Elaine “Get OUT!” Benes on Seinfeld (a role that won her an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series); since then, despite the “Seinfeld Curse,” she’s become arguably the most successful of the show’s stars. (Sorry, Jerry.) Not only has the actress stayed a consistently hilarious force in the world of comedy, but she’s more relevant and powerful than ever. On Sunday she’ll kick off her fourth season as Selina Meyer on the wicked comedy Veep (a role that has won her three Outstanding Lead Actress Emmys); until then, we’d like to hat-tip all the reasons JLD continues to dominate.

She Picks Great TV Roles

Louis-Dreyfus‘ post-Seinfeld triumphs far outrank her misfires. Yeah, she only had one season of the forgotten sitcom Watching Ellie, but she also had brilliant smaller roles on critical darlings like Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Web Therapy. She won an Emmy for her work on The New Adventures of Old Christine, which ran for four seasons. And even after all that, she upped the ante with her brilliant work on HBO’s Veep. She has a rare gift for playing edgy, complicated, and often unlikable characters and making them downright beloved. If there are no good roles for women in Hollywood past a certain age, it’s because JLD has them locked down.