Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Comfortably Conscientious

Actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus and writer/producer Brad Hall are maestros of comedy, but behind the scenes they get comfortably conscientious.

| August/September 2004

Actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus and writer/producer Brad Hall are maestros of comedy, but behind the scenes they get serious about their green home, energy independence and the personal satisfaction of their sustainable lifestyle.

You may recall the famous “Seinfeld” episode in which Russell Dalrimple, a shallow TV executive, becomes so love-struck with Elaine Benes that he joins Greenpeace in a preposterous effort to win her heart. “When I go back to her this time, she’ll respect me,” he muses aboard a Greenpeace dingy that’s chasing a whaling ship. Dalrimple’s plan fails miserably when he is struck by a whaler’s stray harpoon, tumbles overboard and meets his maker at the bottom of the sea.

As with most Seinfeld episodes, there are more layers of humor than meet the eye. In this case, it is art imitating life: Elaine’s real-life counterpart, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, would not only have endorsed Dalrimple’s mission, she might’ve climbed into the dinghy alongside him.

Since well before Julia joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1982 and Seinfeld in 1990, she has been, in her words, “a card-carrying environmentalist and a bleeding-heart liberal.” And she has the track record to prove it — having been actively involved with nearly a dozen environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Heal the Bay, National Parks Conservation Association, Trust for Public Land and Waterkeeper Alliance.

And there’s one more ironic layer to the story: The man who actually did win Julia’s heart, Brad Hall, has more than a few things in common with Dalrimple (not, of course, his foibles or misfortunes): Brad is a TV executive who has written and produced shows ranging from “The Single Guy” to “Frasier.” He also is an eco-crusader of the sort who could easily be convinced to wrangle with whaling ships. Among his green efforts, Brad helps lead the effort at the Environmental Media Association to get wasteful and energy-guzzling Hollywood studios to streamline their operations.

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