Julia Louis-Dreyfus says she never considered quitting HBO’s Veep after being diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer last year. “Oh, no,” Louis-Dreyfus tells the Washington Post in a candid interview. “I love making people laugh, and I love making people cry even, and I find the pursuit of a truthful performance to be deeply satisfying to my core.”

Still, the former Seinfeld star says, the illness and treatment proved more debilitating than she’d ever imagined. Production of the seventh and final season – set to premiere in spring of 2019 – was delayed.

“Originally, I had this idea, ‘Well, we’ll shoot in between my chemo treatments’…But I got really ill, so I couldn’t have ever shot anything during that period of time.”

The multiple-Emmy winning Louis-Dreyfus will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center this Sunday, and spoke to WaPo in advance of the honor.

Among the highlights of the interview:

  • Asked how her illness changed her perspective on life, Louis-Dreyfus says, “You know what, I can’t quite answer that, because I feel like I’m still a little bit in the throes of it. Except what I would say about the fragility of life, as tropey as that sounds — I really do feel like, I guess people die. You go through life not considering the eventual reality that you’re going to bite the dust, and so is everybody around you.”
  • On her fourth-grade debut as an actress: “I was in some silly show, and I was supposed to faint. I was a queen, and it wasn’t meant to be funny, but I fainted, and everybody laughed, and I remember thinking, ‘I didn’t know why they laughed but I liked how they laughed.’ ”
  • On her 1982-85 stint on Saturday Night Live: “Nothing I did was good.”
  • On meeting Veep director Armando Iannucci in 2010: “This is going to sound strange but it sounded like really ripe, low-hanging fruit that no one had tried to pick. Of course, a female vice president. It’s a perfect metaphor for being a woman and for ambition and everything. It’s conflict built in, and it’s ideal comedically. I couldn’t believe it. I met with Arm, and I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, I really hope I get this.’”