Melissa Villaseñor is making television history…
The 28-year-old stand-up comedian and former America’s Got Talent has joined the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, making her the first Latina cast member in the sketch comedy show’s 41 years on the air.
Villaseñor, best known as a Top 16 finalist in season six of America’s Got Talent, has been working as a standup comedian across the country for more than 10 years.
After auditioning for the show in 2009 without success, Villaseñor was determined to work on her craft, knowing that – given another opportunity – she would return.
“SNL is one of the main reasons why I started comedy at 15 and I pray to be there someday when I am ready and have even more to offer,” she said seven years ago. “I am very thankful for that experience and will always keep working at new impressions as well as my standup comedy.”
SNL boss Lorne Michaels, for his part, gave her and other Hispanic comedians a chance to prove their worth when SNL’s Broadway Video – along with NBC Universal Telemundo – launched Más Mejor, a studio and comedy network aimed at discovering and cultivating Latino talent earlier this year.
Villaseñor was a major player and used the opportunity to strengthen her skills, including her impersonations of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez.
She also previously lent her voice to Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and also has worked on Family Guy and Comedy Central’s Trip Tank.
Villaseñor will make her debut in the SNL season premiere on October 1.