Melissa Villaseñor Opens Up About Why She Left ‘Saturday Night Live’

Melissa Villasenor on SNL
Will Heath/NBC

Former Saturday Night Live star Melissa Villaseñor has shed some light on her decision to leave the long-running NBC series after six seasons, noting her battle with mental health as a determining factor.

Speaking on The Daily Beast‘s Last Laugh podcast, the comedian said, “It was my decision. I gave myself a lot of time in the summer to think on it and play it out in my head. At the end of the day, it was about my mental health. Last season, I had a couple panic attacks. I was struggling, and I always felt like I was on the edge of a cliff every week. I was like, ‘I don’t want to do that to myself anymore.'”

Villaseñor joined SNL at the start of Season 42 in 2016 and is known for performing a number of celebrity impersonations, including Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Dolly Parton, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She was one of eight cast members to exit the sketch series ahead of its 48th season, alongside Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Pete Davidson, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd, and Aristotle Athari.

“It’s not like the show was mean toward me or anyone,” Villaseñor continued before explaining that she’s an “introvert” who tends to “get small” when in overwhelming situations, like she experienced on SNL.

“I get nervous, like, ‘Where do I fit? What am I supposed to do?’… I think that’s what caused it,” she added. “There was just something telling me I could part ways. It was super hard, because I love Lorne [Michaels], and I’m so grateful to all of them for having me. This was my kid dream. This was all I wanted as a kid. I carry that forever in my heart that I got to experience that in my life.”

Saturday Night Live, Season 48, Saturdays, 11:30/10:30c, NBC