When it was announced that Melissa Villaseñor would be leaving Saturday Night Live before the show’s current 48th season, it came as a surprise to fans. The actress’s gift for impressions of stars like Dolly Parton and others were popular, so her exit after six seasons was something of a head-scratcher — and came around the time of other high-profile exits, like Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson.
However, in a new interview with The Daily Beast podcast The Last Laugh, Villaseñor revealed it was her decision to walk.
“At the end of the day it was about my mental health,” the comedian and author of the new book Whoops…I’m Awesome says.
She continues, “Last season, I had a couple of panic attacks … I was struggling. I always felt like I was on the edge of a cliff every week. And I was like, ‘I don’t want to be doing that to myself anymore.'”
Villaseñor continued, “And it’s not like the show was mean towards me or anyone. It was just how I handle things. I think I’m an introvert. When I’m in a big group of a lot of amazing people, and everyone’s speaking over everyone else, I think I tend to get small … That’s how I was in high school, too. And so I think that’s what caused it.”
Melissa says it was “super hard” to “part ways” with the show, because she loves SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels and was “so grateful” she got a chance to be part of it. “I shared with them that this was … all I wanted as a kid. So I’m going to carry that forever in my heart, that I got to experience that in my life.”
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