Comedian event raises money for USU’s SEED program

Making people laugh is hard work, and entering the entertainment world as a young woman is even harder, according to one comedian. Thursday night, Utah State University’s Huntsman School of Business

<a href=”http://huntsman.usu.edu/seed/”>SEED (Small Enterprise Education and Development) Program</a>

hosted impressionist and comedian 24-year-old Melissa Villasenor, who was the 16th finalist on the TV show America’s Got Talent. The event raised $2,000 for SEED, which give small business loans to people of developing countries. It also gave northern Utahns a taste of the up-and-coming in the entertainment world. The audience enjoyed her performance so much they not only gave a standing ovation, but sat back down afterward demanding more comedy. “That was really sweet, that really made me happy that people stood up,” Villasenor said. “I enjoy coming to Utah because the people are so fun.” Aside from her success on America’s Got Talent, Villasenor has also done impressions on Frank TV on TBS, a voiceover on the TV show Family Guy, and Adventure Time on Cartoon Network. But Utah is not a stranger to Villasenor. Occasionally, she performs at the

<a href=”http://www.wiseguyscomedy.com”>Wiseguys Comedy Café</a>

, with locations in Ogden, West Valley, Salt Lake and Orem. Despite Villasenor’s talent for impersonating celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Kathy Griffin and Owen Wilson, becoming a successful comedian in a male-dominated field has been challenging. “When I realized I wanted to stand-up, it was tough at the beginning because I didn’t really get respect,” Villasenor said. “Comics would say, ‘Great, here’s another vagina,’ or something crude. It always made me feel nervous and uncomfortable when I’m already nervous.” Villasenor said she just pushed through with it, never letting it get to her, and never getting angry at her critics. “I just did my thing and proved myself, and after they didn’t make fun of me,” Villasenor said. “They gave me more respect. But starting out was tough as a female comic. I think it is only a bother if you let it be.” While Villasenor is making her way, she said she feels she’s had to become more of a ‘tomboy’ in the male-dominated world and that she can’t be ‘super girly.’ Learning the trade, however, had little to with her gender. Growing up in a lower-income home, Villasenor said luxuries like cable TV weren’t available, giving her the opportunity and motivation to practice. “I think it is important for every person to have some suffering. I think all my writing comes from that,” Villasenor said. “While my friends were crushing on Disney and Nickelodeon actors, I had the basic 11 channels and had a crush on the local weatherman. ” At the age of fifteen, Villasenor began doing standup. But as she got older, in order to make an income, she took whatever job she could, from working at a miniature golf course and a retail position at the store Forever 21. “Comedy is hard work. I tape people I want to do impressions of, study and study them, and then practice their voices,” Villasenor said. “I tape myself and play back until I get it right.” She is now enjoying the early stages of success as a comic. After her Seattle audition on

<a href=”http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/video/ep-602-melissa-villasenor/1332283″>America’s Got Talent</a>

, her

<a href=”https://www.facebook.com/#!/Melissacomedy”>Facebook</a>

and

<a href=”http://twitter.com/#!/melissavpees”>Twitter</a>

accounts exploded with new followers. In 2012, she will begin a college comedy tour. Check the schedule at her

<a href=”http://www.wix.com/melissavcomedy/mv”>website</a>

. Villasenor said since she will be spending a lot of time traveling and in hotels by herself, she will be documenting her life on the road on

<a href=”http://www.youtube.com/user/melissav87″>YouTube</a>

in a series titled “The Happy Loner.” Her future goals include being on a late night show like Conan O’Brien and her ultimate dream is being on the cast of Saturday Night Live (SNL). “Being on SNL has been a dream since I was a little kid, that’s number one for sure,” Villasenor said. “I get scared to hope because it could crush my dream, but that would be so fun.” To see when Villasenor will perform again at Wiseguys Comedy Café, go to the

<a href=”http://www.wiseguyscomedy.com/calendar.php”>calendar</a>

. Learn more about Villasenor at

<a href=”http://www.wix.com/melissavcomedy/mv”>melissavcomedy.com</a>

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