Melissa Rauch has captured the attention of many and the heart of Howard Wolowitz when she got the role of Bernadette Rostenkowski on The Big bang Theory. We love her sweet voice combined with her witty and spunky character. Many also know that she voiced Howard’s mother, which we never get to see, but we sure remember that voice. But it’s time you found out Melissa’s backstory because it’s actually quite fascinating.
Melissa has shared in many interviews that her love for comedy started at a very young age. She was still in primary school when she started doing her first stand-up routines for the school’s show and tell. That’s right when other kids would be excited about showing off a particularly colorful shell they found on the beach during a family vacation, Melissa would try her best to recreate stand-up routines she’s seen on TV.
Speaking of stand-up routines, Melissa’s parents definitely had a unique approach to upbringing. They wouldn’t allow young Melissa to stay up late, but they would happily tape the late-night comedy specials for her so that she could enjoy watching them during the day. Quite a refreshing way of thinking, right?
This, of course, led to quite a few calls from school, with teachers complaining that Melissa was behaving in strange ways and doing some inappropriate jokes. Melissa has since cleared up in interviews that she didn’t even truly understand that the jokes were inappropriate, she would just copy her idols like Whoopie Goldberg and walk around the class pointing at her crotch shouting “over here” in a thick accent. She spent a lot of her school years working on her comedy skills, she even did stand-up routines inspired by Ellen Degeneres as a 7-year-old.
When Melissa finished high school she decided to pack her stuff and move from New Jersey to New York City to study at the Marymount Manhattan College. This was a time for her where she not only polished her comedic talent but also became a professionally trained actress and performer.
She had her challenges along the way. Because of her thick New Jersey accent, Melissa was told she can’t perform Shakespeare, which must’ve been pretty upsetting. However, Melissa dealt with that by enrolling into a dialect class that helped her not only solve the problem of her own accent but also taught her how to mimic other accents. In a matter of weeks, she was doing perfect impressions of famous celebrities, which is definitely a handy skill for every performer.
College is also when she met her writing partner Winston Beigel. The two of them figured out that they had a pretty similar sense of humor and a similar goal in life, so they immediately started collaborating and writing projects together. Melissa jokes that when they became writing partners they were barely even friends. It was a truly unique partnership that turned into a friendship and later turned into love, as the two ended up getting married and have two kids together.
Melissa’s career didn’t start to take off for a while. She had to work as a waitress for a while so that she would have a steady income and still have time for her passion project. Writing was a great distraction from the failed auditions and jobs that were short and sporadic at best. Having a partner who was happy to write with her definitely helped. In fact, she eventually ended up writing a one-woman show that got her an agent. This was her chance to move to LA, so Melissa and her partner took the plunge and moved closer to Hollywood.
Getting jobs here and there in Hollywood was proving to be a challenge too. She’d get roles, only for the projects to fall through, or it would be a one-time appearance. At one point Melissa even attempted to get a job as a hand model and didn’t get it. It was a pretty low blow. Melissa was actually at the unemployment office when she got a call for the audition for The Big Band Theory.
She has been a fan of the show before she even got the role, so when she was cast as Bernadette she was super grateful and fully convinced that it was just a one-time appearance. But the writers and creators of the show loved Melissa and her work, so pretty soon she got a recurring role on the show that lasted for nearly a decade.
The role of Bernadette was not only the biggest breakthrough for Melissa but also her ticket into other interesting projects. Over the years Melissa has done a lot of voice over for animated movies including Ice Age. She also never gave up writing and eventually got to make her own movie called the Bronze, about an Olympic gymnast who won third place once and then found herself living in her parents’ basement. We’re pretty sure that this is still just the tip of the iceberg for Melissa and can’t wait to see what other projects she has in store for the future.