In recent months, audiences have often criticized Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik for how she conducted herself as the sometimes host of Jeopardy!, the long-running game show. However, none of those criticisms have been as cruel as the old Saturday Night Live skit in which cast member Melanie Hutsell wore a huge prosthetic nose in order to mock Bialik. But all’s well that ends smell: Entertainment Weekly reports that the SNL star was forced to do the skit under threat of getting fired and that Mayim Bialik has since forgiven her.
“I was absolutely horrified that they wanted me to wear a prosthetic nose to play Mayim Bialik’s character.”-Melanie Hutsell on impersonating Mayim Bialik for Saturday Night Live
If that particular Saturday Night Live skit doesn’t sound familiar, don’t worry: your memory isn’t playing tricks on you. The skit in question aired in 1994, which was long before Mayim Bialik’s career was revived by Big Bang Theory. At the time, a teenage Bialik was at the height of her fame thanks to the popular sitcom Blossom, and the skit was intended to generally make fun of that show and to specifically mock that show’s young star.
“I wonder how those girls felt when they saw an actress playing me with a comically prosthetic nose.”-Mayim Bialik on the impersonation of her on Saturday Night Live
The SNL actor chosen to skewer Mayim Bialik in this meanspirited way was Melanie Hutsell. The comedian wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the skit: as she recently reflected, “I was absolutely horrified that they wanted me to wear a prosthetic nose to play Mayim Bialik’s character” and “I knew it was wrong.” Unfortunately for Hutsell, “when I expressed that I did not want to wear the prosthetic nose for the sketch, I was told if I refused, I would be fired.”
Morally speaking, this really put Melanie Hutsell between a rock and a hard place. She didn’t want to wear a giant prosthetic nose to mock Mayim Bialik because “I had and have always had a strong moral compass,” but as a young actor trying to put food on her own table, “I didn’t have the strength to refuse to do the sketch after I was told I would be fired.”
Looking back, Hutsell regrets not taking a firmer stance and says “If I could go back and change history, I would have refused to wear the prosthetic nose and taken the risk of losing my job” because “That would have been the right thing to do.”
Mayim Bialik says she forgives former Saturday Night Live cast member Melanie Hutsell for the cruel impersonation of her in 1994.
Mayim Bialik recently opened up about that skit, saying she “felt ashamed” about the skit. The star also mentioned the seeming antisemitism of the sketch and how it made her worry about the many Jewish girls in her fandom: “I wonder how those girls felt when they saw an actress playing me with a comically prosthetic nose.”
While Melanie Hutsell has publicly expressed remorse for the skit numerous times over the years, she is particularly grateful for Mayim Bialik’s willingness to forgive her when they ran into each other at an audition a decade after that Saturday Night Live episode. Hutsell recalls how much mocking a teenage girl on live television “haunted me for years” and that she felt a sense of relief when she apologized directly to Bialiki and received “I release you!” in response. We’re happy these two actors were able to make up, and we’re even happier that future Jeopardy! star Mayim Bialik didn’t require the apology to be expressed in the form of a question.