Rusty Sarhan
Contestant

Hometown: Mobile, AL

What drew you to doing impressions? I have a very animated family. A story about an old lady grocery shopping could turn into an energetic, elaborate, and detailed description about her hair bouncing up and down in the wind.

My dad was always watching cartoons and movies with me. It amazed me that the voices on the screen were coming from real people. I would do impressions of those characters to my mom and dad and they would end up needing to change their shorts like 23 times from laughing so hard.

In high school, I started noticing I had a large gathering of people during lunch asking me to "DO SHARON OSBOURNE! DO MS. PIGGY!" I liked having the ability to take their minds off of stressful situations like their next test, or if their girlfriend would text back or not.

Eventually, more people figured out I could do impressions. Every time someone came up to me, they immediately had a huge smile on their face (usually with food stuck in their teeth) and they couldn't wait to laugh. Being able to have a gift that allows me to bring such happiness to people has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've known.

Who was your comedic inspiration? Jim Carrey has always been one of my biggest inspirations; mostly because he has a great beard. But in a speech he gave to a graduating class at his alma mater, he said, "You could fail at doing something you don't want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love." Whether he realizes it or not, he can say very few words and make a positive impact on very many people. Jimmy Fallon is another inspiration. I remember sitting in on his monologue rehearsal for his show in New York and during his jokes everyone was laughing, except for me. I was so glued that I didn't want to blink in fear that I would miss what he did next. He probably thought I didn't get his punchlines.

Why do you think you’ll be America’s favorite impressionist? The most important thing to me right now is making my parents proud. I'm their only child and I know being away from them every day is very hard. I want them to know that I'm doing what I love to do so hopefully one day I can pay them back for all of the gas they spent to buy video games that rotted my brain. I think I have an unexpected range of impressions to offer to America, and also a few unique ones people may have never heard before.

Check out Rusty's Twitter and YouTube!