Melissa Rauch
"Big Bang Theory" star Melissa Rauch makes waves with her extreme gymnastics sex scene in "The Bronze," which premiered at Sundance. Reuters

Melissa Rauch is taking a very big step away from her character Bernadette on CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” to play a booze-swilling, pot-smoking, raunchy-sex-having gymnast in the new movie “The Bronze.” The flick premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival.

Critics are split over the film, which was co-written by Rauch, but they all seem to agree on one key aspect – it’s pretty sexy. As Entertainment Weekly notes, the movie carries with it a soon-to-be infamous gymnastic sex scene between Rauch and co-star Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The scene stands out for incorporating full-on gymnastic moves.

Anyone who is a fan of Rauch’s character in “The Big Bang Theory” will likely be as taken aback by her writing. So it might be a good idea to get to know the actress who brings sweet Bernadette to life. Check out five facts about Melissa Rauch:

Stand-Up Beginnings

Before she was cast on “The Big Bang Theory,” the now 34-year-old got her acting chops as a stand-up comedian in New York City. She secured gigs while attending college at Marymount Manhattan College, according to TV Guide. Although she’s an actress-writer now, she recently spoke to Conan O’Brien about wanting to do stand-up comedy since she was a little girl (video below).

One-Woman Show

Rauch didn’t really turn heads in the business until 2005 with her one-woman stage show “The Miss Education of Jenna Bush.” The New York Times gave a shining review to the political satire, in which Rauch portrayed an exaggerated version of the former president’s daughter on her first day as a public school teacher. The play was perpetually sold out during its New York run. According to her IMDb profile, the show gained accolades including the Fringe Award for Outstanding Solo Show and TheaterMania's Audience Favorite Award.

Married Life

Believe it or not, the star of one of the raunchiest sex scenes in recent memory is married. What does her husband, Winston Rauch, think of her role in “The Bronze”? Odds are good he’s OK with it since he co-wrote the script with her. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the two will work together to pen the script to a multicamera comedy called “If We’re Not Married by 30.”

A 'Big Bang Theory' Fan

Fans of the CBS sitcom will remember that Rauch didn’t become a full-time cast member until Season 4, though her character, Bernadette, had been introduced in Season 3. In an interview with Sequential Tart she revealed she’d been following the comedy even before her audition.

“I was so excited to walk on that set, in Season 3, after watching it for a couple years already,” she said. “It was like I was a big fangirl walking around trying to play it cool. I don't think people knew I was a fan of the show for a little while.”

It turns out that even if her taste in comedy is a bit more refined than what the sitcom is known for, she’s thrilled to be a part of it.

Maxim Hot 100

In 2014 the funny lady posed for Maxim magazine and made its famous "Hot 100" list for the year. A running joke on "The Big Bang Theory" is just how far Howard is out of his league by being with someone who looks like Bernadette. After checking out her Maxim photo shoot, it's hard to argue with that assessment.