By Galen Hawthorne - Last Friday night the legendary comedian Yakov Smirnoff filled the Sondheim center with amazing energy. As one of fifteen shows in his "Happily Ever Laughter" tour he not only performed brilliant family-friendly stand-up but also taught the audience a lesson about integrating love and laughter into all aspects of their lives. He blends his bachelors' degree in art and masters' degree in psychology into a warm and insightful comedy routine with striking visual elements and a surprisingly educational message about giving and receiving joy.
The Russian ex-patriot's show is a biography of sorts, going over his school days in Soviet Russia, his family's entrance to the United States, his painting career, his graduate schooling and life with his wife and kids. Throughout the entire process he makes sure to always give the spectators things to laugh and feel good about. Even though he had already met with VIPs before going on stage, at one point in the show he stopped completely so the audience had an opportunity to ask questions and "Make it something no one has seen before."
Smirnoff still has two more stops on his tour, in Fort Myers, Florida and Hot Springs, Arkansas and his show in Branson, Missouri resumes in October. He also teaches classes at Missouri State University and Drury University in Springfield. If you have the opportunity, don't miss it. As Smirnoff puts it, "You'll laugh your Yak-off."
On Wednesday's Up to Date, KCUR 89.3FM talks with the comedian about his humor, the years he's spent in Branson and why he's leaving to go on tour. Click here to listen to an archive of the show.
Comedian Yakov Smirnoff in studio to talk about his career after the fall of the Soviet Union. Click here to listen to an archive of the show.
If Yakov Smirnoff has his way, he'll laugh himself right out of a job. He's on a mission to save us from ourselves by spreading the gift of glee.
Comedy has been the saving grace for the Russian expat who came to America in 1977 with his parents, no English language skills and no money.
Armed with wit, grit and determination... read more »
As a child, comedian Yakov Smirnoff didn't understand the depth of laughter. He knew when he heard laughter that it made him feel safe and accepted and loved.
Now, after many years of listening to people laugh, he's truly understands how important comedy can be.
"I love making people laugh. It has a very spiritual property," Smirnoff said... read more »