“From Russia with Laughs” Interview w/ Famous Russian Comic Yakov Smirnoff

“Wow” this was a fun interview, Yakov Smirnoff was relaxing in Bali, and got on the phone with me to share stories from all our years working together. He has gone on to have a Doctorate in Psychology and continues to entertain millions from his own theater in Branson Missouri. We had a nice chat and then I found an old recording of a song he released in the late 80’s called “What A Country” (his catch phrase) and it is full of jokes… Enjoy!
He did really great standup comedy.

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Podcast Transcript:

Announcer: 

This is another episode of stand up comedy, your host and emcee, celebrating 40 plus years on the fringe of show business, stories, interviews and comedy sets from the famous and not so famous. Here’s your host and emcee Scott and words.

Scott Edwards: 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this week’s episode of stand up comedy, your host and emcee and this week’s interview is something extra special. These days he is known as Dr. Smirnoff. But back when I met him, he had just finished some work on the Black Sea as a Russian comic. And he’s here with us today all the way from Bali, which we’re going to find out why, ladies and gentlemen, it’s yuck off. schmear. Na.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yeah, oh, wow. You got a big house? Yeah. Yeah,

Scott Edwards: 

we bring out all the crowd when we have a big star like you, sir.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Oh, and I tell you your club, in my memory is one of the best audiences you pack them in downtown Sacramento, you kind of it has a low ceiling. So all the laughter was captured in there. And for a young, comparatively young comedian who didn’t really have a lot of experience in American with American audiences that was so helpful to have that kind of feedback.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, it was really a pleasure to not only meet you and be able to present you on the stage. And we have some great memories of working with you both onstage and offstage. But before we dive into the laughs, unlimited years, we should let the audience listeners know that don’t know you, as well as I do that. In 19. Before 1977 You are already a stand up comic, but in Russia, correct? Correct? Correct. Yes. And you were working with cruise ships on the Black Sea?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

That’s correct. Yes. Yes. Die, call it the love barge? Yes.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, that had to be quite a bit different than working in America. Just real quick. What was it like we’re doing comedy in a communist country?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Um, well, it was challenging. However, we did not know any better. So I just, I knew that there was like, a couple of comedians who were communist party approved comedians. And they were on the radio or on television. And they were funny. And their materials, again, everything owned by the Communist Party, everything owned by the government, but the Communist Party was in charge of all the censorship of people and, and, and comedy was one of those aspects that were, you know, they had to control otherwise, it was too dangerous, because it can create an insurrection.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, there’s there’s really no such thing as free speech. In fact, you used to joke about there wasn’t there? In reality, a department of jokes?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

That’s correct. Yeah. Minister of Culture, had Department of Music, Department of Dance Department of humor. And we had to be humor, but I call it department of jokes, because the bureaucrats are sitting there and deciding what’s going to be heard by the public. And they, they, you know, they were bureaucrats, so they would cancel anything. Well, it sounds like I’m talking about Twitter right now. They had that’s what they were doing. They made unilateral decisions on what was funny, what was not funny, what are people supposed to hear what not. And so we but again, we didn’t know any better. You know, so we were coming into this deal knowing that if you want to do stand up comedy, you will be I mean, there was no clubs, like, you know, laughs Unlimited, or it was all government owned theaters and, you know, arenas where they would put you in the government. So they want to make sure that you are not proved it that you’re, you’re safe. And so they censored does ever Every one of us, and then that the informers who were in every of those venues, they were their job was to monitor you. So you don’t veer off this trip. And you if you do that, you know, they, they will punish you, whether they just fire you or cancel you, or whatever it is that. And so everybody knew that and everybody was kind of the game. Everybody knew the game. So backstage, there’s a backstage, you and I could tell some jokes to each other, if I trusted you. But otherwise, onstage, I would be very scripted to be pro Communist Party, Pro. Government fraud, nothing against no political

Scott Edwards: 

humor, and you couldn’t do any improv or interact with the Oh,

Yakov Smirnoff: 

no. Yeah, no, not.

Scott Edwards: 

So one of the things I don’t know, and I know a lot about you, because we’ve known each other a long, long time. Because you came to me, and even though you were still learning English, and still getting your feet settled in America, How long had you done comedy before? 1977?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Oh, I’m gonna, I’m gonna kind of I’m going to age myself right there. I started

Scott Edwards: 

to just fib, who cares?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Okay, I started when I was 15. I was 16. I left, I left the Soviet Union when I was 26. So I was pre established, doing the pretty big venues up to like, 4000 people Wow. Around the country, you know, but again, it’s different there. Whatever the government wanted you to see. They just you don’t advertise you don’t I mean, you just, you just they put you on the radio or on television. And then you become pretty, you know, pretty well known. And then people just show up,

Scott Edwards: 

because you can promote or market right? Well, no, no, no, that’s all fascinating. But of course, our experience together came along a bit later in 1977. You came over to the US but you didn’t speak any English. And used to talk about that you kind of didn’t you kind of learn English off of television.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yeah, and I had a good teacher Andrew Dice Clay, but was my roommate. Oh, yeah. He was teaching me all the nursery rhymes. Yeah, absolutely. i That’s how I was learning English. I learned more than average people. Every person who goes to school, you know,

Scott Edwards: 

your teachers, Andrew Dice Clay. That’s hilarious.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. So I was very well, when you met me, I was probably 17 Nine. I’m guessing because prior to that, I barely spoke English. So by the time I got to you, I was already doing the Comedy Store. And I was I was kind of getting my feet wet. But it definitely was baby steps. And you were very, very kind to let this poor immigrants on stage and and then we had some big success with that.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, yeah, you were one of my great discoveries when you first came to work for me with by the way was in 1980. And you were I believe you started as a featured act I don’t think you ever opened for me but you featured a couple times. And then you were quickly a headliner because your humor and back then if you remember, you would do a dance and a song and it was a it was a big production and people loved it. And because you were so good, and in grew so fast with my audience. I took advantage of that. Not only did you work all my clubs for over, I don’t know two or three times a year, but I brought you in for one of our big New Year’s shows. And then you did one of the concerts with Jerry Seinfeld.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yes, remember them? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Good Old Days.

Scott Edwards: 

So what do you remember about working with me and try to be kind and laughs unlimited.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I will Be Kind Absolutely. I was when you reached out to me and said, What are the memories? Well, the good stuff I already mentioned, you know, that we were dealing, you know, with great crowds and, and having such a responsive audience helped me grow my act and all of that. So that that was very helpful. And, and then there was the offstage life where you had three comedians in one condo. And and so the and we were all horny, single guys, most of the time. And so I had some wild stuff that probably, you probably maybe didn’t hear about.

Scott Edwards: 

It maybe better than I didn’t.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

either. You did. Yeah. And so I have a good memory, some stressful, but what it was definitely a production in terms of like, performing at night. And then and then kind of during the day, meeting people and saying, Hey, you want to come see my show? You know, it’s like, and and then little by little, I was more and more confident. And I I had some really good, good memories from dating. Couple of ladies in Sacramento.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, yeah, that that’s the part I’m probably not aware of. I was going to mention that. We did like taking comics that we liked, like yourself. And I know we took you bowling. And you were at I don’t know if you remember this, but I had a pool party for my son’s very first birthday. And you were you came over for the pool party. Do you remember going to the ranch?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I? I do I do remember? Yes. Yes. Yes. I remember that. And we

Scott Edwards: 

didn’t invite everybody aka viewer special.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Oh, well, thank you. I do recall that that was very nice. I appreciate it. And yeah, all of that got man. A lot, you know, all of that. When you’re starting out in a new country with and here’s this American guys are American, the owner of the club that, you know, kind of takes you under his wing. That’s a big deal. You know, I I’m I owe a lot to, you know, Mr. Shorter, as you know, but and, and I owe a lot to a couple of other club owners, but they’re very few that were personable. So when you reached out and said, Can you can you spare an hour? It’s a pleasure to to talk to

Scott Edwards: 

you. Well, thank you. And I have to be honest, I was a pretty sharp businessman, I took advantage of your talent on several occasions. In fact, I alluded to it earlier. One of my big successes was I leased out the Sacramento Convention Center Theater, which holds about 2200 people. And on Thanksgiving Eve, we did a packed out show. And it was you opening and then Jerry Seinfeld and it was just amazing experience to not only be able to produce a successful concert that big cut to have to burgeoning stars, like you and Jerry was just so exciting for us.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yeah, yeah. No, I think it’s, I think it’s great that you included me and so good for you for seeing this into the future and, and grooming the talent that you have grown?

Scott Edwards: 

Well, it was all my pleasure. In fact, another one I mentioned was New Year’s Eve, you were amazing on one of our New Year’s Eve shows, but we should move on from that because you’ve had quite a career. I have a very good friend of mine, Harry Anderson, who was one of the best comic magicians. Yeah, people may recognize he was a semi regular on cheers. But then he had his own show. Night Court and I know that you and he became fast friends and he had you on yo quite a bit. Yeah.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yeah, seven, seven episodes every year they had me on which was again, a blessing that that put me on the map when you have such a great cast and, and good riders and all of that and so I owe that as well. And Harry, it’s to shame the team. He is no longer with us. But he was a great talent and a great friend.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah. And I thought it was really, it came across in the show, but I knew because I was behind the scenes, but you guys became good friends and he kind of looked out for you. And I think that those appearances on nikecourt helps your burgeoning career now, did you enjoy doing TV comedy sitcom comedy?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I did. I did before, especially that show. Riney week he was the executive producer in the head writer. And they’re very clever concept very good writing. And so yeah, I was looking forward every year to come back. And was sad when the show went off the air. But die dye herring, I stayed friends and saw each other. He moved to New Orleans. And we went my wife at that time. We visited him several times. And so yeah, it was definitely a major impact in my career. No question about

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah. And now going from live stage to sitcom comedy. Was that an easy transition? Did you find acting? I mean, you I remember watching the shows, you seem like you did really well, was it difficult.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I was lucky, because first episode that I did on that show, was directed by T SandRidge, who I became friends with after that now, last 35 years, we’ve been friends, he’s 89, this month, and he was a brilliant director. So he made it very easy to understand the acting aspects of it, and made it look very natural. And so So it started me there. You know, prior to that, I did, I think I did. Mosque on the Hudson Bay before that. Maybe

Scott Edwards: 

I was. Yeah, I was about to get to that. Because on nikecourt, one of the things I thought was made it extra comfortable for you, I think was you were playing yourself. You were playing a Russian

Yakov Smirnoff: 

mirror. That’s right. That’s right. It’s right. Yes.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah. And I think that it helped kind of get you that transition from live entertainment into acting. But to catch the audience up that not only did you appear on that sitcom, but you are on many talk shows, including Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. Yeah. Which led to let’s list the movies. Moscow in the Hudson, Brewster’s millions, one of my favorites, Buckaroo, Bonzai and Money Pit. I mean, that’s not a bad lineup of movies.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yeah, and there was one more it was with Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. heartburn. Oh, I burned those two. Yeah, I was in depth as well.

Scott Edwards: 

And was were movies a lot different than TV.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

It was, it was different because there was no live audience. And on TV live audience still gave you that element of stand up, because you could hear the immediate response to what you’re doing.

Scott Edwards: 

Right, right. That’s interesting. Yeah, sitcoms are shot before a live audience. But of course in MRV, I find sometimes

Yakov Smirnoff: 

a year yeah. It’s just to see how much how much they filmed and how much they kept.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, I bet that was interesting. Because they usually do several takes. Brewster’s millions was I think a cute movie. I really enjoyed a Moscow in the Hudson with Robin Williams is famous. Yeah, Buckaroo Banzai. I was a little bit more out there. But what was funny about that it was Didn’t you play the president?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

It was out there. I don’t even actually mention it even in my intro, because it’s just it has a cult following. I didn’t have a clue. You know, I it was actually my first movie. Before much going to happen.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, real. Well, what was extra funny about that if you didn’t recall, but Buckaroo Banzai i What, what the joke was, is that the President of the United States was you a Russian?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Well, it was I was not the president. Oh, I was the first like Henry Kissinger like so. Yeah. So whatever that was like,

Scott Edwards: 

right. I really, okay. You are a really high position. I just that was a joke, and I thought it was fun. Yeah, and, but it is kind of a strange movie.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen The whole movie honestly, I, I get to my part, and then I go, Okay, I’m done. You know, I couldn’t understand that, you know, but it was a good, it’s still at least gave me a start, you know?

Scott Edwards: 

Oh no, it definitely did. And as we’ve already alluded to, you had a lot of success, dropping in on sitcoms and being on talk shows, and then that led movies, but all things adjust and change. And I think what was fascinating about your career, which I’ve followed fairly closely, was that after the television and movies, there was a shift in the country as far as comedy went, and you opened your own theatre in Branson, Missouri, right? Yes, correct. Correct. That’s a big, scary investment. Well,

Yakov Smirnoff: 

he was yes, it was scary. However, it was, like an emergency landing. Because I probably was most affected by the change. It wasn’t just a shift in comedy. It was shifted in this the Soviet Union collapse. And I was associated directly with, with the Soviet Union, even though my comedy at that point evolved. And I, I talked about my life and my family and all of that. But, as So David Letterman, had a top 10 list on the night of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the top 10 list. I was number one on that list.

Scott Edwards: 

Yakov Smirnoff, out of a job.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Exactly, exactly. What the changes that will now happen. And number one Yaga Smyrna will be out to work. Yeah. And I was laughing I thought, come on, you know, I’m established. I have contracts in Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno Tahoe. I’m, what are you talking about? Right. And then six months later, and none of my contracts? None. were renewed

Scott Edwards: 

renew. No. Yes. Tear out an overreaction. And we should tell the audience that you were not just the quote unquote, Russian comic, but you got in really well with President Reagan, wasn’t it? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You in prison, or eigene stood up there and said, Take down that wall.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Kind of Yeah, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t get involved. And that wasn’t my but that but they been very, the White House and the President Reagan like that Soviet humor. And I used it a lot in. So they would reach out to me. When Reagan was going to Moscow for the first time. They reached out to me and they said, You know, I really at that time mad, depress them and feel like the jokes but they said, Would you mind writing sub jokes for the speech? And I’m thinking, Well, if this doesn’t work, I don’t have any countries to go through. But, but I did write some jokes. They like them, they put them in the speech. And then they said, Would you mind reading the speech to see, you know, the tone of it is correct. And I said, Okay. You know, again, we’re dealing with like, how, how is the guy who lived in a communal apartment, in the Soviet Union with and came to this country now? is reading a speech that the President is going to give it to you in Moscow, in front of all the politicians, and, and Gorbachev and all that. It just was mind blowing. But I agree that I read the speech, and I didn’t think it was appropriate to because they were kind of talking down to whoever wrote the speech. Yeah. And I said, I think you need to change the tone. I mean, the content is fine, but I think you need to put them on equal with your with yourself so that way you can you can make major progress and go a long way. You know, so they So Dana Rohrabacher, who was Congressman, later on in California, but but he was a head speechwriter for Ronald Reagan. So he said, Why don’t you rewrite it? And I’m like, going, Yes, you

Scott Edwards: 

rewrite the speech?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Well, I rewrote just the tone of it. I didn’t rewrite the whole thing was well written speech. It just was, it was just like, you know, saying that you need to learn how to be capitalist, you know, things like that. Right? And I’m like, going, are you talking about they’re in the tears? They’re totally done. Now opposite side, they’re not gonna. So I just changed it softness a little bit, and they liked it. And they kept it most of the changes. Wow. And the job?

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah. What a responsibility though that must have been really exciting. And at the same time, kind of a heavyweight?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yeah, very scary. I mean, and, and one of the jokes, because I was watching it, I was in Hollywood, and my home, and I was watching it. satellite broadcast. And Reagan open with my joke. And the joke was pretty benign, 3d. You know, cute joke. It was a joke that when, when somebody when a child is born in, in Russia, and angels will come down from disguise, and kiss that child, and if the child is kissed, on his forehead is going to be ingenious. And if he’s kissed and his lips, he’s going to be incredible speaker, and he’s kissing his hand is going to be outstanding artists. I don’t know what plays this angel kiss those powers your politicians, that they will not give up their seats.

Scott Edwards: 

Did it go over with the Russians?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Well, well, this was my problem on the scariest moment because no one laughs Oh, Joe. Yes. But I was so nervous. I forgot that they were waiting for the translation. None of those people spoke English at that time. And so they were waiting for the translation for those little headsets. And then there was like, the longest 30 seconds probably that I experienced it. And then the crowd went crazy. I went I went, I went to change my pants, you know, but but that’s, that was the reality that so I was very. When I look back on my career with movies and television and all of this. It’s hard to imagine that this was one person’s life, you know? And I’m proud of it. And that’s lucky, very lucky as well.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, you earned it though you had a lot of talent and being invited to work on a speech net. That means you’ve been to the White House a few times with Ronald Reagan now. Yeah. My wife, Jill works for the government. And we’ve luckily been invited to the White House a few times. But I can’t imagine the White House during the Reagan years there was so much going on. Yeah, that must have been pretty exciting in itself.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Oh, absolutely. I mean, I was, you know, and, and hearing your president telling, you know, that you’re a national treasure that, you know, I have that speech record that and it just hard, you know, to when you put that in perspective to where I started and where I was, at that time. It was it was hard to imagine, but it was American Dream. Yeah.

Scott Edwards: 

What it truly was the American dream and what an honor. Now we kind of shifted away from Branson. How long did you have the theatre in Branson? Missouri.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I still do. Oh, you doing? Oh, I do. Sir. I am probably one of the fortunate ones who can do stand up comedy of this year. crazy idea. The 100 shows this year.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, man. That’s amazing. And yeah, now it started off is the theater shows were based on you and your act in your life. But you went away from that or I mean, you expanded on that and brought in different kinds of shows, right?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Not really well, I did. I was still my show. But I at one point somewhere, the late 90s. I added Well, I’ve got there’s 93 So somewhere yeah, maybe or 2000 or so I added Russian dance group there just kind of break up, make it more of a variety show. So I was still carrying most of it. But it had a little bit. I had a sidekick. Who would, we would do some sketches. So just to mix it up a little bit. And then when, then I left again. See it, there was still, I was renting it for like, two years. So after abouts of China, and then the communists are still in charge. And then yeah, and then I went to Hollywood to kind of to do what I wanted to do is to I’ve been studying my attention after the whole Soviet Union collapsed. I switched my attention to relationships between men and women, because I figured that Cold War is not gonna end ever. I, I wanted job security. You know, I didn’t want David Letterman to pull the plug.

Scott Edwards: 

That were we’re not waiting for another top 10 list. Oh, that’s

Yakov Smirnoff: 

no, no, we’re not. So I’ve been so that became my focus. And I got my master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in psychology, and then proceeded and then I did a went to Hollywood do their PBS special that was named best show on PBS in 2016 and 17. So that gave me an opportunity to do this for a bigger audience. And then I decided to go back to Branson, because it still feels like home. Now I’ve been there 28 years.

Scott Edwards: 

Wow, that’s incredible. Run. Yeah, theater, Yaakov. Congratulations as a guy that produce shows for well off and on for the last 40 years. But consider for 21 years to be able to hold down and keep the theater door open. Yeah, yeah. For that year.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Over 5 million people been through those doors. So it’s strong. It’s still going on. When I come back from Bali I’m going to do performing arts centers. I think I have can around the country and then Kilburn November, I do 57 shows in my theater.

Scott Edwards: 

Wow. And we should do the math for the people. If you’ve had 5 million people to the doors and you’re getting $1 per person. You’ve made some money.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I need money. I you guys divorced and I lost money.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, but wait a minute, that means the guy that’s talking about relationships didn’t work

Yakov Smirnoff: 

that how it started. No, no, that’s how that’s how the whole thing started. Was that? Yes, very much. So because we we moved to Branson, together with my ex. And because it was like I said emergency landing. But then our relationship started going sour. And I think it has the you know, finances have to do a lot with that as well. But it’s kind of like a mirror of what the relationship is going through. And then shortly after we broke up. So that’s what made me go wait a minute, my parents who are married 52 years, how is that possible that I have a divorce and why? And that’s what send me on that class when my daughter said to me, you know, Daddy, why didn’t you I was reading her bedtime story. And and ended ended with they live happily ever after. And she looked at me with her big blue eyes. She was about seven years old. And she said, Daddy, how come you and Mommy didn’t live happily ever after? And I came up with a great answer. I said go to sleep. Because I have no answer. Right? Most people don’t. And I figured well, I’m a comedian, who had my dad. Dad was an engineer. So he had that very creative, innovative mind and wanting to kind of reverse engineer everything. So I’m like going okay, let me see. So what happened? Why is that I didn’t even see it coming. And it wasn’t like we were cheating or we were drinking or we were no we just drifted apart and and I didn’t see it yet, but I was

Scott Edwards: 

just gonna say, that led to you getting a master’s in psychology and then just so that led you to get your master’s in psychology and then just a few years ago, you got your doctorate. So you’re actually Dr. Smirnoff, and you’re using that to educate and entertain audiences.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Correct. That’s what the PBS special was called, happily ever laughter. And you will you can you can relate to that, God because you, it just happened to be that my combination of my brain cells were a little different than most, maybe comedians who didn’t do ask that question. But if you think about this, and I asked that over 5 million people in my theater, how many of you remember laughter, being part of the honeymoon stage of the relationship? And everybody remembers that, but they all applaud. And then I asked a question that is shocking to most people. I say, How many of you would go on the second date? If you didn’t have laughter on the first day? And silence? No one? 5 million people? It’s a good sample.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, no, that’s so true, too. I felt lucky, I was able to marry my best friend. And we’ve been, we’ve been married over 20 years, we’ve been together over 35 years. And we still laugh almost on a daily basis. It’s really heartwarming. But in more than that, it’s fun. You know, you only got so much time on the planet, why not have some fun, right?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

You absolutely right. But what why I went into this education route, because I wanted to do empirical studies on what is the what is the what are the ingredients that actually make people laugh in their early stages of their relationship. And you can compare it to your comedy club. And you can see the correlation 100%. So the formula is very simple. You meet the needs, what’s important to the other person? Yeah, that’s number one ingredient. And that’s what you do during the honeymoon stage. And that’s what you did in your club, you knew to see people close to one another, because you knew that they will have more fun, if there is proximity to one another, you knew that you need to treat them kindly. And and if there was raining night or whatever, and you had to have a sold out house, you had to do something to make them feel comfortable, you would pack them in into your, you know, hallway, or your bar area to make them. So all of that we do for each other when we’re in a relationship beginning. And that’s what made me go, oh, wait a minute, there is a correlation. So it’s meeting the needs of the other person, and then using humor to trigger the laughter. And that’s what you did by putting me on stage or Seinfeld on stage. You did that. But you did it about by the numbers. And you didn’t really know what I’m telling you now, because it was organic for you to create that for so many people.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, and thanks for pointing that out. And if I think about it, I would go Yeah, that makes perfect sense. But I’ve said for a long time that I used to love putting first dates in the front row there their clothes, part of the show it but what happens is, during the show, they’re sharing an experience where they’re laughing. And then after after the show, no matter how awkward good or bad the date went. They have something in common to share about and that exact arts a bond.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. So that’s what that’s what occurred to me, if I can use my experience of so many years of doing comedy, because I do everything the same way in my theater, I make sure that their needs are met that what’s important to my audience is there, even during the pandemic, we had to make it safe for people with the social distancing. And then the humor would make them crack up because I said, I understand that the government requires you to walk in to this see if they’re wearing a mask. But when you’re seated, you don’t need to wear a mask anymore, because the virus knows when you’re standing or you’re sitting

Scott Edwards: 

this funny and and shows how crazy our government is. Well. So I am I want to do ask a couple things. First off, what are you doing in Bali? And for those who listening, we’re doing this over the phone while he’s in Bali having way more fun than me?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Well, here’s, here’s the reason I’m here. In Missouri, there’s no storm here is 80 degrees.

Scott Edwards: 

That’s the reason

Yakov Smirnoff: 

you can go swimming. You know, I’ve never finished talking, I’m gonna go to the ocean and swim. So that’s one of the reasons. The other reason is, I wanted to be more objective on being outside of America, with all this stuff that’s happening right now. And it does give me a lot easier. It’s like, I want to see the forest, you know, from the outside, because sometimes when you’re in it, it’s hard to see.

Scott Edwards: 

Right, right. What’s your perspective? Yeah.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Yeah, so that’s those are, I’m watching things on YouTube. I’m going okay. I’m gonna stay here for a little bit longer. Let’s figure this out.

Scott Edwards: 

know, hey, we need to wind this up. But I did want to mention that your theater is still open, and you’re going to be doing some shows at the end of 2021. Year over October, November. Okay, so everybody go, head to the Yakov.com, yakov.com. And it’s the Yakov Smirnoff Theatre in Branson, Missouri. But don’t you also have some talks about relationships coming up?

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I do. And that I have, again, it’s all on my website on yahoo.com. I have about 1010 shows, but my shows are, their comedy shows that after which people walk out, holding hands or hugging, because it gives them the insight on on male female relationships, and how to create laughter in that?

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I think it’s you have provided a great gift to this country, from the early days of the late 70s and early 80s. And the opportunity for me personally, to get to know you and work with you to not just ever settle you have constantly grown as an entertainer and as a person, and taking yourself through a lot of hard work through several levels. And the fact that you’re still giving back. I’m just so proud that we’re friends.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I’m happy that we connect it and thanks for I think you’re a wonderful host. I don’t say it to people. But as as a podcast, host, I think you’re terrific. And you’re giving people also something that they probably would not get from a person who was not an inside of comedy world.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, thanks for saying that. Ladies and gentlemen, check out Yakov.com and be sure to visit his theater or catch one of his talks. Whenever you get a chance. Yuck off it has been such a joy to reconnect and talk about the old days and hear about the new days. And I’m still a little envious of you being on the beach in Bali. But thanks so much for being on the show.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

My pleasure. All right. Have a good day.

Scott Edwards: 

Everybody. Stay tuned. We have some entertainment, comedy entertainment live on stage from Yakov coming up right now. Thanks, Yakov.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

Bye. Thanks, God.

Scott Edwards: 

That was fun. Y’all cough and I haven’t spoken in over 30 years. And yet it felt like we just worked together last week, man. I really enjoyed that. Hey, I was going to go to a comedy set from Yaakov but I went through the archives and I found this terrific song he did back in the mid 80s. He used to have a catchphrase what a country. So he did a song and it’s got jokes all through it. So we’re gonna hear that. Here we go. Singing it’s Yakov Smirnoff.

Yakov Smirnoff: 

I wanted to show what the waiting lists was the law. I applied for a visa for the me 30 So I try the escape Siberia no matter what he calls. And finally two years later, KGB tells me get lucky Yup, yep. So I come into America. New York was my first step. And everywhere I’m going I’m here and yep, yep, yep. See young men sex in Russia that’s really confusing as more I keep on saying yes the more they keep refusing entry for the interaction range things going on thanks America here and here I’ll say yeah, I learned your language from TV is great anticipation and three months later realize this for the Spanish station TV in Russia channel one has propaganda until two policemen or there’s it done back to channel one, my nephew he’s a link the ground our TV broke up, they call him or Geosphere enough screwdrivers his nickname the time to be a male around there practicing all winter because in the summary you lose they make you female sprinter and then hurts our country ball now contrary here I relax and watch TV back home TV one gorging me thanks America I’m here Here I’ll say take it Jimmy American Girl I go with snow Brady as a flower she does sexy things that Russian girl was never do like shower she that’s kinky things in bed like wearing leather collars. And every time that we make lobbies cost me the Dollar Tree wall contrary let’s hearing for the good old USA for 60 rasher men don’t fake girls cannot keep that stuff away. Thanks a married guy here and here on stay. Wha Khan train. Wha no contrary. Let’s hear for the good old USA interaction certain games for the one I like cadence. I’m an American and that’s what I will stay get an order

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we hope you enjoyed this episode of Stand Up Comedy you’re hosting him see. For information on the show merchandise and our sponsors or to send comments to Scott. Visit our website at WWW dot stand up your host and mc.com Look for more episodes soon and enjoy the world of stand up comedy. Visit a comedy show room near you.

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