Yakov Smirnoff to perform at the Missouri Theater | Events
For decades, comedian Yakov Smirnoff has made audiences laugh with his take on America.
Whether in shows and movies like “Night Court” or “Brewster’s Millions” or his stand-up sets, Smirnoff wants to give people hope and make people laugh with his own comedy.
Stopping in St. Joseph’s at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, as part of his “Laugh Your Mask Off Tour,” Smirnoff promises to bring plenty of comedy and optimism to the Missouri Theater. The concert is part of the 2021-22 season of the St. Joseph Performing Arts Association.
Before performing, he took the time to talk to Saint-Joe Live.
Saint-Joe live: How long have you been working on this particular show?
Yakov Smirnoff: This show that I bring to St. Joe. I’ve been working on it probably for about 20 years on the content you’re going to see. I’ve been building this for a long time because it’s kind of my passion, so I’m constantly trying to improve and change it, and you kind of reflect my life as I go through it.
SJL: Much like your career, how does it feel to see this series evolve as you react to the changing times?
YS: It’s interesting. This company called Comedy Dynamics sells or distributes comedy specials. And they came to me … about a year ago, saying, “We really want to put your promotions in our catalog.” And I said, ‘Why?’ And they said, ‘Well, because the nostalgia is soaring.’
So if you look at (my catalog) overall, from 1990 I did the first one, ‘Yakov Smirnoff: From Moscow … Idaho’ … Then I moved to Branson, and I produced six other specials on top of it. So if you look at this evolution, each of these specials reflected this stage in my life. So what I’ve tried to do, what I want to bring to St. Joe’s, is a version of that where I take them on a journey from birth to today.
SJL: You have such a rich career, what does it mean when Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle say that you had an influence on them?
YS: It’s crazy. When I’m at the Comedy Store (in Los Angeles), Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Adam Sandler, Conan, they come up out of the blue and say, “I’m such a fan.” There are just a lot of people that I didn’t realize I was a part of their (life) when they were young and watching comedies.
SJL: What does it mean to you to give people hope at this time?
YS: It is very rewarding. I feel so proud when I sign autographs after the show and people come and say, “Thank you for giving us hope. And it feels good because we need it.
SJL: What do you hope people take away from your show?
YS: I think they will learn that I am very passionate about relationships between men and women. I find this to be a very important part of American society that needs a wake-up call, where they are more aware of the differences and celebrate the differences.
They get a lot of different elements. They get humor, laughter, knowledge, hope. They have my experiences in all of these things, and I think they come out of it very happy.