Yakov Smirnoff

(Yakov Naumovich Pokhis)

Yakov Smirnoff
Yakov Smirnoff
  • Born: January 24, 1951
  • Nationality: Ukrainian, American
  • Profession: Comedian









Yakov Naumovich Pokhis, better known as Yakov Smirnoff (/ˈsmɪərnɒf/), is a Soviet-born American comedian, actor and writer. After immigrating to the United States in 1977, Smirnoff began performing as a stand-up comic. He reached his biggest success in the mid-to-late 1980s, appearing in several films and the television sitcom vehicle What a Country!. His comic persona was of a naive immigrant from the Soviet Union who was perpetually confused and delighted by life in the United States. His humor combined a mockery of life under Communism and of consumerism in the United States, as well as word play caused by misunderstanding of American phrases and culture, all punctuated by the catchphrase, "And I thought, 'What a country!'"

Quotes About
Author Quote
Quote Topics Cited
After the Soviet Union collapsed, people thought I wasn't funny anymore. Humor
Americans think Soviets are so grim. I want them to see that they can smile.
As Americans after 9/11, we're much more united, together as a nation, and we got stronger, better, and more at peace. By peace, I mean the harmony you can feel in our united determination to fight these terrorists and killers. War & Peace
Balance is so important in our lives. In our busy world, we can give ourselves balance between thinking and feeling.
Comedians are always hitting the topical notes that are on everybody's minds.
Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection.
Falling in love is a chemical reaction. But it wears off in a year. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Falling in love is a chemical reaction. But it wears off in a year. That's why you need a strong line of communication... which includes laughter. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Homosexuality in Russia is a crime and the punishment is seven years in prison, locked up with the other men. There is a three year waiting list.
I believe that laughter is a language of God and that we can all live happily ever laughter. Religion & God
I believe that love and laughter can only happen when one person takes the time to think about what would cause the other person to feel good. Time ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I believe there is a direct correlation between love and laughter. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I came to America to make it my home, and I did.
I fed my ego, but not my soul.
I have American in-laws, and I care about the environment. We don't use disposable diapers, which, of course, creates an environmental problem of our own.
I like American women. They do things sexually Russian girls never dream of doing - like showering. Women
I was not only typecast as a Russian, but I was typecast as Yakov Smirnoff. This is understandable, and I was very happy to get the roles, but it would be nice to be in a movie where I could be someone else.
I was this non-threatening funny guy who contrasted the image of the Brezhnevs and the Reagans of the world. Humor
If love is the treasure, laughter is the key. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
If you have something important to say, Broadway and New York are great places to say it.
In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.
In today's society we sometimes forget to balance our hearts and our heads; this is the reason we stop laughing. Society
It's kind of bittersweet. The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart.
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
Men and women are immigrants in each other's worlds. Women
My father described this tall lady who stands in the middle of the New York harbor, holding high a torch to welcome people seeking freedom in America. I instantly fell in love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Freedom & Liberty
Never having alone time is real tough on people. Time
People in Tulsa are totally friendly; the crowds are very nice.
The ad in the paper said 'Big Sale. Last Week.' Why advertise? I already missed it. They're just rubbing it in.
The reason gas prices are so high is because the oil is in Texas and Oklahoma and all the dipsticks are in Washington.
There's depth in my comedy.
To my real estate agent, Chernobyl is a fixer-upper.
We have a choice - we can both think and feel, using our heads and our hearts.
We have been learning since we were children how to make money, buy things, build things. The whole education system is set up to teach us how to think, not to feel. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Money, Coins & Minting
We may have forgotten how to feel. Nobody is teaching us how to live happily ever after, as we've heard in fairy tales. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
When the needs of one person are being met by the other, there is laughter.
When you like something, you find time to do it. Time