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Comedian Yakov Smirnoff

Saturday, March 30
Doors: 7pm Show: 8pm
$32.99 to $99


After escaping communist Soviet Union in the 1977, Yakov came to the United States with nothing but a dream. Before even learning the language, Yakov humbly began working as a bartender at the famous Grossinger’s Catskill Resort in New York, where he started telling jokes to his customers each night. As his English improved, he quickly grew in popularity. He made a daring move to Hollywood where the owner of The Comedy Store, Mitzi Shore, spotted him and advised him to stay. She told him, “There is always a place for good and different.”

His lovable view of life through the eyes of a poor immigrant captured the hearts of America. He soared to the top of the comedy world, performing on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and countless other television programs, including as a regular character on “Night Court.” He became a star of his very own show, named after his famous catchphrase, “What a Country!” Yakov branched out to the big screen where he starred in movies with Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, to name a few. In 2016 and 2017 his TV special “Happily ever laughter” was voted “The best special” on PBS.

He has given command performances for 4 US presidents.

Living a life that is as exciting as ever, Yakov has married his sweetheart, currently has his very own 2000 seat theater in Branson, Missouri, and tours the world doing stand-up Comedy at performing arts centers.

With the heart of a dreamer, Yakov Smirnoff has made the impossible possible and continues to inspire others with his message that America is still, “What a Country!” Keep an eye out for a documentary about him on Netflix by the end of this year and stay tuned for what Dr. Yakov does next!


Since his 1992 arrival in Branson, Missouri, famous Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff has played host to over four million visitors. At his own 1,800-seat theater, operated personally by Yakov, the entire show and venue reflects this inspirational comedian’s unique insights into life, family, and these United States. Yakov’s movie credits include “Moscow on the Hudson” with Robin Williams, “Brewster’s Millions” with Richard Pryor, “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks and “Heartburn” with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. His many television credits include Showtime’s ACE Award nominee “Yakov Smirnoff from Moscow…Idaho,” as well as his own 1986 syndicated series “What a Country.” In addition to his comedy, Yakov is also an accomplished artist. While he holds a degree from a prestigious Russian institute and has taught the subject professionally, Yakov (whose work can be seen throughout the theater) uses his paintbrush now as a means of furthering his philosophy. His work was featured in a New York art expo in early 2001 and is further evidence of the breadth of his creative talent. The painting that Yakov completed just after 9/11 has been displayed at Ground Zero in New York City. In the early months of 2003, Yakov appeared in his one-man Broadway Show, “As Long As We Both Shall Laugh” at the American Airlines Theatre in New York City. During the show Yakov invites everyone to celebrate the differences between the genders. In May 2006 Yakov Smirnoff earned a Masters Degree in Positive Psychology from an Ivy League School, University of Pennsylvania. During this intense learning experience, Yakov discovered enlightening techniques for creating an environment for laughter and improving relationships. He began teaching as an Associate Professor at Missouri State University in 2006 in both the Psychology and Business Departments. His classes are filled with laughter and learning, and Professor Yakov is a favorite among MSU students and faculty. They have fun participating in his classes, and they ‘Laugh Their Yak Off.’ Yakov has performed at his theater for over 20 years, December 5th will be his last show. People have traveled from near and far to come see Yakov in Branson. Now Yakov will be hitting the road to perform in a venue near you. Plus, look for his PBS special "Happily Ever Laughter" in the spring of 2016!
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