Smirnoff promotional image
|Birth name||Yakov Naumovich Pokhis|
24 January 1951 |
Odessa, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Medium||Stand-up, television, art, books|
|Genres||Relationship humor, irony, word play, transpositional pun|
|Subject(s)||Psychology, Russian-American culture, race relations, relationships, immigration, communism in the Soviet Union|
|Spouse||Linda Dreeszen (1989â€“2001; divorced; 2 children)|
|Notable works and roles||Yakov on Night Court
Nikolai on What a Country!
Shatov in The Money Pit
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.
If you have something important to say, Broadway and New York are great places to say it.
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.
It's kind of bittersweet. The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart.
Americans think Soviets are so grim. I want them to see that they can smile.
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 love and laughter can only happen when one person takes the time to think about what would cause the other person to feel good.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, people thought I wasn't funny anymore.
We may have forgotten how to feel. Nobody is teaching us how to live happily ever after, as we've heard in fairy tales.
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.
Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection.
I like American women. They do things sexually Russian girls never dream of doing – like showering.
I was this non-threatening funny guy who contrasted the image of the Brezhnevs and the Reagans of the world.
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.
The ad in the paper said 'Big Sale. Last Week.' Why advertise? I already missed it. They're just rubbing it in.
When the needs of one person are being met by the other, there is laughter.
Balance is so important in our lives. In our busy world, we can give ourselves balance between thinking and feeling.
The reason gas prices are so high is because the oil is in Texas and Oklahoma and all the dipsticks are in Washington.
I believe that laughter is a language of God and that we can all live happily ever laughter.
Comedians are always hitting the topical notes that are on everybody's minds.
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.
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.
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.
In today's society we sometimes forget to balance our hearts and our heads; this is the reason we stop laughing.
We have a choice – we can both think and feel, using our heads and our hearts.