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Up To Date

What A Country For Yakov Smirnoff

When he came to America in 1977, Yakov Smirnoff was already a comedian, but it was his fresh off the boat Cold War comedy style that got him noticed by the entertainment industry.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we’ll talk with the comedian about his humor, the years he’s spent in Branson and why he’s leaving to go on tour.

EXTRA: Hear an extended conversation with Yakov Smirnoff, in which he describes his "big break" as the result of a an NPR interview:

Yakov Smirnoff explains why he's a poster child for public radio.

HEAR MORE: Yakov Smirnoff will be performing at 7:30 p.m. March 14 and at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. March 15 at the Kansas City Improv at the Funny Bone Comedy Club Restaurant in 7260 NW 87th St. in Zona Rosa. Tickets are $16 for March 14 and $18 for March 15, and attendees must be 21 or older.

Comedian Yakov Smirnoff immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1977. His television and movie credits include What a Country, Night Court, The Tonight Show, Moscow on the Hudson, The Money Pit and Brewster's Millions. He has also performed on Broadway in his one-man show As Long As We Both Shall Laugh. Smirnoff owns a theater in Branson, where he has lived for 20 years. He has written two books, America on Six Rubles a Day and Smirnoff For The Soul.

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.