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32 Inspiring Quotes by Yakov Smirnoff

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Yakov Smirnoff.

Wikipedia Summary for Yakov Smirnoff

Yakov Naumovich Pokhis (Russian: Яков Наумович Похис; born 24 January 1951), better known as Yakov Smirnoff (Russian: Яков Смирнов; ), is a Ukrainian-American comedian, actor and writer of Jewish origin. He began his career as a stand-up comedian in Ukraine, then immigrated to the United States in 1977 in order to pursue an American show business career, not yet knowing any English. 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!'"

The collapse of communism starting in 1989, and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, brought an end to Smirnoff's widespread popularity, although he continued to perform. In 1993, he began performing year round at his own theater in Branson, Missouri, where he remained until 2015. He occasionally still performs limited dates at his theater in Branson while touring worldwide.

Smirnoff earned a master's degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 and a doctorate in psychology and global leadership from Pepperdine University in 2019. He has also taught a course titled "The Business of Laughter" at Missouri State University and at Drury University.

silhouette photography of trees and sky

Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection.

--Yakov Smirnoff

sunset forest

Men and women are immigrants in each other's worlds.

--Yakov Smirnoff

withered tree surrounded with snow during daytime

Falling in love is a chemical reaction. But it wears off in a year.

--Yakov Smirnoff

Longer Version:

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.


man in gray sweater carrying woman in black jacket

Never having alone time is real tough on people.

--Yakov Smirnoff

person holding gray leaf

Americans think Soviets are so grim. I want them to see that they can smile.

--Yakov Smirnoff

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

It's kind of bittersweet. The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart.

--Yakov Smirnoff

green and red flowers

In America, you drive car. In Soviet Russia, car drive you!

--Yakov Smirnoff

white Starbuck plastic cup on brown fabric armchair

In America, you assassinate president. In Soviet Russia, president assassinate you!

--Yakov Smirnoff

Arizona landscape pines

I was this non-threatening funny guy who contrasted the image of the Brezhnevs and the Reagans of the world.

--Yakov Smirnoff


orange and white stone fragment

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.

--Yakov Smirnoff


pink umbrella

Comedians are always hitting the topical notes that are on everybody's minds.

--Yakov Smirnoff

flowers beside yellow wall

In America, your job determines your marks. In Soviet Russia, Marx determine your job!

--Yakov Smirnoff

person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

Balance is so important in our lives. In our busy world, we can give ourselves balance between thinking and feeling.

--Yakov Smirnoff

bird in the sky

The reason gas prices are so high is because the oil is in Texas and Oklahoma and all the dipsticks are in Washington.

--Yakov Smirnoff

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

Many people are surprised to hear that we have comedians in Russia, but they are there. They are dead, but they are there.

--Yakov Smirnoff

sunset grasslands

After the Soviet Union collapsed, people thought I wasn't funny anymore.

--Yakov Smirnoff

yellow textile

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.

--Yakov Smirnoff


photography of white wall lot

In every country, they make fun of city. In U.S. you make fun of Cleveland. In Russia, we make fun of Cleveland.

--Yakov Smirnoff

forest trees

People in Tulsa are totally friendly; the crowds are very nice.

--Yakov Smirnoff

flame illustration

To my real estate agent, Chernobyl is a fixer-upper.

--Yakov Smirnoff

four orange, green, blue, and red paint rollers

There's depth in my comedy.

--Yakov Smirnoff

rock formation under starry skies

The ad in the paper said 'Big Sale. Last Week.' Why advertise? I already missed it. They're just rubbing it in.

--Yakov Smirnoff

white ceramic mug with coffee on brown wooden table

When the needs of one person are being met by the other, there is laughter.

--Yakov Smirnoff

None

I like American women. They do things sexually Russian girls never dream of doing -- like showering.

--Yakov Smirnoff

photography of white sky at golden hour

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.

--Yakov Smirnoff

flame illustration

I came to America to make it my home, and I did.

--Yakov Smirnoff

top view photography of heart latte coffee

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

--Yakov Smirnoff

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

We may have forgotten how to feel. Nobody is teaching us how to live happily ever after, as we've heard in fairy tales.

--Yakov Smirnoff

aerial view of blue ocean water during daytime

If love is the treasure, laughter is the key.

--Yakov Smirnoff

We wish you a perfect day!