A mainstay on the entertainment scene since the late 1970’s, Yakov co-starred in movies with Robin Williams in “Moscow on the Hudson“, Tom Hanks in “The Money Pit”,Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson in “Heartburn” and Richard Pryor in “Brewster’s Millions.” Yakov has also given command performances at the White House for several presidents and honored guests. President Ronald Reagan called Yakov, “a national treasure.” Smirnoff was a regular guest star on the award winning NBC sitcom, Night Court. He has been a popular guest of numerous national TV shows including the Tonight Show. You’ve seen him on HBO and enjoyed his humor in his critically acclaimed Showtime special, “Yakov Smirnoff from Moscow…Idaho.” From 1993 to 2015, Yakov performed at his own two-thousand-seat theater in Branson, Missouri where he entertained over four and a half-million people and produced several outstanding award-winning shows. His comedic style is firmly grounded within his mission statement, “to experience happiness and teach it to the world with passion through comedy and sensitivity.“
Yakov’s quest to understand the science of happiness took him to the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a master’s degree in psychology in 2006 under the supervision of Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology. Today, in addition to being a comedian, Yakov is also an adjunct professor at Missouri State University where he teaches a course on happiness and laughter and is currently earning his Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education & Psychology in Malibu, CA.