Yakov Smirnoff is a legend in American comedy. After escaping communist Soviet Russia in the 1970’s, he came to this country with nothing but a dream. Not even knowing the language, Yakov humbly began working as a bartender at the famous Grossinger’s Catskill Resort in New York, where he was able to tell jokes each night after his shifts. As his English improved, he quickly grew in popularity. He would then make the move to Los Angeles where the owner of The Comedy Store, Mitzi Shore, took him under her wing.