By Britt Bickel

The 2014 Winter Olympics are in full swing in Sochi, Russia, so who better to invite to the studio than Russian-born comedian Yakov Smirnoff to give us his perspective and commentary on the games taking place in his home country.

He tells us that Sochi is the “warmest part of Russia,” which is kind of like holding the winter games in Miami, but “they wanted to show off that there’s more than Siberia” in the country.

The big stories coming out of Sochi even before the opening ceremony took place was of course the headline-making horror stories of the living conditions from on site journalists. From not enough pillows for the athletes, unfinished hotel rooms, brown, undrinkable water and the bizarre double toilets in bathrooms, Yakov gave us his funny take on what’s going on in Sochi.

“It’s special for this Olympics because they were concerned about security, so they didn’t want you to go anywhere somebody, so they needed double toilets,” joked Yakov. “The best way to make friends, just bring two-ply…and you’re best friends for life.”

And what about the brown water?

“It’s good to make your teeth white, it’s like a Chernobyl special,” he quipped.

But all joking aside, Yakov said he has been enjoying NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics so far, saying “they’ve done a great job overall.” Having relocated to the U.S. in 1977 and only going back to Russia from time to time, Yakov says that seeing the games does make him a tad bit homesick.

“I grew up in that area…I grew up in the Black Sea, so it is a little bit nostalgic,” he said before jumping right back into his quick-witted humor. “I like it [in the U.S.], because here you didn’t have things we didn’t have in Russia, like policeman have warning shots. I think those are great. In Russia they didn’t shoot up in the air, they shoot you and that was warning for the next guy.”

SoCal fans can catch Yakov when he returns with his one-man Broadway show Happily Ever Laughter at ACME Comedy Theatre in Hollywood on the corner of La Brea and 1st Street. Visit for more details on his tour schedule.

Listen to our full hilarious conversation with Yakov in the clip below and prepare to “laugh your yak-ov”!


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