Comedian Yakov Smirnoff, wife raising money for his home country of Ukraine

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:44 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:57 PM CST
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Branson comedian Yakov Smirnoff is normally making people laugh. His new mission is more serious, raising money for his home country of Ukraine.

Yakov immigrated to the states from Ukraine in the 1970s. He has been performing here in Branson since the 1990s. Yakov and his wife Olivia have been communicating with family over in Ukraine as the war continues.

”I try to touch base with them on a daily basis just to hear their voice,” said Smirnoff. “I don’t know if I’ll hear it again or not.”

They’re trying to help their loved ones as they flee Ukraine. Olivia’s family is seeking refuge in Poland. Both Yakov and Olivia say they are devastated by what’s happening.

“Because of husband die, they don’t have money for babies, food. It’s a really scary time,” said Olivia.

Yakov and Olivia are using their platform to raise money for Ukrainians in need through a comedy show at Second Baptist Church in Springfield on March 19 at 2 p.m. The event is free. You do not need a ticket. Donations at the event will go to Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit that’s aiding and sending supplies to those in need.

”Tragedy and comedy they go together,” said Smirnoff. “If we’re doing a fundraiser and it’s a comedy night for couples to support tragedy in Ukraine they’re helping each other.”

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