Comedian whose career mostly fell along with communism in Europe.
Smirnoff (DOB: 1/24/1951; Odessa, Soviet Union) is a Russian immigrant who came to the United States in 1977 (he became a U.S. citizen in 1986).
In the '80s, he became a comedian whose act centered around all the wondrous things America has that he had never seen in Russia, which led to his catchphrase of "What A Country!". His standup act was extremely popular, leading to appearances in movies such as "The Money Pit" and "Brewster's Millions", and eventually to him getting his own syndicated TV show in 1986, which was named (appropriately enough) "What A Country". The show only ran until 1987. Smirnoff also had a recurring role on the sitcom "Night Court".
With the fall of communism in the late '80s and early '90s, Smirnoff's schtick became less interesting. His act moved to Branson, Missouri in 1992, where he has his own 1400 seat theater in which he still performs. However, he's fallen just about completely off the national scene.
According to his website (www.yakov.com), Smirnoff is also an accomplished artist.