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The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Yakov Smirnoff and the Socialist Workers Paradise

Posted by iusbvision on July 30, 2008

Below is an exerpt from a conversation with famed comedian and former college professor Yakov Smirnoff. Smirnoff was born and raised in the Soviet Union and shares his thoughts of what it was like to live in the former socialist workers paradise where ‘social justice’ reigned supreme. – Chuck Norton

* * * * * * *
Smirnoff: In terms of freedom, I think it came from my dad. And I talk about this in my Broadway show, how memorable it was that he was listening to Voice of America. And he would have to get up, like, in the middle of the night-because they would jam broadcasts from Voice of America, and, uh-but in the middle of the night, they would not, because they didn’t think that anybody was listening [apparently the Marxist paradise had its own version of the ‘Fairness Doctrine’]. So he would get up, like, at 2:00, 3:00 in the morning and listen and then tell us-my mom and me at breakfast. And one time, I remember waking up and making myself -my way to the bathroom, and I heard this crackling, staticky noise, and I came over and sat with him. And it was-they talked about Statue of Liberty, and it just-as a young child, it made such a big impression on me that I figured, “I-I-I want to meet her someday.” And, you know, I liked everything about her except the green skin.

Yakov Smirnoff

Yakov Smirnoff

Smirnoff: That didn’t care-didn’t care much for it. And then, you know, many years later, I was sworn in at the Statue of Liberty as an American citizen, so I guess those dreams do come true.

Smirnoff:– how do I go around it and make it work? And I was successful at that, and I became very popular in the Soviet Union at that time and traveled around the country, worked on the cruise ships on the Black Sea. I-I called them the Love Barge. And that’s where I met American people. And-and this is where they really-for the first time, I saw their eyes. I mean, I heard about Americans, but I didn’t have contact with Americans. And seeing their eyes and seeing that spark of freedom that I-most Russian people, Soviet people those days just looked down. They were all very suppressed. And seeing people who were smiling, and they just-they were so happy. And they told me-through the interpreter, because I didn’t speak English-they told me about freedom and freedom of speech. And in Russia, they would tell us also we have freedom of speech, but here, you have freedom after you speak.

Paulson: So how does one become a comedian in the old Soviet Union? Um, you know, comedians in this country, they push the envelope.

Smirnoff: Yep.

Smirnoff: How much envelope pushing could you do?

Smirnoff: Well, you can-you can push it once. And then-then you’ll be looking for punch lines in all the wrong places. Um, I guess-there’s certain amount of benefit that I got from being restricted from-I couldn’t talk about politics, government, sex, and religion. The rest was fine.

Smirnoff: And I was censored by the Department of Jokes. Once a year, you submit your material. And normally you have to do jokes pretty much tried out by somebody else, because original stuff didn’t really exist there. And that way the- you know, the politician who is sitting there or the bureaucrat who is reading those things, he doesn’t have to take the responsibility for anything. So and then they approve it with a stamp, and you get it for a year, and you have to basically repeat that thing like a tape recorder. And,uh, so I did that. I did it. I was very careful. And the only-the challenge was to find humor that was clever enough that the politician or the bureaucrat could not see the double meaning of it –

Let us all hope and pray that we do not allow far left academics, activists and politicians lead us into the workers paradise that Yakov Smirnoff had to flee from.

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