Yakov Smirnoff Goes Where No Comedian Has Gone Before

Yakov Smirnoff took his comedy where no comedian has gone before…or at least where very few earthbound stars ever get to go. On Monday, October 15 at 2:30 PM Yakov teleconferenced with Astronaut Clayton Anderson, a flight engineer on the International Space Station. “It was really interesting. I had a very pleasant conversation for 45 minutes with the man from outer space. Sometimes people go too far when they talk to me, but I was flattered anyway,” said Yakov.

Anderson, who is part of Expedition 15, used his video camera to show Yakov around the International Space Station. “I learned how they use their space – no pun intended – efficiently by mounting their stationary bike on the ceiling. I mentioned to Clay that I might want to try that at home tonight, he suggested that I check with my insurance agent first,” said Yakov. “Along with learning about the astronauts’ space adventures, we also discussed how the world has changed so dramatically that now Clay is on a space station with two Russian cosmonauts. They like to eat American freeze-dried barbecue ribs and he likes to eat Russian hydrated Borscht.”

“I also found out that to us on earth the Space Station looks like a shooting star,” said Yakov. “I asked Clay to give me a call the next time it was going over Branson so I could make a wish. He was concerned that it was a long distance call and didn’t want to spend the taxpayers’ money. He told me just log on to NASA’s website; that way I can plan my wish in advance. What A Country!” The website is www.spaceflight.nasa.gov; the next possible sighting from Yakov’s home in Branson, Missouri is on Thursday, Oct 18 at 7:37 PM.

This is not the first time that NASA has requested Yakov’s support in honoring our astronauts. In 1999 Yakov was the featured speaker in Washington D.C. at the 42nd Annual Goddard Memorial Banquet honoring Senator John Glenn. Yakov said, “I’m honored to create laughter for these real-life heroes!” Astronaut Anderson is a member of Expedition 15 which is doing maintenance on the international space station. Expedition 15 launched on April 7, 2007; Anderson arrived in early June and will be heading home within 2 to 3 weeks on the Discovery shuttle.

The teleconference was facilitated in Reeds Spring, Missouri by the Reeds Spring TCRC which is an extension of the University of Missouri. Yakov says, “When I walked in to that room and on the monitor I saw the space station and realized that I was in a small town in the Ozarks and about to teleconference in real-time with outer space, the first thought from my mind was ‘beam me up Scottie! This whole experience was out of this world.”

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