Russian dialect comic who was a popular performing act in the 1980s. He used his comic persona of a naive immigrant from the Soviet Union to both mock life under Communism and satirize American consumerism.
He is a professor at Missouri State University, teaching The Business of Laughter.
He emigrated to America from the USSR; Sophie Tucker was another Ukraine-born comedienne.
While living in Ukraine, he was employed as an art teacher in Odessa. When he and his parents moved to New York City in 1977 he worked as a busboy and bartender at Grossingers Hotel in the Catskill Mountains.
He had two children with his wife Linda before they divorced in 1999. He became an American citizen in 1986.