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The Gift of Acting: Leonid Yarmolnik

I’ve been publishing previously some excerpts from Russian/Soviet films showcasing the outstanding talent of Russian actors, and I thought we could watch these excerpts more regularly, and not just from Russian films. In case you’re new to LCJ, you can check out this excerpt, this, this.

Today we shall have two sketches by Leonid Yarmolnik. I was a toddler when he performed them in the TV programme “Around the Laughter“. A spin-off version of it still lives, but the stand-up comedy as it is today rarely takes my fancy. The case was different in the 80s when the likes of Roman Kartsev, Gennady Khazanov, Evgeny Petrosyan, Mikhail Zadornov, and Alexander Ivanov read brilliant sketches parodying and satirizing the Soviet realities and the human character.

The sketches performed by Yarmolnik paved his way to the big screen. In this programme he was a Taganka Theatre actor, and very soon he took part in many features, including Cherchez la Femme, The Man From the Boulevard des Capucines, A Woman In White, and many others.

In the 90s Yarmolnik started producing films and hosting TV programmes. Today he’s actively involved in Russian social life, looking after homeless dogs and donating his time to being a patron of Artist Charitable Fund that supports elderly actors and children with disabilities.

I had the pleasure to stumble once into Leonid and to see him several times at press-conferences and events. To me, he comes across as an intelligent, gifted person with a great sense of humour – something I always treasure in all people.

Leonid’s official site.

The sketches you are about to see are “Vulture” and “Tobacco Chicken”. Between two sketches Leonid explains that, as students at the Theatre Institute, they had to impersonate all things, from pens to window leaves, “but little did you know that it was possible to “show” a tobacco chicken. The tobacco chicken is actually a meal very easily cooked, you only need a chicken and lots of pepper. Here’s the recipe.

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