November 13, 2019


Ukrainian President Zelensky


Zelensky reminds me of a combination Dustin Hoffman and Steve Martin, because he looks like Hoffman when he smiles and acts like Martin when Steve played one of the skit characters, on “Saturday Night Live.”.

Both are experienced satirists, who spent most of their professional lives being members of a troupe of TV performers who “make fun” of public figures and the signs of the times.

The big difference is that Martin is now recognized as a great banjo picker while Zelensky is the beleaguered President of a sovereign nation hoping to escape being made part of Putin’s Russia, a role it played in the long since defunct USSR.

Zelensky was born in Kryvri Rih, a mining and manufacturing town in the southeast of the Ukraine. His family is Jewish. His father, Alexander, teaches computer science and his mother, Rimma, is an engineer.

Zelensky_bike_wheelie.jpgIn the early nineteen- hundreds, Zelensky joined a group of funny, inventive young people who were obviously inspired by the success of America’s “Saturday Night Live” and soon appeared on a television station located in Kiev, the capitol. 

They called their production “Servant of the People,” and it starred Zelensky as Vasyl Holoborodko, an “Everyman.” (as Jimmy Stewart did in “Mister Smith Goes to Washington.”)
The show was an immediate, overwhelming success. Everywhere, but in the Kremlin. Russians and Ukrainians both use the Cyrillic alphabet and as persons from West Texas might have a little difficulty with accents and colloquialisms while talking to a Brooklynite, they can communicate.
So, what is a nice Ukrainian “man on the street” comedian doing in a bitter political donnybrook taking place in the USA? Return for Chapter 2 Next Week.

-Phil Richardson, Storyteller and Observer of The Human Condition    


Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries

Respond to: k7os@comcast.net 


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