U.S.S.R.-born Gregory Popovich, whose `Comedy Pet Theatre' plays at the Irvine Barclay today, never thought he'd be performing in America.Growing up in the Soviet Union, Gregory Popovich always imagined that he would end up in the circus. Since he was a boy, the "Comedy Pet Theatre" star had an affinity for juggling and animal tricks -- and since his parents were circus performers themselves, he had easy access to the profession.
One thing Popovich never imagined, though, was that someday he would perform in the United States.
"We were up in a closed country with a wall around the whole empire," Popovich said. "It was not easy to go outside the country, and especially to the United States, because it was our major enemy. In my school, they taught us that the U.S.A. was enemy number one."
In 1989, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Popovich got to see the "enemy" for himself. He went with the Moscow Circus for a tour of America, then joined the Ringling Brothers Circus for a season. By the end of year, he was settled in Las Vegas and a U.S. resident for good.