Kira Soltanovich decided in the first grade that she wanted to be a comedian. What was her first joke?
“I joked that I fell asleep in the restroom ‘cause it’s called the ‘rest’ room,” Soltanovich said.
Soltanovich got sent out of the classroom for making this joke. But that was OK with her, she said, because it gave her more time to work on her jokes.
“I would sit outside the classroom and work on my material. When the teacher let me back in, I would do my joke I had prepared, causing the class to erupt into laughter,” Soltanovich said.
This only caused the teacher to slam the door in Soltanovich’s face and send her back into the hallway.
This Friday at 8 p.m. on Pomerantz Stage, Soltanovich will be performing her comedy stand-up.
Soltanovich was born in Russia, which was still the Soviet Union during the time she was a child. She moved to San Francisco, Calif., with her family when she was 2-years-old. Soltanovich attended San Diego State University and majored in theater.
“I don’t know if you should consider it a real school. I mean, if you can go to class in a bikini…” she said.
During college, Soltanovich acted in plays and assisted with costumes, lights and set building. She also worked at the San Diego Zoo as a tour guide. However, that job didn’t last too long.
“The zoo didn’t appreciate how I was doing my tours. I cracked innocent jokes,” Soltanovich said. “There was one joke about an animal related to the giraffe that has a really long tongue. I said it was ‘even longer than some of my ex-boyfriends’ tongues.’ They really didn’t appreciate that one.”
After college, Soltanovich started doing stand-up anywhere she could. She performed at laundromats and women’s shelters, taking advantage of any stage time she could get.
“After college, I starved for a long time,” she said.
Kira worked her way into comedy clubs and started performing at colleges. Before long, she found herself on television. Kira received a guest role on “3rd Rock from the Sun.” She has also been on “Last Comic Standing” and “Girls Behaving Badly.” Some might know her as the voice of a talking photo booth in a sketch on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
“A lot of my stand-up is stuff that is happening in my life,” Soltanovich said. “They’re real stories.”
Soltanovich said she does comedy for the audience.
“I want people to laugh. It’s the best drug ever,” she said. “That’s why I don’t drink alcohol. One time my mom told me I was a disgrace to Russians because I wouldn’t take a shot of vodka. But I said ‘Mom, I’m 8, and I have school tomorrow!’”
Soltanovich was supposed to come to Drake in December, but was thrown off schedule with the birth of her child, said Greg Larson, president of the Student Activities Board.
“Comedians are great entertainment for colleges because all they need are a mic and a bottle of water,” Larson said. “And they’re really funny.”
Every autumn, Drake has the Fall Comedy Series, in which a comedian comes to Drake every month. When Larson and his fellow SAB-ers saw Soltanovich at a convention for the National Association of College Activities last year, they knew Drake needed the laughs she would offer.
It’s easy to tell Kira Soltanovich is a natural at making people laugh, and she’s ready to get Drake’s campus cracking up.