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A middle-aged man steps out in front of an applauding crowd. “Hey Lady! How about a photo?” The opening line of comedian Boris Arkadiev’s winning if timeworn routine, the one that has brought him affluence, hordes of adoring fans and, most importantly for a Jew in the Soviet Russia of 1984, the approval of the authorities.
Trouble is, Boris is sick to the back teeth of it. Once a serious writer with a published novel under his belt, he now has to trot out his routine ‘The Mellow Season’ time after time after time, at public events, at parties thrown by army generals, anytime the KGB goons demand his services. Introduced to American ‘insult humour’ by a friend recently returned from LA, Boris decides it’s time to work up some new, edgier material, and chooses the most inappropriate setting imaginable for its first airing.