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Igor Ugolnikov. You Must Be Kidding


Friends call him “multi-faceted”, which is most certainly true. Theater and film actor, showman, anchorperson, scriptwriter, director, producer, artist, composer, head of a TV channel — this is all Igor Ugolnikov.

To rephrase Boris Pasternak, “to make some laugh’s a heavy load.” Ugolnikov made people laugh — for long and in different ways, trying to anticipate time, mood and wishes of the audience, changing with time. He first became popular with major tectonic shifts in the country — the fall of the USSR. With new time come new jokes, new television. Ugolnikov becomes perhaps the most famous showman in humor and satire, offers and masters new genres and formats, experiments with them. “Oba-na!”, “Ugol-Show”, “Good Evening with Igor Ugolnikov” — these shows were among the most popular. In his shows he discovered many of today’s stars. Maria Aronova and Nonna Grishayeva first showed up in “Oba-na”, “Doctor Ugol” was one of the first TV-appearances of Sergei Bezrukov.

“Three lives” of Igor Ugolnikov, three periods of his fate, relations with the world and sense of self.

The first life. After graduating from GITIS, he worked at the Gogol Theatre, was a star of skits in the House of Actors and played in Grigori Gurvich’s La Chauve-Souris.

The second life. Vladislav Listyev often attended the plays of La Chauve-Souris. He offered Igor Ugolnikov to try himself in television. “Oba-na!” became Ugolnikov’s finest hour, “Good Evening with Igor Ugolnikov” was the first attempt of a Saturday night show on the Russian TV.

The third life. In 2006, Igor Ugolnikov is appointed Head of the Broadcasting Organization of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.In 2007, Igor Ugolnikov becomes CEO of the satellite television channel TRO. As Ugolnikov himself says, working as an official and head of the channel helped him make his dream come true — to become a producer of the film “The Brest Fortress”. TV series called “Fortress”, a full version of “the Brest Fortress” feature film, won in four nominations of TEFI-2011 in “Professions” category. However, before completing this project, he had to overcome many obstacles. The greatest one was psychological: many refused to take the “TV clown” seriously. Nevertheless, he risked — and won.