Gregory Popovich
Paul Wellman (file)

In December 2007, Gregory Popovich brought his entourage of human and animal performers to Santa Barbara, delighting audience members with feats of juggling, balance, and training. Four years later, the World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater is returning to S.B. to perform two nights at the Lobero Theatre.

A master of the art of herding cats, Popovich’s act doesn’t consist of silly pet tricks; it is a top-notch variety show that includes the juggling, physical comedy, European-style clowning, balancing, and jump-roping talents of Popovich and his four-person ensemble, as well as feats of skill by his highly trained animals. Popovich’s menagerie includes plenty of cats and dogs, as well as doves, white mice, and ferrets. All of the Popovich animal stars are adopted from shelters.

Born to Russian circus performers, Popovich started juggling when he was six. By the time he was 17, he’d earned himself a spot in the Great Moscow Circus Group. Mind you, the Moscow Circus isn’t dancing elephants and clowns with big shoes and water-squirting plastic daisies but rather a serious art form that, in Russia, is regarded as on par with the ballet or opera. In addition to performing, Popovich — who has several gold medals and holds multiple world records in the art of juggling — spent five years earning the special degree of circus creator and producer.

Based out of Las Vegas, Popovich and his troupe have toured the world, won numerous international circus competitions, and been guests on television shows such as the Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.


The World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater performs Sunday, October 2, at 4 and 7 p.m., and Monday, October 3, 7 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street. For tickets, call 963-0761 or visit


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