Yan was born in Odessa, Ukraine. Due to the dearth of improvisational comedy opportunities in the crumbling USSR, his family immigrated to New York City with a dream in one hand and a pile of scratchy sweaters in the other. He has studied at UCB with Shaun Diston, Dan Hodapp, Tim Martin, Winston Noel, Kate Riley, and Gavin Speiller and great coaches like Amanda Dieli, Chris Griswold, Ian Herrin, Hal Phillips, Morgan Phillips, Riley Soloner, Andrew Yurman-Glaser, and others. He's also taken classes at Magnet and the PIT and likes to play and jam with funny people at these venues and in your living room. He owns several Simpsons environments, some of which require new batteries.