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Ross Shafer was reared in the rugged timberlands of the Pacific Northwest, where he showed no promise as an accordion prodigy. The sound hurt his ears and it just wasn't the make-me-popular-at-a-campfire instrument he dreamed it would be. In junior high school, Ross Shafer mowed enough lawns to switch instruments and buy an electric guitar. Unfortunately, he didn't mow enough lawns to buy an amplifier. So his talent went largely unnoticed.
As a senior in high school, Ross Shafer made an unlikely student body president. His only true political aspiration was to fight for the right to sing the unabridged lyrics to Louie, Louie.
A High School All Conference football player, Ross Shafer was awarded a scholarship to play for the University of Puget Sound - a small NCAA-II school whose pride became swollen when they defeated famed Slippery Rock State. Although he was often the player voted most likely to be shaken up on the play, he did obtain a Business Marketing BA degree within four years...an achievement he's convinced is a school record.
Ross Shafer won the 1983 Showtime Comedy Laugh Off...and virtually overnight (six grueling years) major nightclubs and corporations were hiring Ross Shafer to open shows for Dionne Warwick, Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, Neil Sedaka, and other famous people with good voices. In the summer of 1984, a Seattle television station (KING-TV) had the notion to produce a weekly comedy/talk show called, Almost Live with Ross Shafer and launched a search for a comedian with that name. Imagine Ross' amazing luck.
In the four years Ross Shafer was at the helm of Almost Live, the show collected nearly 40 Emmy Awards, six going to Ross Shafer for his work as host, actor, and writer - and the prestigious IRIS award for the Best Entertainment Series in the United States.
These were busy times for Ross Shafer, who also hosted a daily four-hour afternoon drive radio program on KJR-AM. He never played accordion music. Ross Shafer became a regular contributor to Dick Clark's TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes and appeared with Mr. Clark as a guest when he successfully changed the Official Washington State Song to Louie, Louie. Ross Shafer could finally get some sleep.
For a while, critics claimed that with his massive head of hair, Ross Shafer looked more like a game show host than a comedian. So, in a semi-hostile takeover, the USA Network hired Ross Shafer to host their game show, Love Me, Love me Not. He also taped game show pilots for NBC and ABC.
Under the illusion that game shows were somehow culturally important, Ross Shafer was offered two Ross Shafer Comedy TV Specials, plus a recurring role on Fox Television's 21 Jump Street.
About the same time, the Fox network lost Joan Rivers as the host of their flagship late night program, The Late Show. It competed against Johnny Carson and David Letterman and came complete with scenery, a band, and comfortable talk show seating for six. After a bevy of rotating hosts, Ross Shafer was hired as the permanent guy. He chatted it up with celebrities and enjoyed an upscale daily cheese tray.
Ross Shafer continued to perfect his stand-up act and told jokes on Evening At The Improv Comic Strip Live, The A List, and a cavalcade of others.
Next came, Days End, a nightly ABC entertainment magazine co-hosted by Ross Shafer and Matt Lauer. Ross Shafer also became a published author with the comedy cookbook, Cook Like A Stud...38 recipes men can prepare in the garage using their own tools. He wrote and produced the highly acclaimed comedy CD, Inside the First Family, a send up of the Clinton Scandals.
All along, Ross Shafer has continued to perform for corporate audiences worldwide. Two new careers came from his corporate exposure. He found that many top company executives are plagued with stage fright. So, Ross Shafer is frequently asked to work one-on-one as an executive Public Speaking Coach. Secondly, he has taken a special interest in the decay of customer service. So, rather than complain about it, he has written and produced a dozen funny HR training films on the subject, which are now distributed all over the globe.
Besides his speaking schedule, Ross Shafer is a comedy and game show consultant for the USA network, Bravo, Comedy Central, Broadway Video, and TNN. Ross Shafer says he prefers the exhilaration of performing before a live audience...just as long as he doesn't have to accommodate accordion requests.
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