Paul Shaffer became famous as the man behind the piano on David Letterman’s late night shows for over 33 years. This fall on AXS TV, we’re putting him (and of course, his piano), in center stage for the brand new series, Paul Shaffer Plus One. He’ll sit down with a star-studded lineup of rockstars to learn about their life, career, and jam together on a few of their favorite songs. Before the big premiere with Joe Walsh on September 15th, learn a few fun facts about the latest member of the AXS TV family!
Shaffer earned his degree from the University of Toronto in 1971. While at the university, he began playing with jazz musicians and performing at bars around the school. He also found an interest in musicals, which helped him begin his musical career after graduation.
Since its inception in 1986, Shaffer has served as the musical director and producer for the star-studded ceremonies that take place at the legendary Hall of Fame. He also filled the same role for the 1996 Olympic Games closing ceremonies in Atlanta, Georgia.
Shaffer has had small roles in Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap, Blues Brothers 2000, has a scene with Miles Davis in the Bill Murray film Scrooged, and is a passenger in John Travolta’s taxicab in Look Who’s Talking Too. Shaffer has even lent his voice to Disney as the character Hermes in Hercules.
Shaffer was a part of Saturday Night Live house band from 1975 to 1980. In the fall of 1979, he became the first person to say “f#$@” on the show. That year, SNL parodied The Troggs Tapes with a medieval musical sketch featuring Shaffer, Bill Murray, Harry Shearer, and John Belushi. In the middle of a long tirade which featured repeated use of the word “flogging”, Shaffer accidentally uttered the forbidden word. It slipped through the censors in the live broadcast and the West Coast taped airing. It also reappeared in the summer rerun, and even in the syndicated versions of the show for several years. Skip to 6:45 in the video above to check it out.
Reportedly, Jerry Seinfeld offered Shaffer the role of George in Seinfeld. He never auditioned for the role, Seinfeld simply called to offer him the job. He never returned the phone call.
Paul Shaffer Plus One PREMIERES September 15th at 8/7c as part of Sunday Night Rocks!
Music is back on TV. Only on AXS TV.
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