Ross Shafer was raised in the rugged timberlands of the Pacific Northwest where he showed no promise as an accordian prodigy. The sound hurt his ears arid it just wasnt the campfire instrument he dreamed it would be.
In Junior High, Ross mowed enough lawns to buy his first electric guitar and formed a rock-and-roll band. Unfortunately, he didnt mow enough lawns to buy an amplifier, so his talent went largely unnoticed.
Skating through High School as an unlikely student body president, Ross was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Puget Sound--a small NCAA-II school whose pride became swollen when they defeated Slippery Rock State. Although he was often the player "shaken up on the play", he did obtain a marketing degree in four years an achievement hes convinced is a school record.
In college, he and fellow linebacker Ron Reeves (whose name is mentioned here to publicly embarrass him) tried to earn money as a singing comedy duo. However, Ron abandoned the team at the first site of a real job and Ross was forced to joke solo while paying the rent writing ad copy for desperate carpet companies. He also blew his savings on what he was sure to be the next "big thing!! Americas only Stereo and Pet shop. It was about as successful as chocolate bicycle tires.
Business failures aside, his jokes still got laughs and virtually overnight (six grueling years), major nightclubs, and corporations were duped into hiring Ross to open shows for Dionne Warwick, Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, Neil Sedaka and other famous people with good voices.
Coincidentally, in the summer of 1984, a Seattle television station had the notion to produce a weekly comedy/talk show called ALMOST LIVE with ROSS SHAFER and launched a search to find a comedian with that name. Some called it dumb luck.
In the four years Ross was at the helm, the show collected over thirty five Emmy awards; six going to Ross for his work as actor and host, and an IRIS award for the "best entertainment series" in the country; which can only be explained as a typo.
These were busy times for Ross who also hosted a four hour afternoon radio show on Seattles K.J.R. He never played accordian requests.
Ross also became a regular contributor to Dick Clarks "T.V. BLOOPERS and PRACTICAL
For awhile, critics claimed that Ross looked more like a game show host than a comedian. So, in a hostile takeover, the USA network hired him to host their game show "LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT". He also taped game show pilots for N.B.C and A.B.C.. .a disturbing pattern was developing.
Riding the wave created by this higher profile, two ROSS SHAFER COMEDY SPECIALS followed, plus a role on Fox televisions "21 JUMP STREET". About the same time, the FOX network lost Joan Rivers but still had a program called THE LATE SHOW, complete with scenery, a band (no accordians), and comfortable seating for six. After a bevy of rotating hosts, Ross was hired as the permanent guy and he enjoyed the daily cheese tray.
Ross continued to perfect his stand up act and told jokes-a-plenty on EVENING AT THE IMPROV, COMIC STRIP LIVE, CAROLINES COMEDY HOUR, HOLLYWOOD SQUARES, WIN, LOSE or DRAW, THE "A" LIST, and others.
Next came DAYS END, a nightly ABC entertainment magazine show co-hosted by Ross and Good Morning Americas, Spencer Christian. Even though the show didnt have a band or woofing audience, a lot of people watched it anyway.
He also become a published author with a comedy cookbook called COOK-LIKE-A-STUD... .38 recipes men can prepare in the garage using their own tools! Yeah, we know.. .too much free time on his hands.
Oh yes, and then there was a successful year long run as the host of the new MATCH GAME on the ABC network. Ross in Hollywood, chatting it up with celebrities and spinning a prize wheel. Sounds like heaven, right? If only the earthquakes, fires, riots and torrential rains hadnt hit L.A. in the same year. And, it aint accordian music.