David Letterman’s sidekick on his ‘dream job,’ Jewish upbringing

By ROBERT GLUCK

(JNS.org) — A Jewish upbringing taught Paul Shaffer, David Letterman’s music director and sidekick because that 32 years, the value of providing back.

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Musician and Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer (Photo through Daniel Fetter)


“My mom taught by example,” Shaffer said in an interview with JNS.org. “She was a an excellent supporter the Israel. She was a an excellent supporter of neighborhood charities and also gave her time because that the Hadassah (the women’s Zionist organization), as well as the women auxiliary at the hospital. Farming up i watched this, therefore it simply came herbal to me. Getting associated in charities and also fundraisers myself came to be a good opportunity because that me to usage my musical talents to carry out some good.”

In April, Letterman announced his will to pensioner in 2015 about the time once his contract through CBS expires next August, an interpretation the finish of the line for the “Late present with David Letterman.” What’s following for Shaffer?

“I’m walk to shot to find something i beg your pardon is as much fun as this has actually been, however it is no going to be easy because it really has been the dream project for me,” that told JNS.org. “Getting to play every day, have my own band, execute comedy, go up versus the quickest, smartest guy in the business–it’s no going to be easy, but I’m still going come play the piano. I’ll be looking for much more ways to do that.”

Shaffer’s parents, Shirley and Bernard, introduced him to the piano once he was growing up in ft William (now Thunder Bay), Ontario, Canada. That went ~ above to work as the musical director for the Toronto manufacturing of “Godspell” in 1972. Two years later he play piano because that “The Magic Show” on Broadway and became a member that the home band top top NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) from 1975-1980.

“My parental said, ‘That son is going to play the piano and that’s the method it’s going to be,’” said Shaffer. “Playing the piano was obligatory, however I delighted in it and also still do. Over there was always music playing in mine house. My mother with she Broadway show tunes as well as classical tunes. My dad played the great jazz singers of his era. I had music constantly ringing in mine ears.”

From his role as music director for john Belushi and Dan Aykroyd whenever they tape-recorded or performed as “The Blues Brothers,” to his appearances through Adam Sandler, Shaffer has actually fond memory of the SNL comics.

“It to be a time as soon as they to be making this ingredient up and also inventing it because that the an initial time and figuring the end what kind of show SNL was going to be,” Shaffer said. “It to be going to stand for the youth culture. It was going to break down the barriers. I gained to it is in there and watch this happen and develop. I spoke through Lorne Michaels a couple of years ago and I said in watching few of the music parodies, ‘These men are much better now than we were.’ Lorne said, ‘You can only be first once.’ by that perhaps he intended that the first cast laid under the pattern and also showed exactly how this was to it is in done.”

Shaffer has actually played and also recorded with numerous famed musicians, consisting of Ray Charles, B.B. King, Donald Fagen, Diana Ross, Carl Perkins, Robert Plant, Billy Joel, and also Bob Dylan. His own album, “Coast come Coast,” was nominated because that a Grammy in 1989. Quickly he will certainly broadcast his 2,500th segment that Paul Shaffer’s “Day in Rock,” a radio display that illustrates the daily history of rock and roll. The everyday vignette color etc on Shaffer’s vast musical knowledge and also his ability to offer skilled commentary on the background of rock.

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“It’s what ns love,” that said. “I have actually a vast compendium of fun facts and also comic absent trivia. Whatever we talk around is accurate however we present it through a comic twist. Type of favor what john Stewart does through the news , we execute with rock trivia.”

In June 2006, Shaffer got a star ~ above Canada’s go of Fame. Still, every little thing his other an individual achievements are, he will forever be associated to David Letterman. Asked to define Letterman’s legacy, he called him “the man that every the other talk show hosts looked to, to figure out just how to behave in times of stress.”

“Right ~ the 9/11 strike comes to mind,” Shaffer said. “He continued to be off the waiting initially. The went back on then anyone else went ago on. He said, ‘It’s time to begin going earlier to our normal lives and also laughing again.’ anyone else said, ‘Yes the is.’ that’s his legacy. An intelligent man on the spot. A genuine intelligent male behind the workdesk who really knew just how to operation a present like that. Interviewing not just the craziest clown or comedic performer up to the leader the the free world and also doing a great job no matter who the was.”

Reflecting top top his Jewish upbringing, the 64-year-old Shaffer said, “Judaism is certainly a blueprint to carry up your kids, and if you follow that blueprint, you deserve to be assured the they space going to it is in great, that they will bring on the legacy of your parents.”

“My parents to be the greatest,” he said. “They lugged me up that way. Not all that observant, yet there was just one synagogue in city which to be Orthodox, therefore my education was Orthodox. It offers me something to fall back on spiritually, that sort of background.”


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Neo-Nazi group hangs ‘Vax the Jews’ banner in Austin, Texas simply a few blocks from JCC and synagogues

(JTA) — Members the a neo-Nazi team hung a banner from a leg in Austin, Texas with the message “Vax the Jews” ~ above Sunday.

The banner was placed up by members that the Goyim Defense League, which has actually been behind