Ross Shafer (December 10, 1954) is a comedian and television host turned motivational speaker/consultant, based in Denver, Colorado.
Shafer graduated from Federal Way High School in Federal Way, Washington. As a High School All Conference football player, he received a scholarship to play linebacker for the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington Where he earned a Business Marketing Degree.
Shafer began his career as a small town pet store manager-turned-stand-up comic in Seattle, Washington after winning the Showtime cable network's 1983 Showtime Comedy Laugh-Off. The following year he became the host and a writer-performer of the late-night comedy series that he created called Almost Live! on TV station KING/Channel 5. After 4½ years and nearly 40 Emmy awards, Shafer left to host Fox Network's The Late Show. Shafer's first national TV game show was Love Me, Love Me Not based on the unsold 1984 pilot for ABC called M'ama Non M'ama (hosted by Alex Trebek). The series was taped in Vancouver, British Columbia and it ran on the USA Network for a brief period from 1986 to 1987.
In 1985, Shafer spearheaded an effort to have Louie, Louie replace Washington, My Home by Helen Davis as Washington's official state song. Picking up on this initially prankish effort, Whatcom County Councilman Craig Cole introduced Resolution No. 85-12 in the state of a new Louie, Louie County. While the house did not pass it, the Senate's Resolution 1985-37 declared April 12, 1985, Louie, Louie Day. A crowd of 4,000, estimated by press reports, convened on the state capitol that day: speeches, singalongs and performances by the Wailers, the Kingsmen, Paul Revere and the Raiders. Three days later, a Seattle event commemorated the occasion with the premiere performance of a new, Washington-centric version of the song written by composer Berry.
In 1988, Shafer succeeded Joan Rivers as host of the Fox network talk show The Late Show. The stint lasted one year, after which Shafer co-hosted the ABC network magazine show Days End with rotating hosts Spencer Christian, Matt Lauer and Hannah Storm. From 1990 to 1991, Shafer hosted the ABC revival of Match Game.
In 1994, Shafer began writing and producing a series of 14 human resource training films through mid-2006, that were distributed in worldwide in nine language. He also wrote and produced the comedy album Inside the First Family about the travels and rumors surrounding the Clinton Administration.
As a seminar leader and motivator, he coined the phrase "customer empathy" created the Customer Empathy Institute at California State University Monterrey Bay and speaks at 100+ corporate events each year, and has written books including: Nobody Moved Your Cheese: How to Ignore the Experts and Trust Your Gut, The Customer Shouts Back!, and of course Customer Empathy. Separately, he wrote the comedy cookbook-for-men, Cook Like A Stud.
Ross is married to country singer Leah Shafer, with whom he has a daughter named Lauren Rae. He has two sons, Adam and Ryan, with his first wife.
His Official Site
Federal Way Public Schools Graduates of Note: Ross Shafer
University of Puget Sound alumni magazine Arches Unbound: "Laughter is Golden" (profile)
Ross Shafer's Wife Official Musical Website