Musical Legend Paul Shaffer Talks About His Iconic Career

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Grammy Award-winning musical legend, Paul Shaffer, to discuss his iconic career from Saturday Night Live to The Late Show with David Letterman.

12/16/2019 #2269






"Take it off! Take it off! I knew it! The legend! Mr. Paul Shaffer! [applause] Paul Shaffer! Oh my God! Paul Shaffer! Woo! Yes! You got it. You got it. [music playing] There are a lot of things you could debate in this world politically and otherwise, but you do not debate that Paul Shaffer is the legend! Ah! You're here! I was the skeleton in that clip. The craziest thing. I did The Masked Singer. Do you know what that show is? No. It's the hugest show on television. Where have you been? Have you been...? Hold on. That show on Fox? The Masked Singer. Yeah. Go ahead. That's what it's called. And I was on it as the skeleton. I did not know they did... That's why we were watching that clip. [laughter] Are we on television right now? Okay. We are on television. Actually this is PBS. You're on television. Yes. Okay. A show... And you were the one...? Okay, you ready? The Masked Singer on Fox. Yeah. Yeah. And the non sequitur is this. You were the first word... the first person to use the f-word on broadcast late night television? Well that's... you know, you're going back to the first five years of Saturday Night Live. That's when I was around that show, as a pianist, and the house band writer of special material. And then even getting in some sketches. I was a featured player in the fifth season, and you know... That's right. one point in the fifth season, there was a sketch where we were playing medieval musicians and I was in a... James Taylor was in it and Belushi was in it too. John Belushi. And we were making... we were doing bad British accents, and we were saying, you know, every second word, well we couldn't say a profanity, so we made up our own word. The flogging this! We were talking about music, but couldn't really communicate except to say, "They're flogging... he had the flogging beat before. He had the flogging this! And the flogging that!" And somebody said, you know, "Those are funny. Add some more if you want." And I just got carried away. The next thing you know, it was live television, and I said that f-word. It happened? But nobody... everyone knew it was just a mistake. Because people have gotten fired, I think, since then, for doing that. Not you? But I wasn't doing it to be smart at all. No. And... It slipped out. Everybody knew it. And Lorne Michaels, the producer, afterwards said, "Well you just broke down the last barrier." That's it. And then he did that with his lip. [laughter] I'm not sure why. The reason I said that, in all seriousness, is you go from that to the Letterman..."