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Real Name: Paul Allen Wood Shaffer

Identity/Class: Human (Canada; naturalized citizen of the United States)

Occupation: Musician (pianist);
                     formerly musical director of the Late Show with David Letterman band leader of the CBS Orchestra;
                     formerly musical director of Late Night with David Letterman and band leader of The World's Most Dangerous Band

Group Membership: CBS Orchestra (Felicia Collins, Anton Fig, Will Lee, Sid McGinnis);
formerly World's Most Dangerous Band (Hiram Bullock, Anton Fig, Steve Jordan, Will Lee, Sid McGinnis)

Affiliations: Roseanne Barr, Beast (Hank McCoy), Black Panther (T'Challa), Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), Eddie Murphy, Johnny Carson, George Cooper, Googam, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), David Letterman, Mockingbird (Bobbi Morse-Barton), Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Wonder Man (Simon Williams)

Enemies: Abomination (Emil Blonksy), Shocker (Herman Schultz), Fabian Stankowicz

Known Relatives: Bernard Shaffer (father, deceased), Shirley Shaffer (mother, deceased), Victoria Lily Shaffer (daughter), Will Shaffer (son), Cathy Vasapoli (wife)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: New York City, New York;
                                   formerly Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

First Appearance: Avengers I#239 (January, 1984)

Powers/Abilities: Paul Shaffer possesses no known superhuman abilities. A gifted pianist, organ player, arranger and band leader with a nigh encyclopedic knowledge of arrangements and show business trivia, he has mastered a variety of musical styles. Shaffer, an avid lover of 1950s and 60ss Hollywood, has developed a schmaltzy, over the top on air persona and frequently uses archaic affectations, calling men 'cats' for instance . For added effect, he dresses in flashy clothing and wears outrageous designer glasses. Shaffer is unable to sight-read sheet music, which prevents him from playing a piece on the spot though he feels that he can learn given enough time and practice. This inability has contributed to his musical improvisational skills.

Height: 5'5"
Weight: 125 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Bald (previously brown)


(Avengers I#239) - When the Avengers were scheduled to appear on Late Night With David Letterman, band leader Paul Shaffer decided to dress for the occasion. The Canadian born musician showed up to the taping, wearing a Captain America jersey in their honor. David Letterman noted Shaffer's outfit during the choice, causing Paul to comment that he'd never looked forward to any show as much as he had this one because the Avengers were simply marvelous in his book. Soon after the Avengers sat down for their interview, disturbed inventive genius Fabian Stankowicz attacked, turning the studio's equipment against the team. Somewhat taken aback, the ever professional Shaffer told the World's Most Dangerous Band to prevent the audiece from panicking by playing some music to make the incident seem part of the programme. Shaffer then led his band in playing a couple of fast choruses from Wipeout. In the end, Letterman knocked Stankowicz out with a giant doorknob and the show continued as if nothing really major had happened, going to commercial and cautioning the viewers to not try this at home.

(Avengers I#239 - BTS) - The Avengers episode of Late Night With David Letterman was pre-empted on the East Coast moments after it had started when breaking news came in about a chemical barge that had caught on fire on New York's East River. However, the show did eventually air three hours later on the West Coast.

(US1#8 - BTS) - Al the Alien and his people watched the David Letterman show.

(West Coast Avengers I#3 - BTS) - Wonder Man's appearance on Late Night With David Letterman was broadcast on the West Coast. The episode was seen by an agent who was so thoroughly impressed by Simon Williams that he arranged for him to come to Hollywood and work as a stuntman.

(Dakota North#2 - BTS) - Paul Shaffer led the band the night noted author George Cooper was on the show. Cooper was the third and final guest o the night, following the popular "Stupid Pet Tricks" animal act. He proved to be very entertaining himself, much to the relief of private investigator Dakota North who had gone through a great deal of trouble keeping Cooper safe from an assassin earlier that day.

(West Coast Avengers II#25 - BTS) -Shaffer was present during a confrontation between Wonder Man and the Abomination (Emil Blonksy) at the NBC Studios in Burbank, California. The taping of Late Night With David Letterman was interrupted when the two combatants slammed each other through the various studios and made it on to the set.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#299) - Paul Shaffer ran into Mary Jane Watson-Parker and her new husband Peter at the Spawning Club, one of New York's hippest nightclubs. He approached her from behind as Mary Jane was greeting fellow club visitor Eddie Murphy. Poking her on the shoulder, the ever smooth Shaffer quickly schmoozed the happy couple, congratulating them on tying the knot and convincing Mary Jane to join him for "just one nutty little dance". Somewhat star struck, Peter told him it was fine.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#303 - BTS) - Spider-Man returned from his nightly patrol to find his wife Mary Jane Watson-Parker asleep on the couch with the TV on. By the time Peter arrived, David Letterman was in the middle of his Late Night monologue, commenting on the news that Ronald Reagan had been seen as a snake man.

(Wolfpack#1 - BTS) - On the night the members of the Wolfpack invaded the home of a heroine dealer trading in tainted drugs, Late Night With David Letterman was on. Some of the guards were watching the show when right in the middle of Stupid Pet Tricks featuring a rather fast pet alligator, the Pack attacked them. Letterman asked Shaffer if he'd ever seen an alligator do anything like that before, the dry witted band leader deadpanned Canada doesn't have a lot of alligators.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#335) - Paul Shaffer and the World's Most Dangerous Band were among the stars performing at Madison Square Garden as part of a celebrity fund raiser for the New York Public Library. Shaffer and the band were to follow Captain America, who dazzled the crowd with his shield mastery before leaving in a Quinjet. Moments later, the Shocker decided to make his move and rob the charity. He was opposed by Spider-Man (who had been attending the event as Peter Parker). The ensuing fight spilled on to the stage, with Shaffer running for cover thinking to himself this was a fine example of Stupid Human Tricks.

(Wolverine II#90 - BTS) - Shaffer watched in silence when David Letterman interviewed comedian Roseanne Barr. Dave dared her to show where she had the tattoo of her ex-husband Tom Arnold's name removed. Barr refused, asking Letterman to show where the NBC logo he had put on used to be.

(Iron Man III#41 - BTS) - Shortly after Iron Man (actually the suit's Ultron influenced artificial intelligence) brutally slaughtered his longtime enemy Whiplash (Mark Scarlotti),  David Letterman's Late Show used the tragedy as a topic of one of Dave's top 10 lists. Paul and the band provided musical accompaniment while Dave counted down the reasons why Iron Man works for Tony Stark, the number one being "the mafia won't hire him because he's too brutal!". 

(Amazing Spider-Man II#474 - BTS) - During a prolonged fight against the mysterious and powerful Morlun, Spider-Man briefly retreated to a rooftop where he happened to overhear part of David Letterman's monologue. This made him realize his struggle against Morlun had been going on for over 3 hours.

(Captain America & the Falcon#8) - The Late Show with David Letterman was on in Germany when an unidentified HYDRA operative tuned in to the show, hearing Dave talking to Paul Shaffer about his meeting with CBS president Leslie Moonves, subtly hinting things didn't go smoothly by quoting his signature line "I wouldn't give my problems to a monkey on a rock". Moments later, the HYDRA operative became aware of M.O.D.O.K.'s presence. The Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing proved true to form by brutally murdering the man.

(Marvel Monsters: Fin Fang Four#1 - BTS) - After the "Fin Fang Four" made headlines as heroes for defeating Tim Boo Ba, a heavily-bandaged Googam went on the David Letterman Show.

Comments: Created by Roger Stern (writer), Allen Milgrom (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks).

Shaffer is so much more than the man who's laughed at Letterman's jokes for 30+ years. It's easy to forget how skilled an arranger he is, but the level of his talent really shone during the annual Late Show Christmas episode during which he'd recreate Phil Spector's famous 'wall of sound' to back up Darlene Love's renditon of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). He's also an underestimated comedic talent and impersonator, a particular highlight is his recounting of that time in the 70s he watched Cher coming out with her hands in a muff. His list of non-Letterman related credits is equally impressive, with Paul being part of the first Saturday Night Live cast, appearing in This Is Spinal Tap as well as serving as the musical director for the yearly Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He is also the first writer and musician to ever compose a themesong for (his own) autobiography. And, if nothing else, he co-wrote perhaps the ultimate gay anthem: the Weather Girls' classic 1983 hit song It's Raining Men.

Sliding timescale or not, Paul Shaffer's appearance hasn't changed that much over the decades, give or take a hair or two. Or, as his good friend Martin Short ia wont to put it: "Paul looks like someone put sunglasses on a stick of deodorant".

You'll note that all the times David Letterman appeared on television have been included in Shaffer's profile as well, even if he wasn't directly seen or heard. Out of all the 6000+ shows Letterman hosted, Paul Shaffer only missed about two dozen of them so it's a pretty safe bet he was present whenever Dave was.

Profile by Norvo.

Paul Shaffer should not be confused with

images: (without ads)
Avengers I#239, p9, pan4 (main image)
Amazing Spider-Man I#299, p7, pan6 (schmoozing away with MJ)
Amazing Spider-Man I#335, p16, pan1 (flees from Shocker)

Avengers I#239 (January, 1984) - Roger Stern (writer), Allen Milgrom (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Michael Carlin (editor), Larry "Bud" Melman (inspiration)
U.S. 1#8 (February, 1984) - Al Milgrom (writer), Frank Springer (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Ralph Macchio & Jim Shooter (editors)
West Coast Avengers I#3 (November, 1984) - Roger Stern (writer), Bob Hall (pencils), Brett Breeding (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Dakota North#2 (August, 1985) - Martha Thomases (writer), Tony Salmons (pencils & inks), Larry Hama (pencils)
West Coast Avengers II#25 (October, 1987) - Steve Englehart (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Mike Machlan (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#299 (April, 1988) - David Michelinie (writer), Todd McFarlane (pencils), Bob McLeod (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#303 (August, 1988) - David Michelinie (writer), Todd McFarlane (pencils & inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Wolfpack#1 (August, 1988) - Larry Hama (writer), Ron Wilson (pencils), Kyle Baker (inks), Ann Nocenti & Terry Kavanagh (editors)
Amazing Spider-Man I#335 (Late July, 1990) - David Michelinie (writer), Erik Larsen (pencils), Terry Austen (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Wolverine II#90 (February, 1995) - Larry Hama (writer), Adam Kubert (pencils), Mark Farmer & Dan Green (inks), Bob Harras (editor)
Iron Man III#41 (June, 2001) - Frank Tieri (writer),  Keron Grant (pencils), Rob Stull (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#474 (September, 2001) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Axel Alonso (editor)
Captain America and the Falcon#8 (December, 2004) - Christopher Priest (writer), Andrea Divito (pencils), Scott Koblish (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel Monsters: Fin Fang Four#1 (December, 2005) - Scott Gray (writer), Roger Langridge (artist), John Barber (editor)

Last updated: 03/28/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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