Last night America and the world not only bid farewell to David Letterman, but also to his long time sidekick and band leader Paul Shaffer. The CBS Orchestra which Shaffer led for 22 years was also disbanded.
The world first met the Canadian funny man and musician in the 1970s as the band leader and bit player on the original Saturday Night Live. Shaffer started as just a musician, but when John Belushi and Dan Akroid left the show in 1979 he was promoted to feature player for its fifth season.
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The following year, Shaffer left the show along with its entire original cast.
Two years later he would return as the sidekick for David Letterman’s new and groundbreaking late night talk show simply called “Late Night.” Shaffer spent the next 33 years at Letterman’s side.
Shaffer told Times Free Press, “of course, I had the old mixed feelings, sadness, etc. Now I have come around to just being absolutely thankful for such a wonderful run–such a long run working for a guy who has been nothing but encouraging to me.”
Before the end, Letterman invited Shaffer to play the role of guest on the show and they reminisced about their 30 plus years together.