In George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984, he foresaw a time where Big Brother scrutinizes human actions, and stifles freedom and non-conformity. But while Orwell was busy focusing on Big Brother, he completely overlooked the arrival of Little Brother in 1984. It was a brand-new Seattle TV comedy show named “Almost Live!” And it’s very first host was a local guy named Ross Shafer. He was a graduate of Federal Way High School, and then the University of Puget Sound, where he played some football and majored in business. For a while, he owned and managed the country’s only Stereo and Pet Shop in Puyallup. It seemed like a perfect idea – because when people think of stereos, they naturally think of cockatoos.
But after three years of that, Ross took a daytime advertising job for the Squire Shop clothing chain, which had 28 stores. But when nighttime came along, he showed up at local comedy clubs, trying out jokes and putting together an act. After some hard years of blood, sweat, tears, and heckling, he won Seattle’s International Comedy competition and hit the road as an opening act for people like Crystal Gayle, Dionne Warwick, and Neil Sedaka.
Then the chance to host a new local TV comedy show called “Almost Live!” came along. He took the gig for five years, but then jumped at a chance to host The Late Show on the Fox network. He did that for a year, and then moved on to other network programs. He hosted game shows, wrote a best-selling book, produced a comedy album, and headlined night clubs and casinos across the country.
Then – as they say – he reinvented himself. And today, he’s a top business keynote speaker and seminar leader, producing loads of human resource training films and has authored several books including “Nobody Moved Your Cheese”, “The Customer Shouts Back” and “Are You Relevant?”
And later, Ross was inducted into the National Speakers Hall of Fame.
When he’s not living in that Hall, he can be found at his home in Denver, CO – That’s where I caught up with him.