Paul Shaffer is most well known for being the bandleader on David Letterman's late-night talk show, both at NBC and CBS, from 1982 to the present. He demonstrates a great sense of humor through his bantering with Letterman and the songs played as guests walk on the show. He also exudes a love of show business, past and present, and appearances by celebrities he has met are sprinkled all throughout the book. With the assistance of David Ritz, both Shaffer's traits are on display and make for a very entertaining read.
As Shaffer reveals his life to readers, his anecdotes frequently make clear he is both a Canadian from Thunder Bay, Ontario, and the Orthodox Jewish son of Bernard and Shirley, yet I couldn't help wonder as I moved through chapters, if he was also Tralfamadorian, the alien race in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five who aren't bound by time, because of the non-linear way in which his memoir is presented.
The prologue opens in 1971 with a 21-year-old Shaffer playing in a Toronto strip club. Then the first chapter finds Shaffer in New York City for his interactions with Bob Dylan over the years: from Saturday Night Live in 1979, when Shaffer was the show's house-band piano player, as Dylan rehearsed "Gotta Serve Somebody" to 1988 when Dylan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where Shaffer has acted as the musical director and producer since its inception, and finishing up in 1992 for Late Night's 10th anniversary special at Radio City Music Hall. A couple chapters later, Shaffer is a young man listening to his father's copy of Ray Charles' Genius Plus Soul Equals Jazz in 1962 and the next he is playing with Brother Ray on SNL in 1977 and working hard to keep up.