Veteran Comedian Headlining Comedy Show at Surflight on Oct. 12

By Rick Mellerup | Oct 02, 2019

Beach Haven — Steve Shaffer, who will headline Surflight Theatre’s next “Comedy Tonight” show on Saturday, Oct. 12, is a veteran comic, writer and actor who kicked off his showbiz career way back in 1983.


In just about a year Shaffer earned what was then the comedy equivalent to the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. He was repeatedly invited back to appear on “The Tonight Show,” and not with Jimmy Fallon or Jay Leno but with Johnny Carson, who was known for making or breaking young comedians’ careers.

“Johnny mentioned I’m from Philadelphia, South Philadelphia actually,” Shaffer told the audience on his first “Tonight Show” appearance. “South Philly, born and raised, where you have to be a least part Italian, which I am. I’m half Italian, half German. When I was a kid, I used to play war. I would attack and then immediately surrender.

“Best way to tell the difference between my two sides of the family? Funeral. Funeral, right? The Germans are like, ‘oh, he’s dead, what a shame, let’s go.’ The Italians are doing back flips into the grave, right? ‘That’s a lovely 9.2 for Aunt Rita.’

“At every Italian funeral there’s always a parade of fat aunts following the corpse everywhere, screaming at the top of their lungs, ‘Oh, God, take a me.’ Just once I’d like God to come down and go, ‘OK, Rita, you got it.’ And of course Rita would be like, ‘Hey, God, I’m only joking around ...’’

Shaffer has toured with George Carlin and Julio Iglesias and opened for the likes of Paul Anka, Willie Nelson, Frankie Avalon and The Beach Boys. In 1994 he was a writer for the Showtime program “Full Frontal Comedy,” which received an Ace Award for best variety show on cable. He’s appeared on “The Merv Griffin Show,” “The CBS Morning Show,” “The Late Show on Fox,” MTV’s “New Year’s Eve Special” and many others.

As an actor he played the no-nonsense bartender who booted Candice Bergen’s feisty character out of the “Men’s Club.” With a degree in education from Penn State he was double-qualified to teach stand-up comedy at New York City’s New School. And, of course, he has performed thousands of shows on cruise ships and college campuses and in corporate events and comedy clubs from coast to coast.

But seriously, folks, how do you beat a Johnny Carson endorsement?

Shaffer will be joined on the Surflight stage by host/MC Chris Dolan, the winner of the WMGK Philly Comedy Contest, and by featured performer Ed McGonigal, another Philly favorite.

Tickets for the show are $15 and may be purchased online at, by phone at 609-492-9477 or at the door.  —R.M.







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