Shaffir performing in July 2016.
|Born||February 12, 1974|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Medium||Stand-up comedy, television, film, podcast|
Ari Shaffir (born February 12, 1974) is an American comedian, actor, podcaster, writer, and producer. He is producer and host of the Skeptic Tank podcast. He also co-hosts the podcast Punch Drunk Sports with Jayson Thibault and Sam Tripoli, and is a regular guest on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. He created and previously hosted and produced the television series This is Not Happening, an adaptation of his monthly stand-up show.
Shaffir's father, born in Iași, Romania, and grandmother were Holocaust survivors. Ari was born in New York City, the second of four children born to Nat and Merryl Shaffir. Soon after his birth, his family moved to North Carolina. The family was raised conservative Jewish until Ari was 9 years old and the family moved to Maryland and adopted Orthodox Jewish beliefs. He attended high school in Rockville, Maryland, studied sacred texts in a yeshiva in Israel for two years, attended Yeshiva University in New York City. Shaffir played on the University's NCAA golf team in 1995 and claims he was the lowest ranked NCAA athlete. He transferred in his second year to the University of Maryland and graduated in 1999 with a degree in English Literature.
Shaffir's first and only comedy performance on stage before he moved to Los Angeles took place in his early twenties at an open mic night at a "sports comedy place in Northern Virginia". Following his graduation from university, Shaffir moved to Los Angeles to improve his chances of success as a stand-up comedian. He took up work answering the phones at The Comedy Store, which led to positions in the cover booth and "the door", until owner Mitzi Shore made him a paid regular, four-and-a-half years later. His early influences in comedy include watching showcase comedy shows on television as a youngster and comedians on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He cites Bill Burr as his favorite living comedian. He became bicoastal, living in both Los Angeles and New York City in 2012, hoping to advance his stand-up career further by increasing the number of sets he performed in a week at New York's many comedy clubs. He became a New York resident in 2015.
Shaffir first became known to a wider audience with the viral video series The Amazing Racist. He became an opening act for Joe Rogan in the late 2000s and began touring with Rogan and fellow comics Joey Diaz, Duncan Trussell, Tom Segura, Brian Redban and Eddie Bravo. In 2009 he appeared at the Montreal Comedy Festival as part of The Nasty Show. The following year he created, produced and hosted the monthly live show This Is Not Happening, with Eric Abrams, a stand-up comedy featuring numerous comedians telling true-life stories around a theme. The show would become a regular feature at comedy festivals and debuted as a web series in 2013 and premiered in January 2015 on Comedy Central. He left the show as producer and host in 2017 after selling his third special, Double Negative, to Netflix rather than Comedy Central. Roy Wood Jr. replaced him as host.
In 2010 Shaffir appeared on the 3rd episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, his first of 44 appearances on the show. In 2011, Shaffir began his podcast, Skeptic Tank. On most episodes, Shaffir picks a subject his guests (most comedians) can discuss as experts. While subjects are often comics he's also discussed serious issues such as mental health, suicide, rape, and prison. Every 50 episodes the comedy team Danish and O’Neill appear as guests. In 2013, Shaffir began to cohost the sports podcast Punch Drunk Sports with fellow comedians Sam Tripoli and Jayson Thibault. His appearances became less frequent after moving to the East Coast full-time.
Shaffir released his first stand-up album Revenge for the Holocaust in 2012 which became the number one comedy album on both Itunes and Amazon in its 1st week. In 2013 he produced his first television special, Passive Aggressive, for Chill.com. In 2015 his second special, Paid Regular, premiered on Comedy Central the same week This is Not Happening premiered on the same channel. In 2017 he premiered Double Negative on Netflix, two 45 minute shows (based on the concept of a double album), the first titled Children and the second named Adulthood. As of 2019 he's been touring with the show Ari Shaffir: Jew, the next special he intends to film. He premiered Double Negative and Ari Shaffir: Jew at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Shaffir spent several years earning a living as a commercial actor, appearing in ads for Coke Zero, Subway, Dominos, and Bud Light. He appeared in the comedy feature film Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016). As of 2017, Shaffir claims to have no interest in pursuing acting which could take him away from his stand-up.
- The Fax (2004; short film)
- Reeling in Reality (2005)
- Pauly Shore's Natural Born Komics (2007)
- inAPPropriate Comedy (2013)
- Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016)
- Revenge for the Holocaust (2012)
- Passive Aggressive (2013)
- Paid Regular (2015)
- Double Negative (2017)
- Minding the Store (2005; three episodes)
- West Side Stories (2012; television film)
- This Is Not Happening (2013–2017)
- What's Your F@#Cking Deal?!?! (2016)
- "Ari answers questions on his Youtube channel". Retrieved November 10, 2018.
- "Nat Shaffir (Nathan Spitzer)". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
- Downs, Gordon (1 June 2011). "Ari Shaffir on Hollywood Comedy Route, Joe Rogan and Mushrooms". SanDiego.com. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- Tornga, Mark (10 May 2012). "A.V. Club Ari Shaffir interview". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- Jatz, Jessie (10 February 2015). "'Off the Cuff' Podcast: Comedian Ari Shaffir On Trading the Synagogue for the Strip Club". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- DeMayo, Jen (26 August 2011). "Interview with comedian Ari Shaffir". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "Edinburgh Fringe Interview: Ari Shaffir". The New Current. 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "Interview: Ari Shaffir". TimeOut Hong Kong. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- Burns, Ashley (21 January 2015). "UPROXX Interview: Comedian Ari Shaffir Has One Rule For Storytelling: Don't Name Your Mushroom Dealer". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- Scott, Kevin (21 September 2012). "Ari Shaffir Talks About Magic Mushrooms and Being "the Amazing Racist"". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "Danish & O'Neill, Bert Kreischer & Doug Stanhope on Punch Drunk Sports". All Things Comedy. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
- "Punch Drunk Sports Ep#1". All Things Comedy. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- "THE SECOND SEASON OF "THIS IS NOT HAPPENING" PREMIERES ON COMEDY CENTRAL® ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23 AT 12:30 A.M. ET/PT". Comedy Central Press. 10 February 2016. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "InAPPropriate Comedy (2013) - Internet Movie Database". Retrieved November 10, 2018.
- "Ari Shaffir: Revenge for the Holocaust". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- Leftley, Nick (13 January 2015). "Ari Shaffir interview: 'You wouldn't want to tape a special on mushrooms'". TimeOut. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- "Roy Wood Jr. Is Taking Over as Host of Comedy Central's 'This Is Not Happening'". Retrieved November 10, 2018.