Don’t pull on Superman’s cape, and don’t mess with Bill Shatner

11 Mar

William Shatner is funny, very funny. But there is a tendency to laugh at him, not with him.

This happens to some people. With Shatner, it somehow is related to his role as Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek. So many people loved that show, but with time it and the Kirk character became the butt of jokes.

The post-Trek work of Shatner, a one-time Shakespearean actor, has consistently stood out, winning top awards. I especially liked him in the TV show “Boston Legal” in the character of Denny Crane. But he remains haunted by Star Trek and appears quite sensitive about it.

Shatner has a one-person show that was on Broadway and is now on a national tour. It’s called “Shatner’s World,” and he wrote it. He recently went on the Colbert Report to plug it. Colbert opened the show saying Shatner would appear, mentioned the Kirk character and made a lame joke about Star Trek. Shatner came out later and was hostile. Really hostile.

Watching performers, I often wonder what is real and what is show business. The audience loved it when Shatner, in defensive mode, ripped apart Colbert, blunting all the attempted humor of the normally agile comedian. So it was a good bit; good for business. Maybe Colbert and Shatner worked it out ahead of time, but I doubt it.

Shatner so much as said he did not like Colbert, came on the show only for a plug, and wanted to get off as soon as possible. It was great theater. Colbert, unfortunately, came off looking like an amateur.

Shatner’s message was clear: It’s time to stop laughing at him and take him seriously.

I’d like to hear what people think of the Colbert-Shatner interview, if they agree the host was indeed an unwitting victim. Please watch the episode (linked above) and comment.

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