In Tablet Magazine, David Meir Grossman writes about his lifelong fascination with William Shatner, the seemingly indefatigable performer whose one-man show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It, is touring across the country this spring. “It’s time we update our pantheon of Emotional Canadian Jews,” Grossman argues. “Like Leonard Cohen and Drake, Shatner lays his soul on the track with abandon. It’s just: His soul is considerably weirder.”
We got Grossman’s top five Shatner moments of all time:
5. Shatner Introduces George Lucas: Whoever got the idea that William Shatner should appear at a gala for that overrated hack George Lucas was a genius. Classic light ego and charm, and a fun rendition of “My Way” at the end. And if you go full out nerd, you might even see this bit as an apology for the rough treatment he gave conventions back in 1986 on Saturday Night Live. The nicest type of trolling.
4. Rollins Meets Shatner: If there’s one person I trust on matter of personal taste, it’s Henry Rollins. So I was very pleased with his recounting of how he and Bill Shatner got to be friends, and how genuinely overjoyed Shatner was to be making original music. Make sure to check out part two, where Bill and Henry get scallops. This sounds like the greatest reality TV show of all time.
3. Bernie Taupin Introduces “Rocket Man:” Too many things to love in this one to mention. The touches of 70’s style that the 1978 Science Fiction Convention shelled out for. The deadness in the eyes of Bernie Taupin as he is forced by quick paycheck to announce how happy he is to hear this, the wannabe tough guy pose. Shatner’s just cashing in at this point, but figures he can be just cool enough for these nerds.
2. Shatner and Ben Folds on Conan: Before Has Been, before anyone knew that this could be a success. Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising what a great screen presence Shatner has here, but this was post-Star Trek and pre-Boston Legal, no one knew what to expect from him, it certainly wasn’t this. You can tell from the lame attempts at jokes in the interview afterwards that he’s still not completely in his comfort zone.
1. As opposed to here, at the height of his musical prowess: Shatner and Folds had a very light tour in support of Has Been, and it’s infuriating that this is the only clip I’ve been able to find. “It Hasn’t Happened Yet” isn’t even the best song off Has Been, but Shatner and his backing band squeeze out every iota of emotional power into the spoken word piece about the trying nature of fame.
(image credit: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)