Star Trek: William Shatner Judges Celebrity Captain Kirk Impressions

There's no doubt William Shatner helped create one of the most iconic characters in science fiction in Star Trek's Capt. James T. Kirk. One such cost of having such an influence on the pop culture zeitgeist are actors who do their own impressions of Shatner, including his cinematic successor in Kelvin Universe actor Chris Pine. Vanity Fair lined up a number of actors featuring Seth MacFarlane, Kevin Pollack, Jason Alexander, Jim Carrey, John Belushi, Bill Nye, Bruce Campbell, and Sam Levine.

Star Trek
Image: Screencap

William Shatner on Celebrity Star Trek Impressions of Him

During the introduction, Shatner acknowledges how others create a caricature on how he speaks. With MacFarlane's impression on Real Time with Bill Maher, the actor said, "He's laughing while he's doing it so he knows it's not work." It cuts to a side-by-side screen comparison between Shatner on Star Trek to MacFarlane's performance on the HBO show. "See, Seth MacFarlane is very funny. He's a very funny man. Every so often, comics tell a joke in a club and the joke doesn't go over and they say, 'Yeah, well I'm here until Thursday' or something like that. That's what Seth needs to have done on that impression. 'I'm here until Thursday folks'"

The next actor up is Pollack. "Wait a minute. Wait a minute," Shatner begins. "See Kevin is like he's manic. He's like he's got a strange twitch. I don't understand the twitch and I know Kevin. I think of Kevin as a friend of mine. I directed him in a half-hour comedy. He's very funny. He's playing the comedy. He's not…come on." When asked what he would change, the actor responded that "it doesn't sound like me. It doesn't even look like me. Come on!"

Patrick Stewart as Capt. Jean Luc-Picard and William Shatner as Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations (1994). Image courtesy of Paramount
Patrick Stewart as Capt. Jean Luc-Picard and William Shatner as Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations (1994). Image courtesy of Paramount

On Alexander's impression, Shatner said, "I know Jason rather well. I've invited him three times to 'Monday Night Football' at my house. He's been busy or he's turned me down so I'm not inviting him anymore. So that's probably why he's probably doing this impression, which is not bad. The amazing part about Jason's impression is that he memorized the dialogue from the show." The clip cuts to side-by-side shots of Shatner from TOS to Alexander. For more on Shatner's thoughts on Carrey from In Living Color, Belushi and Pine from Saturday Night Live, Nye, Campbell, and Levine, you can check out the full video below:

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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