I have never been a Star Trek fan or as they are refereed to “Trekkies”. I have no hatred or contempt to the classic Sci-Fi series and movies, but it never really clicked with me. I do enjoy a ton of Sci-Fi movies and books and what not, but Star Trek never clicked with me and I’m not sure why. Over acting, crazy plots and “always saves the day” heroes are all the makings for something I would totally be into, but it never stuck in my grey matter with the 1000’s of other nerdy things floating around in there. So why would I go and see Shatner’s World, a live one man show about William Shatner’s career and life? I may not be a fan of his most famous work, but the man has been in the business for 60+ years! He has got to have some amazing stories from the hay day of Hollywood. Or it would be an embarrassing disaster with Shatner a drunken mess announcing his support for Trump in between racial slurs. Either way I was going to have a hell of good time!
After announcing people to turn off their cell phones unless they were texting friends to come buy tickets because the show was not sold out, Shatner hit the stage. Dressed in jeans and dinner jacket Shatner instantly commanded the room. He’s been acting for decades now and is right at home in front of the crowd (doesn’t hurt that most everyone there is a fan) and he is a professional. Even when his mic pack began slipping down the back of jeans, Shatner handled this with such charisma that you’d think having a stage worker’s hand in his pants was all part of the act. The man is a pro and it takes more than a loose battery pack to shake him!
Standing in front of a giant screen featuring a galaxy of stars (very suiting), Shatner begins by describing his preference in comedy (those and how he discovered it sneaking into burlesque shows as a young lad back in Montreal. He expertly weaves in and out of his early life: his family, discovering acting and even his how his love for motor cycles came about (stealing his neighbors motorcycle nightly and taking it joy riding). All this between anecdotes about acting and clips from performances (my personal favorite being one clip that shows him hosting an honor ceremony for George Lucas). It’s safe to say that I was part of the few in the crowd who could say, “I am not a fan of William Shatner” and the man had me hook, line and sinker.
Then the second half came…
Shatner seemed to be following a linear story of him growing up and discovering acting and honing his craft. Listening to a human who has had a career as long and varied as his, discuss how it all started was borderline enthralling. I imagine if you get a few drinks in the man he could talk for hours about this part in his life and have some stories that would make TMZ explode (that is if TMZ cared about Hollywood 50 years ago…). When he gets to the Star Trek point in his stories that is where it seems that Shatner stopped following that linear path and began to jump from various points in his life. Recanting how he first fell in love with horses and eventually had to euthanize his first and most loved horse was heartbreaking, but I imagine is a tale that would enrage most members of PETA. Some stories felt like nothing more than padding and didn’t really seem to go anywhere or have any significance except to pad the time. Pushing damn near 2 hours that was completely unnecessary and did nothing but prolong a much-needed trip to the bathroom. The venue was in Motor City Casino and there is a bar every 5 feet! How am I not suppose to drink!?!? I am a weak man!
Wrapping things up focusing on his music career, after delving into a bit about mortality ( a topic I’m sure is on his mind the man is 84!) Shatner closes things out with a performance of one of his songs Real (written by Brad Paisley and produced by Ben Folds). Not going to lie I was really hoping for Rocketman, but by the end of the song I understood why he chose to close with it. In his 60 year career Shatner has had ups and downs (I’m sure more downs than he’d probably like to admit), but after spending 2 hours listening to him talk it is apparent that he has learned exactly who he is. That’s something most of us never really get a firm grip on and something William Shatner is perfectly comfortably with.
Overall Shatner’s World was an engaging, funny and insightful look on man’s life and career told from the man himself. Even at times when it felt like it was dragging, Shatner has enough charm and gumption to keep it from coming to a screeching halt. Never thought I would say it but I’m glad I got to have seen Shatner’s World and will from now on pay a little more attention to the man’s work. Special thanks to Dan and Katie from Green Brain Comics for the tickets! Be sure to check out Brain Waves: The Green Brain Podcast!