Hosted By Jason Alexander, Fellow Roasters Include Ben Stiller,Andy Dick, Sandra Bullock, Jimmy Kimmel And Many More.
First things first: Where's Leonard Nimoy? When Comedy Central's raucously ribald Roast of William Shatner was originally broadcast on August 20, 2006, it began with Nimoy--Shatner's beloved Star Trek costar--leaving a phone-message to Shatner, apologizing for his absence (hey, the man has class) and begging Shatner to explain why he would subject himself to the indignity of a roasting on Comedy Central. "Is it the food?" Nimoy inquired, noting the Shat-man's expanding waistline over the years, and the roasting was excellently underway. Well, guess what? Due to copyright and other legal restrictions (and possibly to Nimoy's desire to distance himself from a shamelessly filthy broadcast), Nimoy's appearance and several musical cues have been edited from this otherwise expanded DVD release, which compensates by serving up a few perfunctory bonus features along with every foul-mouthed insult in their uncensored glory. Shatner himself makes a grand equestrian entrance, riding a white stallion into the auditorium before flopping his fat ass into Star Trek's original Captain's chair (on loan from Seattle's Science Fiction Museum) and settling in for an 80-minute onslaught of verbal abuse by Comedy Central's stable of vicious comedians. It's pee-your-pants hilarious or painfully obscene, depending on your tolerance for crudeness and profanity. (As anyone who saw the previous Roast of Pamela Anderson can tell you, Comedy Central's roasting policy is unabashedly adult-oriented and strictly no-holds-barred.)
Of course, Shatner's not the only target of playful derision. After an introduction by host Jason Alexander (who, like guest comedian Kevin Pollak, built a career out of impersonating Shatner), nobody emerges unscathed, and some of the insults--particularly those aimed at Farrah Fawcett (whose inclusion here is barely justified)--are more cruel than entertaining. But everyone's a good sport, especially Star Trek's Mr. Sulu, George Takei, who'd recently gone public with his homosexuality, prompting nearly every roaster on the panel to make crude (and mostly unfunny) gay sex jokes at Takei's good-natured expense. (He later delivers a barb at Shatner that Star Trek historians will recognize as at least partially serious.) Like fellow roasters Fawcett and Shatner's Boston Legal costar Betty White, Trek veteran Nichelle Nichols endures a few insults about getting older, and in a highlight of the show, Clint Howard (in a video clip) reprises his role as the friendly alien "Balok" (from the classic Trek episode "The Corbomite Maneuver"), toasting Shatner with a beer-bonged shot of "Tranya." As Andy Dick proceeds to lick several of his fellow roasters (and, in the audience, Carrie Fisher--who licks back), Greg Giraldo, Patton Oswalt, Jeffrey Ross, and other Comedy Central regulars lay waste to Shatner's checkered career, including priceless film clips from Shatner's infamous post-Trek career as a "poetic interpreter" of hits like "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Rocket Man." It's all in good fun, and judging from audience reaction (including numerous cutaways to Star Trek: Voyager's sexy Jeri Ryan), everyone had a good time when they weren't slack-jawed with shock from the R-rated barrage of banter. This stuff ain't for prudes, and if you don't know what to expect, you're probably better off watching reruns of T.J. Hooker. --Jeff Shannon