Thursday, April 17, 2008

William Shatner to Release Dramatic Reading of Exodus

Yes, William Shatner/Captain James T. Kirk/TJ Hooker/Priceline Negotiator Guy. That guy did a dramatic reading of the book of Exodus. With a full symphony and symphony chorus. And is releasing it on CD.

And get this, everyone is taking it seriously. The hammiest overactor of his generation is reciting a sacred text and people apparently think it's a good idea. JTA ran a straight up story about it, the angle being that Shatner denies it's about returning to his Jewish roots. (BTW, news to me. Knew that Leonard Nimoy is Jewish, but not Shatner.)

Because this is Exodus, it can't be funny,no matter how overwrought Shatner's dramaturgy. So instead, let's consider that other famous Shatner dramatic interpretation. Let's go back to 1978 . . .

That's funny no matter how many times I see it. There's not one syllable he doesn't get exactly wrong.

By the way, I was there at the creation. I both proud and embarrassed to say that in 1978 I was a SciFi geeked out middle schooler and watched every minute of the Science Fiction Film Awards. When it came to Shatner's performance, my reaction was, "What the heck is that?!?!?!??"

Now it has past into pop culture lore -- so much so that Beck incorporated the imagery into his video for "Where It's At." Shatner's Priceline commercials suggested that is at piece with his fundamental ridiculousness. But this latest venture indicates that he is still capable of taking himself entirely too seriously.


Swanny said...

The Family Guy episode where Stewie busts out that William Shatner routine is classic.

Mencken said...

If I picture Shatner doing these songs while channeling Andy Kaufmann as a sort of a comic performance art..... then I sleep OK at night.

If I consider the possibility that this was a serious effort on Shatner's part, then I'm gonna need two Excedrin PMs washed down with a couple shots of Red Breast to make it through the night.

Village Green said...

Awesome! I have had acting students "act along" to his audio interpretation of "To be or not to be..." as an exercise in applying movement to sound.

Anonymous said...

They should find all copies of that bit, set phasers to stun, and destroy 'em all. It messed up my warp drive something fierce!


Jill said...

Shatner has done a lot of different stuff with Judaism, just like Leonard Nimoy. If it exposes more folks, engage!

I think Adam Sandler does get around to mentioning Shatner as being Jewish in his Chanuka song.