Plot: What’s it about?
Captain Kirk. William Shatner’s most famous role was as that beloved captain of the Starship Enterprise, but he also had numerous other remarkable projects. Such as…well…ok, so he was Captain Kirk. Shatner has made a career off of one role, though he has tried other fields. One of Hollywood’s worst actors, Shatner also tried his hand in the music business, with results that could only be described as horrific. In recent years, he has played off his well known persona to score movie roles and commercials, perhaps the best known of which is as the spokesman for Priceline. Comedy Central chose to honor Shatner with a celebrity laden roast, to serve up Shatner on a silver platter. Of course some of Shatner’s Star Trek friends were on hand, but everyone wanted a chance to tee off on Kirk, so there was no shortage of roasters. Some of the names involved include Jason Alexander, Fred Willard, Betty White, Jeffrey Ross, Patton Oswalt, Artie Lange, Andy Dick, and the ever hilarious Lisa Lampinelli. In addition to the live roasters, video taped messages from even more famous folks are presented. Shatner has never been skewered like this before, but Comedy Central’s Roast of William Shatner is classic, from start to finish.
If anyone is ripe for a roast, it has to be William Shatner. I’d seen Comedy Central’s roasts of Denis Leary and Pamela Anderson, but I knew Shatner’s special could be epic. Although he has been the butt of jokes for decades, between his bad hair, bad acting, and even worse singing, this special is loaded with fresh laughs. The panel isn’t shy in the least, going personal and going hardcore, which leads to some hilarious moments. Greg Giraldo opens the roast and serves up some incredible zingers, followed by dynamic efforts from Artie Lange, Jeffrey Ross, and the show’s closer, Linda Lampinelli. As expected, Ross and Lampinelli score the most hits with their barbs, but Lange really comes through as well. The surprise of the night was George Takei, who was able to really deliver and had a host of memorable lines. A lot of the ribs were directed away from Shater also, with Takei, Andy Dick, Betty White, and especially Farrah Fawcett under fire. The roast had a few disappointments, but by and large, the roasters were on their game and Shatner was cooked quite well. I think this is the best of the Comedy Central roasts thus far, but then again, Shatner is a natural for such a show, so no surprise there.
Video: How does it look?
The roast is presented in full frame, as intended. This looks much like it did on television, which is solid, but unremarkable. The image is clean and crisp, but lacks the polish of a refined production, though that isn’t needed here. All the visuals come across well, from the live performances to the unable to attend, taped messages. So if you saw this on television, then you know about what to expect from this presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio has a solid presence here, better than on the broadcast that I remember watching, in fact. But given the dialogue driven nature of the show, there isn’t much room for anything beyond the basics. Even so, the audience sounds lively and what limited sound effects emerge sound as good as ever, so no worries. The main focus here is on the ribald dialogue, which comes through loud and clear at all times.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes two brief behind the curtain featurettes, as well as footage from the event’s red carpet.