If there is a reason other than monthly columns from Christopher Hitchens to visit the Vanity Fair website (much less purchase a copy of the actual magazine while such a thing still exists), that reason is the fearlessly inappropriate celebrity interviews conducted by Eric Spitznagel.
This month, Spitznagel has as his subject William Shatner, longtime star of film and television, and master of turning into the skid. Their conversation — in which Spitznagel bombards Shatner with tactless, sometimes hostile questions, and Shatner (for the most part) plays along without missing a beat — touches on a wide variety of subjects, including the quixotic attempt by Shatner to land a role in the next Star Trek feature, why Shatner felt the need to hire someone to do his tweeting for him, his plan to produce a sex tape with long-time lover Betty White, and why Kevin Pollack does the worst Shatner impersonation of anyone other than William Shatner himself.
It is something you really ought to read. Selected excerpts are below.
You have your own Twitter account now. Do you enjoy tweeting, or does it feel like a waste of time?
I don’t spend much time on it. I hired a young man to do it for me. I tell him what I want to tweet and then he writes it up for me.
You know it’s just typing, right? You don’t need to know HTML code.
It’s just easier this way. I’ll tweet about the show, or the World Equestrian Games in Lexicon, where I was invited to be a part of the opening ceremonies. Do you know about that? It’s like the Olympics of the Equestrian world.
The way the world seems to be changing so fast, do you ever feel like Kirk exploring an alien world?
Well, it’s funny you say that. I was in the dressing room the other day, getting ready to do the show, and somebody said, “Have you seen this new app?” If each person on their iPhone has the same app, you can click your phones together and share information. You can transfer a number or a picture just by touching your phones together! Isn’t that amazing? There’s technology now where you can send a check by electronic mail. You take a picture of your check and zap it right to your bank. Are you aware of that one?
I am aware. And I’m pretty sure that you and my grandmother are the only ones who call e-mail “electronic mail.”
[. . .]
If nothing else, I’d just like to see you showing Chris Pine how to do a proper Kirk.
I’m not sure he needs my help.
O.K., maybe not him specifically, but the world is filled with people who do terrible William Shatner impersonations. Can you offer any advice for beginners? Any tips on cadence or inflection?
I’m afraid I can’t. My impression is the worst. I don’t know what I’m doing, quite frankly.
Your “impression”? I don’t understand. You don’t impersonate yourself, do you? Shouldn’t it just come naturally?
It should, but I have no idea how to do what people say I do. I don’t even realize it when people are trying to impersonate me. When it happens, I’ll usually turn to my daughter or wife and say, “Is he doing me?” I have no idea.
Wow. So you can’t do you, and you don’t recognize yourself when other people are pretending to be you? Your life sounds like an existential hell of self-doubt.Read the interview in its entirety at Vanity Fair.
I just think people get it wrong. Have you heard me do anything that sounds like what people expect from William Shatner in the entire 20 minutes we’ve been talking?
I guess not, no. Have you lost your ability to overact?
I’ve lost everything. It’s all gone, including the cadence. The only one who is worse at being me is what’s his name, the guy who thinks he does it the best.
Yeah, that’s him. He doesn’t do a great Shatner, at least not according to Shatner.