William Shatner is magnificent. The man — nay, legend — who has carved a lifelong career out of basically playing himself and creating kitschy-culty song covers — is 80 on Tuesday (March 22). He is Captain James Tiberius Kirk — an actor, an author, a poet — a cultural icon of the highest order. His name should be a verb (Shatner: To carry one’s self with utter pomposity and, quite possibly, gout.) He was haute camp before haute camp was cool. So let’s give it up for the top five William Shatner Internet-available moments.
1. “Rocket Man”: Hands down, this re-interpreted cover of Elton John’s hit — performed at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards — is Shatner at the height of his often inscrutable, yet compelling, Shatner-ness:
2. “F*** You”: Sure, Gwyneth Paltrow kicked out the jams on this Cee-Lo Green number on “Glee,” but Shatner — with his bleeped-out version — was there first:
3. “Shatner of the Mount”: A self-important interview (“Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain. Why is he climbing a mountain?”) mashed up with techno. We play this when we need a moment of zen:
4. Shatner reads Palin: Twitter has proved a treasure trove for parody and Sarah Palin was like a personal pot o’ gold for Conan O’Brien and Bill Shatner. Watch as, accompanied by a stand-up bass, Shatner turns Palin’s tweets into poetry:
5. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”: Yet another cover. What can we say? The man is nothing if not prolific: