Watch William Shatner Give Conan The Salute [UPDATED: Bill’s Finger Makes Global News] |
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Watch William Shatner Give Conan The Salute [UPDATED: Bill’s Finger Makes Global News] June 18, 2009

by Staff , Filed under: Celebrity,Humor,Shatner , trackback

As noted in yesterday’s ‘ShatWatch’, William Shatner was a guest on last night’s Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Bill was there to promote his latest projects and was his usual avuncular self. There was no talk of the new Star Trek movie, but Bill did recall a Trek related story and then there was a bit of an incident when he gave Conan a couple of different ‘salutes’. [UPDATE: Shatner’s Conan Appearance is getting lots of press, we have the links]


Shatner salutes Conan

[also available at]

So apparently Bill can’t pull of the traditional Vulcan salute, but he does seem to have another salute down pat. It is also interesting to see that, like he showed with Tom Hanks a couple of weeks ago, Conan knows his Trek.

And just like the show with Hanks, there was more than one Star Trek reference. Earlier in the show there was a comedy bit about there being a movie being made about current events the joke being who was being cast for the roles. And for the role of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Tonight Show picked Star Trek’s George Takei.

You can watch the entire episode online at (USA only, sorry)

UPDATE: The Finger Heard Round The World
Bill’s antics on the Tonight Show are big news today, making news around the world. Here are some of the headlines.


1. Darkthunder - June 18, 2009

A video for us non-US users please?

2. Odkin - June 18, 2009

Stay classy, Bill!

Awww… I love him anyway. He’s “#1″ with me!

3. T'Leisha - June 18, 2009

Darn it. I really wanted to see that video.

Suppose I’ll have to wait until it pops up on youtube.

4. Schultz - June 18, 2009

Use free US proxy or VPN servers.

5. JimJ - June 18, 2009

You know, that Conan guy is ok! lol

6. Bill - June 18, 2009

William Shatner is a buffoon. It is my sincere hope that we never have to see him dressed as Captain Kirk again. Please keep him far away from any sequels. I for one am happy the torch is passed to Chris Pines.

7. Admiral Waugh - June 18, 2009

Just got back from Hong Kong and one of the best things is not having to hunt down Hulu videos on youku, tudou, and youtube.

8. Brett Campbell - June 18, 2009

The man is a riot!

9. jastrek_montreal - June 18, 2009

That was hilarious as hell !

10. Keith - June 18, 2009

Can ANYONE tell me if during one of the celebrity look-a-likes Conan said that this one person looked like Senator Palpatine from Star TREK??? Then the crowd was huffy, he was confused as to why… I feel like they were huffy cause he said Star TREK not Star WARS. I have NEVER heard anyone confuse Star Wars for Trek till now! I was kinda happy, but maybe I heard it wrong?? Normally people say “So you see the new Star Wars… Trek movie yet?” to me because they first think wars… which always annoys me, ha. ANYBODY hear Conan say that??

11. jastrek_montreal - June 18, 2009

@ 4. Yup… thats how i got in also, lol.

12. CmdrR - June 18, 2009

Bill is my hero. I want to get old that way, not the dribbin’ my corn flakes kinda way.

13. Anthony Pascale - June 18, 2009

as noted before, we have no control over the availability of official videos from the networks.

network videos from Canadian TV and the BBC are also country specific, it is just how it is done.

14. MORN SPEAKS - June 18, 2009

I saw this last night, Shatner’s appearances are always pretty funny.

15. richpit - June 18, 2009

Do I like William Shatner? Yes. Do I think he’s a hoot? Yes. Do I respect him for his contribution to Star Trek? Yes. Do I ever want to see him portray Captain James Tiberius Kirk again? No.

16. Fadeyr - June 18, 2009

re: Bill – June 18, 2009
William Shatner is a buffoon. It is my sincere hope that we never have to see him dressed as Captain Kirk again. Please keep him far away from any sequels. I for one am happy the torch is passed to Chris Pines.

Without Shatner, there would be no Capt. Kirk. Try to remember that

17. SChaos1701 - June 18, 2009



18. Duncan MacLeod - June 18, 2009

The Daily Mail in the UK treated this like a serious event (conan “Walked off the set”) and then acted like Conan lectured him when he did so STANDING ON HIS DESK, obviously a rib.

“But his behaviour got so bad at one point new host Conan O’Brien walked off stage before getting on his table and shouting: ‘What is wrong with you.’ ”


19. THX-1138 - June 18, 2009


Typical media false reporting to try and make an issue and story where none exists. Make sure you make a comment on their site informing them that they are a bunch of morons and yellow journalists.

What’s that? It’s the Daily Mail? Oh. They already know.

20. Duncan MacLeod - June 18, 2009

British Media is known to be “tabloid” style.

21. TonyD - June 18, 2009

It strikes me as pretty pathetic that even after all these years he’s incapable of performing the Vulcan salute; I’ve read he even had to have his fingers taped when he did it in STIII:TSFS. I’ll always be a fan of his work on Trek but he has become one bizarre individual as of late and his attempts at humor are almost completely lost on me. Its become almost impossible for me to reconcile this man with the one who worked on TOS.

22. sherlockfreak - June 18, 2009

People need to get over themselves. William Shatner is a man. He is an actor. He is 78 years old. He knows his fans, he knows what people like to see, what they think is funny. He is an entertainer. He is not a baffoon, he is a performer. He is putting on a show.

If you had ever read any of his books (especially Up Till Now) or actually LISTENED to him speak, you would know that he is a very thoughtful, intelligent man. He has interesting and valuable things to say.

Listen to his voice work on the video game Star Trek: Encounters. He is not labeled as Kirk, he just introduces each level of the game. But his voice is calm and serious, and it is most definitely his Kirk voice. I see absolutely no reason why he couldn’t play Kirk again.

Through his books and possible vocal and film performances, I do not believe his contributions to Star Trek are over. I sincerely hope not.

23. Chadwick - June 18, 2009

“Were sorry video can only be streamed in the united stated.” What’s wrong with us poutine loving maple syrup drinking Canadians? Guess Ill try youtube.

24. Danpaine - June 18, 2009

Well played, #22. Couldn’t agree more.

25. DeanH - June 18, 2009

Why do people on here get offended because Shatner is a lively and entertaining character to be around? True, he’s not the young Kirk from 40 years ago. So? He’s an optimistic grandfather nowadays who still has a good career going even after all these years. Good for him. Shatner isn’t Kirk either, and never was, by the way. A boring guest he’s not. I’d bet a million the people who complain… if the tables were turned… would be as fun to talk to as a pile a old tires. Just sayin’.

26. I Am Morg Not Eymorg - June 18, 2009

Imagine that. William Shatner doesn’t take himself or things as seriously as some of this fans do. Fascinating.

27. Ryan T. Riddle - June 18, 2009

Shatner is a hoot. Love it.

28. DavidJ - June 18, 2009

Fun interview, although like with all of his interviews, you can never be sure how many of his stories are true or just complete BS. lol

29. JimJ - June 18, 2009

Do I think Shatner is funny now, as a guest on talk shows? hell, yes! He was perfect for the Denny Crane character-pegged beautifully! But, as I stated elsewhere earlier:

I am a die-hard fan of “The Shat”, but I’m of the feeling that it’s time to move on in the new Trek universe without him, knowing that THIS new Kirk may have a slightly different outcome, especially thanks to Spock Prime’s mind meld with him. Cheating death is a Kirk trait and now he knows what sort of circumstances to watch out for. lol

Besides that, last night kinda proved that his time as Captain Kirk is past…giving Conan the birdie instead of the Vulcan salute, my wife commenting: “My, he’s gotten fat!”

Remember, I LOVE the man and the character he created, but all good things…… He was my idol as a kid, for crying out loud!!!!!

30. krikzil - June 18, 2009

Amen #22.

31. Dr. X - June 18, 2009

William Shatner is the coolest man in the galaxy. Period.

32. Crusade2267 - June 18, 2009

I think we need to make a Trek-themed version of Hulu, just for hosting Trek gems like these, and we could make it available to everyone who ISN’T in the US (Joke’s on me, I’m in NYC). We could call it Sulu!

33. New Horizon - June 18, 2009

The media is totally making the interview out to be serious when there is nothing serious about it. Are they on crack? It was totally light hearted and the audience loved it!

34. New Horizon - June 18, 2009

By the way fellow Canadians, you can check out the video on the NBC site, I did.

35. Clinton - June 18, 2009

Oh, Bill. It’s always something with you, isn’t it? ;-)

36. captblsisko - June 18, 2009

Shatner is a god, and dagummit, give that man a starship!

Only Nimoy needs to be able to do the Vulcan salute, someday people will realize that. That being said, it made for good comedy. (Carson = funny. Conan = funny. Leno = wasted decade on TV.)

37. RetroWarbird - June 18, 2009

Caught this last night … Shatner and Conan go way back. Shatner’s “In the Year 2000″ three or four years ago was one of my all-time favorites.

38. Rob - June 18, 2009

Shatner was playing along. He wasn’t miming that he was masterbating, the innuendo came from Conan as Shatner was telling a story. I thought throwing the middle finger was funny cause Conan was busting his chops and stealing the limelight from his guest. If anyone was out of control it was Conan!

Tonight show ended the day Carson left, there was a classy interviewer. He let his guest’s star shine, not his own!

39. trick - June 18, 2009


Heh, word (on Leno). Never cared for him–always just sounded like bad stand-up. Seems like a nice enouhg guy though, just not my cup of tea.


40. Mitch - June 18, 2009

That was outstanding. And yes, that man could play Kirk again if given the chance. He owns that role. I don’t see Abrams considering it, but he could still do it easily.

41. rogueDement0r - June 18, 2009

i know this is a little late, but i totally get you #10. i remember a looong time ago my brother dressed up in a starfleet uniform for halloween (we were like, ten) and everyone kept saying “oh, you’re the guy from star wars!” ugh we got sooo ticked!

hooray for star trek’s revival! :D

42. Jeff - June 18, 2009

I’m glad that Shatner gave Conan the finger. I would love to do the same. I don’t know why, but people think Conan is funny when he’s not.

Thank you (to the true) Captain Kirk.

43. Blake Powers - June 18, 2009

That’s Hilarious!!

44. Blake Powers - June 18, 2009

I bet Chris Pine can do the salute.

45. THX-1138 - June 18, 2009

Big Shock:

I posted a comment to The Daily Mail on their article and it has been deleted. I wasn’t vulgar or disrespectful. I just said that they weren’t being completely truthful in their portrayal of the Conan interview. I figured they knew that already, it being the Daily Mail and all.

46. Captain Dunsel - June 18, 2009

#21 – TonyD – “It strikes me as pretty pathetic that even after all these years he’s incapable of performing the Vulcan salute; I’ve read he even had to have his fingers taped when he did it in STIII:TSFS.”

It’s not like he’s being disrespectful or dumb or a problem child. Some people’s hands/fingers simply DO NOT move that way. I personally have no trouble with it, but know many people who are just physically incapable of that gesture – as Doctor McCoy said, “That hurts worse than the collar!”

47. Penhall99 - June 18, 2009

Some here are actually complaining that Shatner can’t do the vulcan salute? Seriously??? Not everyone can do it, okay? My Dad can’t do it, and he’s been a Trek fan since the start.

Who the hell cares if Shatner cant do the salute?

Some of the crap that people complain about here is just unbelievable.

48. DiDi - June 18, 2009

I remember reading on a gossip column that Zachary Quinto couldn’t do the salute either- he had his fingers glued together in filming, and he’s freaking Spock.

49. The Galactic Battleburger - June 18, 2009

I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought Shatner was pissed at Conan during the interview.

As someone wise once said, “get a life! It’s just a T.V. show!”

50. Adam E - June 18, 2009

Looks like it was all in good fun. It’s late night TV… No harm done.

51. OtterVomit - June 18, 2009

Shatner wins at life.

52. Magic_Al - June 18, 2009

I thought everybody knew Shatner is one of the people who can’t do it. Kirk not being able to return the Vulcan salute when Spock was dying in TWOK was poignant.

53. JimJ - June 18, 2009

It is pathetic that people here are bitching that Shatner can’t do the salute. Conon complaining was funny, for comedy sake, but here…it’s just pathetic!

54. JimJ - June 18, 2009

Conon? Ok, that’s a new one…Conan!!!! Live long and prosper!

55. New Horizon - June 18, 2009

For non American viewers.

56. Spectre_7 - June 18, 2009

Sounds like the Shatner Lovers and the Shatner Haters are about to clash!

Thole thing was an act and Conan’s entire personality is an act, which is why he’s always so frakkin funny

57. Author of The Vulcan Neck PInch for Fathers - June 18, 2009




I couldn’t care less if Shatner can do the Vulcan salute, but isn’t there a point in time when his antics get, well, a little embarassing, even for Shatner?

58. TonyD - June 18, 2009

#46 – “It’s not like he’s being disrespectful or dumb or a problem child”

But to me, that’s exactly the way he comes across a lot of the time these days. Look, I grew up watching this guy, from even before Trek. He was one of my childhood heroes. But I find his behavior to be very bizarre lately; his rambling story on Conan before the one finger salute was another example of that. Maybe he’s just having a personal laugh at the expense of everyone else. Like I said before, its obvious that I just don’t get the joke.

59. Chris - June 18, 2009


60. Kilo-Three-Zero - June 18, 2009

The comments in this post(Pro-Shat, Anti-Shat, Shut Up About-Shat) are EXACTLY the reason why a particular West Wing episode was so funny.

Heh heh.

61. Jay - June 18, 2009

OK, I watched the interview last night and it was the funniest
interview Conan has had since he started the new show.

I agree, it may have caused Conan some problems with the brass
considering his ratings have been less than stellar. But I felt like
Conan and Shatner had great comic chemisrty together.

The “news” articles completely distorted the “mood” of what was
going on.

62. THX-1138 - June 18, 2009

Sometimes you make me tremble with disgust.

63. DJT - June 18, 2009

Me thinks he thinks he’s too cool for the vulcan salute. Feigned difficulty.

Conan’s reaction is priceless, though.


“what is wrong with you?”

64. Will_H - June 18, 2009

People take this stuff wayyyy too seriously. I never for a moment thought that either was actually pissed at the other on the show, I just thought it was Shatner being Shatner and Conan being Conan, and I got a good laugh out of it. But leave it to the news people to make a big deal outa nothing and to take a few screen shots to make something joking look serious.

65. Mike - June 18, 2009

William Shatner: THE EGO THAT WALKS LIKE A MAN. How I wish he’d either get some class or shut the hell up.

66. Pete359 - June 18, 2009

I hate Hulu, what about the rest of the world? Do we get to see it? Or would letting a bunch of Australians and the like see that make the world fall apart?

67. ShinRa Actual - June 18, 2009

I am amused on so many levels. I’ll leave it at that

68. Cobalt 1365 - June 18, 2009

Shatner being shatner, Conan being conan.

69. Gene L. Coon was a U. S. Marine. Stand at ease. - June 18, 2009

The man is great. Life is too short.

70. Doctor... Beam Up Who? Not on this ship! It's a TARDIS! He won't fit! - June 18, 2009

What is Conan serving his guests backstage?

I thought Romulan Ale was illegal!


71. The Happy Klingon - June 18, 2009

I dont know whats funnier: the interview or the infantile comments of the haters. Id be interested to see the ratings now after the fact. That was a laugh out loud interview and there was NO animosity involved. Conan was playing his Conan character and Bill was playing his Bill character.
It harkens to the days of Drew Barrymore flashing her boobs at Letterman or Madonna or Farah being the messed up individuals they were that was ratings gold in SPITE of the feigned ignorance and apologies that followed. Its called ratings and its always easier to ask for forgiveness then permission.
Shat is STILL the man.

72. bman - June 18, 2009

I read an article this morning saying that Bill exhibited “erratic” behavior, mimed masturbation and flipped off Conan. From reading that, I was worried that Bill was developing Alzheimer’s or something! They also said Conan was “exasperated”, stormed off the set, and when he returned, shouted at Bill.

Then I watched the show.


BFD over nothing. This was Bill being Bill and Conan being Conan. It’s not unlike any number of bits we’ve seen on Conan’s show over the years. At every turn, Conan was the one amping up the energy. He was full-on involved in the whole bit. I guarantee you nothing happened in that segment that wasn’t discussed in advance.

People need to take the sticks out of their asses.

73. SciFiMetalGirl - June 18, 2009

At almost every convention that I have ever seen Shatner at he always confesses that he can’t do the vulcan salute, so that was old news to a lot of us.

But I have to admit that I was a bit stunned to see him give Conan the finger! However, Conan WAS asking for it!

Who knew that Shatner could set his middle finger to “stun”!!!

74. Beck - June 18, 2009

Meh, I’d be disappointed if Shatner didn’t cause a little fracas in public now and then.

75. Keith - June 18, 2009

#41, haha, thanks. Yeah, piss me off when people “confuse” them. They are totally different! ha. I know half their name is the same, but still!

76. Brett Campbell - June 18, 2009

71 – “People need to take the sticks out of their asses.”

LMAO!! (It was the only I could get the stick out!)

I vote #65 for biggest stick.

I vote Conan and the Shat for best shtick!

77. Brett Campbell - June 18, 2009

Just watched the clip a second time. Clearly ALL played for laughs. Man these tabloid journalists, to sell their rags, make a big deal out of nothing. Some fans aren’t much better.

#71 – Yes, once again, some of these people need to get the sticks out of their asses (desperately) just to breathe, since their heads are placed so far up the same location!

78. NCC-75010 - June 18, 2009

Shatner is THE man, great wit and wisdom! And really, you don’t take the tabloid press seriously do you folks?

79. Brett Campbell - June 18, 2009

78 – “[Y]ou don’t take the tabloid press seriously do you folks?”

Only the time I saw one in a supermarket checkout line years ago that had a headline reading that the bodies of aliens were found in the White House basement by — guess who of all people — Jackie Gleason!

“Enquiring minds want to know!” ;-)

80. snoopytrek - June 18, 2009

First of all…Mr Shatner has never been able to make the V sign he said from a long time back. I personally couldn’t care if he can or not…The man is an icon. You think it was bad for Trekdom when De Kelly, Jimmy Doohan or The Roddenberrys themselves passed on, just wait til The Shatman leaves us.

And one more thing…don’t care for Conan. With the problems that NBC and its cable news networks have been going through, the shake-ups all the way to the top since the election because of the “feelings running up my leg” comments…they could only afford him to replace Leno.

81. Rastaman - June 18, 2009

I love it when these two get together.

82. combatkarl - June 18, 2009

1. No, not ours. We must use shadow puppets instead.

83. C.S. Lewis - June 18, 2009

I love William Shatner!

C.S. Lewis

84. Weerd1 - June 18, 2009

That was frakkin’ hilarious. It’s impossible to parody the man because he is living his own joke. No one enjoys Shatner more than Shatner, I just love it when he lets us along for the ride!

85. Jim - June 18, 2009

My god there are a lot of idiots on here if they actually BELIEVE that wasnt planned.

I expect that from the media loudmouth tabloids, since there isnt a braincell amoung them, but you posters are supposed to be SMART PEOPLE!

For shame, and you call yourself Trekkies. Have none of you ever seen Conan and Shatner together on Late Night? They used to pull this same stunt all the time. One of the best was when Conan had video of Shatner woooooooing while racing.

86. VOODOO - June 18, 2009

Shatner is the man.

87. RetroWarbird - June 18, 2009

For anyone who didn’t know, I don’t know if you can look it up via Youtube or anything, but Conan and Shatner have been doing this routine since wayyyyy back. Conan’s a huge Trekkie, and so they kind of play it like he’s geeky and spastic and Shatner is old and grouchy towards him.

Apparently the move from 12:30 to 11:30 has drastic ramifications for people who don’t work the graveyard shift.

88. Green-Blooded-Bastard - June 18, 2009

I love Shatner. I’d like to see him give the finger to a few more talk show hosts, actually. then a few heads of state.

89. starfleetmom - June 18, 2009

LOVED it! Shatner did what I wish I could…flip off Conan.

90. Rocket Scientist - June 18, 2009

Oh God, that was BEYOND funny! It’s great that The Shat has redefined himself so well that he can pull off this kind of thing. I’ve always liked Conan too. These guys are an unbeatable combo!

91. Weerd1 - June 18, 2009

85- Wow Jim, I bow to your superior intellect.

92. jocor - June 18, 2009

I love Shatner almost as much as I love Conan.

What great television they make.

93. RD - June 18, 2009

#16. Fadeyr wrote: Without Shatner, there would be no Capt. Kirk. Try to remember that

Of course there would be. He just might be named Pike, or have been played by Jeffery Hunter instead.

94. I Am Morg Not Eymorg - June 18, 2009

As others have pointed out, Shatner and Conan have done this for years. It’s why Conan has him on so much, he’s a fan and Shatner and he have tremendous chemistry and create comedy gold.


95. Rob - June 18, 2009

Shat is the Shizzzzzz

96. Spock flips off SW Nerds - June 18, 2009

Funny stuff! Heres a classic image from Conan’s show, poking fun at Star Wars:

97. joeschmo - June 18, 2009

Real classy Bill!! pshhhh! I’m really not liking “the shat” now-a-days!!

98. Andy - June 19, 2009

William Shatner as an actor did a waaaaaay better job on Boston Legal than on Star Trek. I didn’t realize how good he is until I watched that show. Star Trek’s just become a classic work of TV but Shatner didn’t shine as a GREAT actor in that show. Boston Legal is where his real acting talents were shining. Two Emmy’s for the role? C’mon.

I watched this as it aried and thought it was hilarious. I love Conan and have been DVRing his show every night since his return on June 1st. Having Shatner be the first one to get “racy” with Conan on “Tonight” was a treat.

99. Iowagirl - June 19, 2009

10 Important Reasons
Why to Disapprove of William Shatner:

Can’t do the Vulcan salute.
Can’t pronounce Takei properly.
Doesn’t watch TOS regularly.
Does do commercials.
Plays comedic roles successfully.
Likes making fun of people.
Likes making fun of himself.
Still demands attention.
Still attracts attention.
Does have a life.

100. Chris Fawkes - June 19, 2009

The media worked out that they were able to sell more papers reporting on the Letterman under age sex joke, er, i mean smutt.

Now that’s over they hope they can make Shatner into a baddie and do it again.

Where there’s a will there’s a way. Where there is no story there’s a story.

101. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - June 19, 2009

If THE William Shatner wishes to give someone the finger, then he can give someone the finger. He’s WILLIAM SHATNER, dammit! :D

102. hawaiowa - June 19, 2009

LOL, if this is indicative of the 2nite show in the reign of Conan, then it’s gonna be a fun ride ala Carson and his antics. Shatner obviously has clout to be guest so early in the run with the new host. The guy is a egotist, but at least he doesn’t have his finger on the 100B war machine button. Shat has made it a career staple over the past number of years to make fun of himself, and it takes a good soul to not be aroused to anger when they are the butt of jokes.

As for the V salute, I read somewhere that about 10% of the population can’t do the V salute, just like a certain percentage of the population can’t wiggle their ears. Shat is in the 10%, and this has been a known fact since the 70s. Now that he’s in his 70s, didya see the arthritis in some of his fingers? The “woman in the train” joke dates back to vaudeville, if not earlier. Interesting to see it resurrected by Shat in 2009.

Yeah, the guy has many many flaws. Entertainers don’t get juicy roles by being wimps or gratuitously humble. But he did define the Capt. Kirk role, and has been gracious in the past 40 years following TOS by liberally opening his schedule to attend fancons, touting Trek, and staying in the public light.

If you want an example of live long and prosper, look no further than the Shat. As it has been said, “Shat is a guy that you can’t describe in words, and one you start talking about him, you can’t stop.”

103. Captain Dunsel - June 19, 2009

#58 – TonyD “But to me, that’s exactly the way he comes across a lot of the time these days.” [re: “disrespectful”]

I was speaking solely of the question of his inability to do the Vulcan salute, nothing else. Sorry that wasn’t clear.

104. El Chup - June 19, 2009

The Shat is a legend, plain and simple. He can play a situation as good as the best of them and he’s enjoying he twilight years better than anyone else I know of that age. Any of you complaing about him, I can see the whole lot of you being miserable old codgers who do nothing but stay at home and complain when you are 78 years old.

Top marks to him and may he be around for many years to come. The world would be a little less interesting without him around.

105. Aaron R. - June 19, 2009

the thing is the man flipped someone off on national telivision…. shat used to be someone who kids could look up to… now he is an a**hole lowlife who is sinking to flashing the most widely recognisable innaproriate hand gesture to the world… no i am not old and out of touch i am 25 and because i have some manners i think it was wrong… funny? hardly… sorry but who cares if he can do the vulcan salute or if it was planned or serious or not… what matters is that a truly classy person would not have done it.

imagine a teacher, policemen, firefighter or some other public face throwing the middle finger up insulting the country and world on television… oh you cant??? neither can I. pooooooooooor taste.

106. Dom - June 19, 2009

Bill’s one of the talk show greats, along with the likes of Adam West. When he turns up on the show, you have no idea what the hell he’s going to say next, but it’ll always be amusing!

As for the Daily Mail’s remarks, he pee-ed off one of their reporters years back when he was touring to launch Tek-War, by constantly running off to answer the phone and got stroppy with her when she mentioned Star Trek (it was that sad era when the original series of Trek films had ended and the supporting cast all lined up to take pot shots at him!) They’ve never really forgiven him for that.

Then again, Shatner’s got an extremely deadpan sense of humour and sometimes people don’t realise when he’s joking!

107. Mitch - June 19, 2009

For people that actually have a sense of humor, it was funny. For prudes and Shatner haters, it wasn’t. I couldn’t care less about the latter.

108. Kirk's Girdle - June 19, 2009

imagine a teacher, policemen, firefighter or some other public face throwing the middle finger up insulting the country and world on television… oh you cant??? neither can I. pooooooooooor taste.

Maybe not a teacher, but have you ever hung out with policemen or firemen? They don’t sit around drinking tea with their pinkies in the air.

109. Kirk's Girdle - June 19, 2009

McCoy couldn’t do the salute either, and that’s canon. And lets not forget Kirk’s hand on the “glass” with Wrath of Khan. We already knew he couldn’t do it.

110. Star Trackie - June 19, 2009

Methinks MANY here are experiencing Bill and Conan together for the first time now that Conan has the Tonight Show. This is classic Bill/Conan schtick. BIll has been one of Conan’s best guest for years and will continue to do so, despite the clueless viewers who just aren’t quite up to speed.

Like Andy Kaufman, who got a huge kick out of watching the general public try to figure him out, no doubt the Shat-man gets a hearty chuckle from humor-less, clueless fans who just don’t get the schtick he’s dishing out. But I get it and enjoy the hell out of watching him play the fans likea fiddle..and as always, Conan is in on the gag. Rock on William!

And did I mention that Shatner needs to be in the next movie? :)

111. falcon - June 19, 2009

Meh. Shatner is old, Conan is not funny (although the bit about the DTV conversion last Friday was chuckle-worthy), and we all need to move on. Star Trek has been reborn, even though it seems that folks are pretty evenly divided between “hate it” and “love it.”

As others have said, The Tonight Show died when Johnny Carson retired. To me the title will always be “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” No bloody Leno or O’Brien.

(Having said all that, it might be funny to see Shatner on Craig Ferguson. When Betty White was on his show a few years ago, that was priceless.)

Having Shatner on Trek again would be like having Dirk Benedict, Dwight Schultz, or Mr. T on the remake of “The A-Team.” It would be a stunt, nothing more, and only worthwhile for fans of the original show.

112. Randall - June 19, 2009

MY GOD…. people need to get a sense of humor. Shatner is a funny bastard, pure and simple.

113. Capt Mike of the Terran Empire - June 19, 2009

The Shat is right. We all need to get a life!!!. Oh im just kidding.

114. Frederick - June 19, 2009

Does anyone else think that flipping “Nurse Jackie” ad on this page is hilariously coincidental?

115. Liz - June 19, 2009

I saw that Conan episode with the finger. With or without the hand gesture, Shatner acted like a crazy person. He has become Denny Craine and has lost any trace of Captain Kirk he may have ever had.

116. Brett Campbell - June 19, 2009

116 – I think he has always been William Shatner who played Capt. Kirk and Denny Crane. At least that has been my take on reality.

117. Brett Campbell - June 19, 2009

Oops. I meant 115.

118. Weerd1 - June 19, 2009

It’s late night, kids shouldn’t be watching… They do worse on Family Guy, and that plays here in Seattle at 6pm.

Shatner is the apex of a triangle of cool- him, Adam West, and Tom Jones. Bow, mere mortals because among us walk gods.

When I was in first grade I realized I couldn’t make the Vulcan salute, so I used scotch tape and taped my pinky and ring finger on each hand together for a week. My mom shook her head in exasperation, but now my pinkies know who’s boss, and I can flash the Shaddai with the best of them.

119. VIDEO: William Shatner flips off…. William Shatner Flips Off Conan,…. | Popular over Internet - June 19, 2009

[…] As noted in yesterday’s ‘ShatWatch’, William Shatner was a guest on last night’s Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Bill was there to promote his latest projects and was his usual avuncular self. There was no talk of the new Star Trek movie, but Bill did recall a Trek related story and then there was a bit of an incident when he gave ConRead more at […]

120. Trek Nerd Central - June 19, 2009

Umm, *why* is it a big deal that Shatner can’t do the Vulcan salute? Isn’t Kirk supposed to be human?

Please explain.

Also, to everyone who suggests Shatner has “changed” somehow since the TOS era: No, he hasn’t. He’s always been an eccentric hambone. From what I’ve read he was like that on the set from the beginning.

121. Weerd1 - June 19, 2009

120- exactly! Read Joan Winston’s set report in “Star Trek Lives!” or Harlan Ellison’s account of meeting The Shat in his “COTEOF” book (I just had to send Ellison a quarter for even mentioning it). Has anyone heard “The Transformed Man” or “Has Been”? He’s been operating on a different plane of reality for years.

For the love of God, in 1965 he made a movie in Esperanto!

He is unstoppable, and will not be denied!

122. james vincent - June 19, 2009

LOL. William Shatner is the best.

I’ve seen worse things on TV.

I Laughed my ASS off when I saw the video.

Your the man Shatner. Keep it Real. Respect

123. Cygnus-X1 - June 19, 2009

Gotta love the Shat.

124. krikzil - June 19, 2009

#99 — Funny. I can’t help but think some folks blame rainy days on Shatner…..

125. DonDonP1 - June 19, 2009

Well, then, Palpatine IS a Lucasfilm-owned Star Wars character, NOT a CBS-owned Star Trek character.

126. N - June 19, 2009

That was funny. Got to love Shat!

127. doofman - June 19, 2009

Maybe it’s cause I watched in HD, but how has NO ONE else noticed that Shatner was completely intoxicated during that interview? Almost certainly drunk, maybe on some fun pills to top him off, but he was GONE.

Not that I have a problem with it, he still gave a hilarious interview. But this wasn’t “planned,” it was just Conan dealing with a drunk old man. (not the first talk show host to have that problem)

128. doofman - June 19, 2009

I guess the EW and First Post article writers noticed, but no one else seems to have.

129. Star Trackie - June 19, 2009

#127 “but how has NO ONE else noticed that Shatner was completely intoxicated during that interview? ”

…mmm…maybe because he wasn’t?

130. Jason - June 19, 2009

Shatner has being doing such stuff regularly on Conan (his old show), typically with a similar reaction from Conan, for years. You Tube is lousy with such Shatner/Conan bits. Does this mean nobody writing these stories (in the U.S., I could see the Brits not quite getting it) had actually ever watched the old show? Anyway, I’m amazed they pixelated the finger. Maybe that made it funnier?

131. Trekker9 - June 19, 2009

Long live the Shat!! Always great on Conan. HILARIOUS!

132. Kirk's Girdle - June 19, 2009


Can anyone explain what posts like #119 are?
All they do is repeat the story I’m already reading all the time.

133. Jason - June 19, 2009

a) sorry to repeat what others have said re: Conan’s and Shatner’s history (Shatner’s Secrets from Conan a few years ago is ridiculous/funny).

b) Doofman. See a). Don’t think Shatner was drunk or is senile. They’ve been doing this shtick regularly for more than a decade.

134. doofman - June 19, 2009

133: I think it’s funny you think that second video clip proves your point, when it’s actually much stronger evidence for mine. Shatner in that old clip: not-red faced, much more composed, speaking much more clearly even with the “forgetting Kirk” joke in there.

I’m not disputing the point that the two of them have been doing this stuff for awhile, as clearly even a totally hammered Shatner could still keep it mostly together from a comedy standpoint. But that doesn’t change the fact that he was definitely out of it.

I’m sorry if the notion of Shatner being drunk or high or whatever bothers you, I didn’t mean it as an insult or an attack, as I said before I actually thought it was funny. Talk show interviews are always PR fluff anyway, so things like this actually make them interesting (as Conan clearly realized the other night, which is why he didn’t take a firmer hand with Shatner earlier in the interview).

135. Jason - June 19, 2009

Doesn’t bother me… I just don’t think he looked drunk or high, or at least any drunker or higher than usual… just my opinion, maybe he was. There’s a more recent clip of Shatner being incredulous and out of it as Conan reacts to his ridiculous Nascar “wooooooo!” , but I couldn’t find it.

These days (that clip I put up was from like 15 years ago, he’s 78 now) he’s pretty red-faced and puffy-looking all the time — they’ve made jokes about it on Boston Legal, at least they did the single time I watched it/

I’m not even a fan of Shatner (his publicity-hounding gets on my nerves), although I find his making-an-ass-himself-on-Conan stuff pretty darned amusing (and in big part because of Conan’s reaction to him… sort of like how Letterman used to needle Richard Simmons all the time). I personally am guessing that it was pretty generally staged – Shatner will do something ridiculous, C will flip out.

Frankly, all the other cast members — specifically George — doing the Vulcan salute to fans all the time sort of got on my nerves. Yes, I’m that much of a geek.

136. Andy Patterson - June 19, 2009

Still love him – silly or not. He’s part of the Trek universe I love. And he’s a genius at getting publicity still.

137. cd - June 19, 2009

#10 – After seeing the new Star Trek movie, I can understand how people can confuse it with Star Wars.


138. cd - June 19, 2009

It seems like every time Shatner appears on Conan it’s on YouTube and around the net the next day. Remember the “Releasing the Chi” race driving video?

139. Brett Campbell - June 19, 2009

121- “Harlan Ellison’s account of meeting The Shat in his “COTEOF” book (I just had to send Ellison a quarter for even mentioning it).”

Oh man, you just gave me a great laugh at the end of a long day! Thanks!!

140. lostrod - June 19, 2009


Well said.

141. lostrod - June 20, 2009

Doofman – ever considered applying for a job with law enforcement? Think of all the money they could save on expensive breathalyzers, blood tests, urine tests, etc.

They could just call you and ask you to make an instant determination if someone was intoxicated or high.

Regards. :)

142. Keith - June 20, 2009

#137, true… but I guess that is ok… based on quality of effects and all.

143. Major Shat Lover - June 21, 2009

Mr. Shatner has some cool vids on his site. In case there are actually punks out there who have a different homepage:

144. » News Around the Net - July 17, 2009

[…] catch William Shatner’s appearance on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien last month?  Check out the clip on  It’s worth watching for the insanity of the last 30 […] is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.