Watch William Shatner Give Conan The Salute [UPDATED: Bill’s Finger Makes Global News]

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.

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A video for us non-US users please?

Stay classy, Bill!

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

Darn it. I really wanted to see that video.

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

Use free US proxy or VPN servers.

You know, that Conan guy is ok! lol

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.

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.

The man is a riot!

That was hilarious as hell !

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??

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

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

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.

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

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.

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



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.’ ”



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.

British Media is known to be “tabloid” style.

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.

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.

“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.

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

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’.

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

Shatner is a hoot. Love it.

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

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!!!!!

Amen #22.

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

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!

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!

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

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

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.)

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.

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!


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.


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.

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

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.

That’s Hilarious!!

I bet Chris Pine can do the salute.

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.

#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!”

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.

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.

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!”

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