Takei On Stern, Shatner and Star TrekBy Michelle
June 6, 2007 - 11:41 PM
George Takei (Sulu) spoke to Creation Entertainment about his work with shock jock Howard Stern, his opposition to the current US administration and his inability to teach William Shatner (Kirk) how to pronounce his name.
"Howard Stern really is someone who boldly goes where no one has gone before," Takei explained to Creation TV. "For example, he was enormously successful on free terrestrial radio, and he felt very secure...he could have just stayed there." Instead Stern took what Takei calls the "great big risk" of broadcasting in the new technology of satellite radio.
But the most important reason Takei enjoys working for Stern is ideological. "Most importantly, the reason that I support Howard...his humor is juvenile and bawdy, but he also is a champion of freedom of speech," the actor said. As a survivor of World War II internment camps, Takei said he cherishes that freedom, "particularly now, during the Bush administration where it is such a divisive administration...if you exercise your freedom of speech, you are against them. That kind of atmosphere sours democracy."
As for Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Takei called him "a different kind of visionary...he had an affirmative vision of the future." Takei feels that Star Trek is political and social fiction as well as science fiction and he credits the fans with keeping Roddenberry's vision alive.
In another interview, Takei laughed that Shatner mispronounced his name for forty years. In Japanese, Tak-eye means "expensive", but the actor's name is "Takei...just like in toupee" as he explained to his former co-star. "And he hasn't gotten it wrong since."
Asked about his big role in roasting Shatner for Comedy Central, Takei lamented that he had forty years of material on Captain Kirk but only a few minutes to share it. "The whole evening, I was being roasted just as much as Bill was," Takei admitted. But asked whether he would invite Shatner to his own roast, Takei said he did not plan to be roasted. "I want something dignified - not the kind of thing he does!"