The Trek Nation’s Lynda Foley attended Sunday night’s taping of Comedy Central’s roast of William Shatner, which will air next Sunday night at 10 p.m. While she was there, she spoke to George Takei (Sulu) on the red carpet, where she asked him about his own experiences and the current political climate.
“I’m a Japanese-American. I grew up behind US barbed-wire fences,” Takei told Foley. “We were first taken to the horse stables of Santa Anita Race Track, because the camps weren’t built yet. And then when the camps were built, they transported us two-thirds of the way across the county to the swamps of Arkansas…and why were we incarcerated? There were no trials. There were no attorneys. There was no due process. Simply because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. Yes, I know about racial profiling. And this administration has used fear to terrorize America. Yes, they are the ones who are terrorizing America. There are decent people who just happened to look like the ones who committed that terrible act on September 11, 2001, and they are being profiled and subjected to all these indignities.”
“You know, this administration came out with what they call the ‘Patriot Act’ which is the most disgusting name for an ‘Act’ that is so un-American,” the actor added. “I mean, due process and civil liberties have gone out the window. And this administration continues to tell us that we are terrorized. There are better ways do deal with this. Look at Britain. They caught the people before it happened. Intelligence is what’s really important.”
“And do you know what they are doing in this country? [The Military] are kicking out Arabic-speaking gay intelligence workers, just because they are gay! What is more important? National security or homophobia? In this administration, it’s clearly homophobia and not national security. This administration has it all wrong.”
A Fox News reporter noted that Takei seemed very passionate about this subject and asked him what he thought was the answer. “Britain has demonstrated that they can do it. Have good intelligence! By firing Arabic speaking intelligence officers, that is not the way to do it…look at the failure we have in Iraq. It is a disaster. Look at the incompetence we had in dealing with Katrina. In case after case, this administration has been the greatest threat to America.”
Asked by the same Fox News reporter whether he could speak in positive terms and to explain why he was at the roast, Takei responded, “I am interested in making a happy, safe, secure, and stable America…I’m here to express my admiration for Captain Kirk. Now he was a great leader…he was charismatic. He was decisive, he knew how to prioritize, and he was played by an actor, who was a very…I mean is a very good actor. Though I think he’s late for his autopsy!”
Once at the roast, Takei was the object of jokes about his homosexuality and the fact that he remains best-known for a role he played on television forty years ago, but he was equally ribald, beginning his speech by saying, “I’ve got a few things to say about this bloated, washed-up, pathetic, no-talent, bald hack cashing in on his fame as a classic TV actor,” only to turn and greet host Jason Alexander (Kurros) rather than the expected target of his barb, Shatner. Then he greeted the honoree, “Speaking of fat alcoholics…good evening, Bill. My name is George Tuh-Kay – NOT Tuh-Kai as you’ve insisted on pronouncing it for the past 40 years. Remember – Takei, like in toupee!”
Takei then announced that he would not go on listing Shatner’s physical faults because there were so many other things to make fun of, “Like your acting…of course, I’m only kidding, Bill. Bill is a generous actor. He gave Nichelle Nichols herpes!” Takei then shared a long kiss with fellow roaster Jeffrey Ross and said that Shatner is “a rich, gooey, devil’s food cake, that I want to drop my face into and go, ‘Brbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbr!’ [shaking face and making rubbery lip noises].” Acknowledging that he and Shatner have not always been close – Takei was critical of Shatner both in his autobiography, To The Stars, and in several appearances – he added, “Despite our tensions, I’m honored that you invited me to be here with your tonight…as I look over this see of adoring faces, you know, Bill, I’ve got to confess…maybe you’ve been right all these years…you really are the center of the universe.”
After congratulating Shatner on a wonderful evening, Takei concluded, “As your helmsman and navigator, it’s my pleasure to tell you…go to hell!” Comedy Central will air the roast Sunday night at 10 p.m. Eastern time. Some clips, including one of Takei, are available now on the web site.