William Shatner’s “Get a Life” skit wasn’t well-liked
Way back in 1986, William Shatner performed a skit on Saturday Night Live that got a lot of Star Trek fans stirred up. Many were hurt by the actor’s demand for them to “get a life” even though it wasn’t to be taken seriously, considering the venue. Saturday Night Life wasn’t the place to go to discuss serious topics, and most everyone knew that. However, some fans felt that it was disrespectful that Shatner agreed to do the skit.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter to celebrate the upcoming 55th anniversary of Star Trek, Rod Roddenberry, son of creator Gene Roddenberry, agreed with those fans. And not only did he think it was disrespectful, he also thinks it was demeaning to the fans and said he never really appreciated it.
"“I never really appreciated that skit because I think it was demeaning to the fans. I think it was disrespectful, especially for a character who was an open-minded, intelligent leader.”"
Shatner’s skit was the 71st funniest one ever on SNL
For those that hate the skit, there are an equal number that think it is one of the most hysterical skits the show ever had. E! Entertainment even listed it in the top 100 of the funniest things ever done on SNL. The skit came in at 71.
Roddenberry doesn’t know if his father thought the skit was disrespectful to fans as Roddenberry was only twelve when it aired and seventeen when his father passed away. He said that he and [Gene] never had “those kinds of conversations” as he was a “young, immature kid.”
Every fan knows that William Shatner doesn’t hate the Star Trek community, and it’s doubtful that Shatner would have done anything to be purposefully disrespectful to Gene Roddenberry. After all, the movies were still ongoing at the time, and Captain Kirk was back in the spotlight.
At any rate, this happened 35 years ago so the point of it being discussed now is moot. Fans who were hurt by it have moved on, hopefully, and those who weren’t hurt by it just see it as a comical expression of Shatner’s experience with the fandom.