Last night, while backstage at the William Shatner Gala (which, by the way, is French for William Shatner Random Assortment Of Largely Lackluster Club Comics Interspersed With Shatluster Sketches About Harry Potter And Live Earth), I watched Shatner watch the comics performing on a large monitor just behind the stage. For a while, Shatner had no reaction to what he was seeing–no grinning, no nodding in agreement, no laughter, no rolling of the eyes, or really movement of the eyes at all–though his face was fixed in a kind of permanent, almost beatific, half-smile. All I could think was, Does he know what's going on? Or is he just so accustomed to playing it straight that he doesn't know how to register slight mirth? Then one of the comics did a bit about how there is no Jewish equivalent to a Kung Fu master, and Shatner laughed a little. Later on, Harland Williams, wearing a shirt that was unbuttoned to the middle of his chest and the beginning of our collective nightmares, told a joke and Shatner, his eyes glued to the monitor but his mind definitely somewhere else, laughed a little more at that one. (I'm not sure what the joke was, but chances are it had something to do with balls, Williams' wife, or a combination of the two.) Those were the only times I saw him laugh. So there you have it: William Shatner's laughter barometer fluctuates between observational jokes that involve Judaism, and Harland Williams. What more could I have hoped to learn at this Festival, aside from what the deal with stuff is, and maybe a proper definition of the word "shatastic", except what makes Shatner laugh? As for the other goals, here's a final inventory: 1. The small dictionary of industry-speak. Fourth entry: Breaking, adj., on the verge of making it ("it" being probably nothing) Usage: "That guy is breaking. I haven't seen this kind of reaction since Harland Williams did the Festival back in whenever." 2. To document Howie Mandel's choice of footwear. Neon green Crocs. Just kidding. I documented Harland Williams' choice of shirt (open). That's enough about the dressing habits of mediocre comics. 3. To go to as many interesting shows as possible. Done. 4. To go to as many un-interesting shows as possible. Also done. [see Harland Williams] 5. Cards Of Shame collection The most shameful of my collection will be posted tomorrow. 6. To find out who made the Just For Laughs logo and why. Who: A French Canadian? Why: Because he's French Canadian?
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