Words & Deeds

William Shatner AND Kato Kaelin? In Boise together? Get Counselor Troi. I need therapy

From left, "Star Trek" franchise actors William Shatner, John de Lancie, Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner are scheduled to appear at Wizard World Comic Con in Boise this weekend.
From left, "Star Trek" franchise actors William Shatner, John de Lancie, Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner are scheduled to appear at Wizard World Comic Con in Boise this weekend. Wizard World Comic Con

If you value your sanity, do not attempt to comprehend how deep the rabbit hole goes at Wizard World Comic Con.

Just when you think you've unearthed every nerdy nuance of this Vulcan mind meld of a festival, a new gem of freakiness reveals itself.

The touring pop-culture convention makes its first-ever Idaho stop Friday through Sunday at the Boise Centre.

Downtown might feel like a different universe.

I'm able to wrap my brain around the concept of 87-year-old William Shatner posing for $80 photos with "Star Trek" fanboys. Awesome. I've come to terms with the mental image of "Star Trek": The Next Generation" alumni Marina Sirtis (Commander Deanna Troi) and Brent Spiner (Data) frolicking in The Grove plaza's fountain. And I'm sure fans of "Sons of Anarchy" will be fired up to pay actor Ron Perlman $60 per autograph — even if he's not in his "Hellboy" costume.

But then, this week, I discover that Kato Kaelin is coming to Boise?

That's when I suddenly felt like I'd swallowed the red pill AND the blue pill.

Kato Kaelin.jpg
No, that's not Mr. Rogers! It's Kato Kaelin, who hosts the Entertainment Stage at Wizard World Comic Con. Wizard World

That's when I immediately contacted Wizard World PR manager Jerry Milani. To help me understand. Kato Kaelin is emceeing a side stage for three days at Wizard World?

Does. Not. Compute.

"I know!" Milani assured me.

Milani has spent nine years working for Wizard World. Still, Kaelin on the Entertainment Stage makes him laugh. "It's the weirdest thing for me," he admitted.

Back in 2017, Wizard World organizers decided they needed an extra hub near the entrance. Something to fill time between celebrity panels, autograph sessions and other random Wizard World nuttiness.

Naturally, O.J. Simpson's famous houseguest was hired. Kaelin introduces musical performers, tells jokes, hosts trivia. Confuses slackjawed fans when they walk into Wizard World.

"We started with him last year," Milani explained. "The first show of the year, New Orleans, and everyone's like, 'Kato Kaelin? What? Kato Kaelin? WHAT?' I was like everybody else. Because you don't know, right? You haven't heard of him in 25 years, and the reason you heard about him ..."

Um. Yeah.

"But this guy, I tell you what, he has fun with fans. He's great with the kids. He's great with everyone."

Kaelin even poses for photos. No charge. (You do have to pay to get into Wizard World.)

"He's probably going to take the phone and do the selfie with you," Milani said. "He'll do pretty much anything. ... He must have taken a million selfies at our shows."

Wizard World sounds like a trip. In an entertaining way.

But let's be honest. It IS utterly bizarre. And I'm not just talking about the cosplay grown-ups prancing around in "Star Wars" costumes.

William Shatner.jpg
William Shatner Rory Lewis

Behold this new Shatner tidbit. Good ol' Capt. Kirk has a country album coming out in August. (Of course he does!) There's even a slurred-word drinking song called "Beam Me Up." It's a duet with Jeff Cook of country-pop band Alabama. I dare you to get through all 35 seconds of the preview online. Imagine T.J. Hooker singing it.

Actually, hold off. We wouldn't want your head to explode, "Scanners"-style.

Let's wait until you walk into Wizard World and notice Kato Kaelin waving at you.

"The show is pop culture," Milani said. "It's a comic con, but it's pop culture. What's more pop culture than Kato Kaelin when you think about it?"

Online: wizardworld.com.

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