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William Shatner

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Boston Legal’s William Shatner – an Emmy nominee this year – offers himself up for serving, getting roasted in a Comedy Central special premiering Aug. 20. How’s he preparing himself to go boldly where no Star Trek alum has gone before? “I’m practicing my blank look and daintily dabbing my forehead with an absorbent rag,” he told PEOPLE. Good thing: Even Leonard Nimoy – Mr. Spock himself – is ready for the main course. Hear what Shatner has to say about that in our audio (see box) and read on for more of PEOPLE’s interview with the captain.

I’ll get right to the point, what were you thinking signing up to be humiliated on national television?
It seemed like a good idea at the time. As bad as it gets, I’m allowed to give it back as good. I don’t have to buy air time, they bought it for me.

When they said roast, did you think it had something to do with food?
I knew it had something to do with hot skin and basting. And core temperature.

Is there anything off-limits?
Not really, no. I’m expecting to be severely hurt. I did suggest maybe I would be off-limits. Me off-limits, everything else fine. They said no.

Why Jason Alexander as roaster?
Why not? Jason is an acquaintance. He’s funny. But most of all, he’s shorter than I am. That’s absolutely the key point.

William Shatner and Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols
At Pamela Anderson’s roast, Courtney Love flashed everyone. Should we expect nudity at this roast?
You can expect exposure, but no nudity. And only from me if I see that’s it’s simply not offensive enough.

How do you see your chances at the Emmys? You have three nominations.
The chances are 1-to-5 that you will not win. So if you are a gambling man, don’t write a speech. … I have never written one, even the two times that I won. Writing an acceptance speech gives you the expectation of winning, and you are therefore devastated or hurt if you didn’t win.

You seem to really be enjoying things in your career right now, and you’re getting a lot of work. What’s the last gig you turned down?
I turned down a game show yesterday.