David Hasselhoff, a.k.a., The Hoff
There are some immediate and obvious facts in favor of the Hoff.
ITEM: Hoff starred in two iconic television series.
ITEM: He's big in Germany.
ITEM: He may very well be the antichrist.
ITEM: According to wikipedia, Hasselhoff has a "penchant for self-parody."
In a cameo as himself in John Waters' 2004 effort A Dirty Shame, Hasselhoff defecates in an airplane's washroom.
ITEM WITH THE MOST POTENTIAL: "Late 2006, a musical based on his life called David Hasselhoff: The Musical will open in Australia before moving to the United States. Hasselhoff describes it as 'totally campy.'"
In general, my gut feeling says "NO" to Hasselhoff as Shatner 2. My main issue is with this alleged "pencant for self-parody." In reality both of these cheeseballs have embraced self-parody as a way to get on TV and to get paid. I have no problem with that.
But with Hasselhoff it does not seem sincere, and with Shatner it does.
It's not fair to the real Shatner or the real Hasselhoff, but our little contest isn't about the real people but about their cultural significance. If part of being Shatner is being convincingly self-deprecatory at times (and I suggest that it is), Hasselhoff's failure to be convincing is a major strike against him.
Shatner Potential: 6 out of a possible 10.
Disagree with my rating? Please leave an argument for a higher or lower rating in the comments.
At least one Bellman reader is confused about what actually makes up "Shatnernicity." So far, it's proven impossible to state in mere words. So I am just going to pile up more and more details about the space that Shatner occupies in our collective psychological landscape, in the hopes that we can all come to a similar gestalt understanding.
Here's another data point, from today's Wired News:
Wired News: So speaking hypothetically, how do you feel about the possibility of someone else taking on Kirk's gold shirt in the upcoming movie?
Shatner: Well as long as he's good-looking, talented, slim and ... rich, I guess. Lacking any of those elements I would feel very bad.
(According to IMDB, Matt Damon is rumored to be playing the part of Kirk in 2008's Star Trek IX: This Series Goes to Eleven. That would, of course, give Damon a huge leg up in the "Who Wants to be a Shatner" contest... in 2008. In the mean time, I wouldn't even consider him as a nominee, because he can actually act.)
We're still accepting nominees in the comments of the main post. If you want your nominee to be considered, however, please explain why you think that person has a shot. It may be obvious to some why Howie Mandell is Shatneresque, but it is not obvious to the contest administrators.