Guest spots are nothing new to television. Hosting "Saturday Night Live" is cool.Appearing on "Arsenio Hall" is hip. And now, a wave of celebrities areincreasingly dropping in as guest aliens on KCOP's "Star Trek: The NextGeneration."
"I was in a health club and one of the producers was there," said "EntertainmentTonight" host John Tesh, who played a Klingon prodding Lt. Worf with a painstick in one episode. "It was a very Hollywood thing to do. I said, 'I'm a verybig fan of the show, and would love to get on."'
Did Tesh have any lines? "Yeah," he said, laughing. "Aaarrrgh!"The list of guest aliens on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" includes CorbinBernsen of "L.A. Law" and comedian Joe Piscopo.
Among those who have expressed interest in a futuutuappearance are StevieWonder, actresses Sean Young, Jean Simmons, Roseanna Arquette and AdrienneBarbeau, "Cheers" cast members Bebe Neuwirth and Roger Rees, comedian DaveThomas and KLOS-FM deejays Mark and Brian.
Some people are willing to do anything o get on the show.
Last season, Mick Fleetwood of the rock group Fleetwood Mac played a member ofthe antedian fish race, "a naughty space alien" as he called it. The imposing6-foot-5 rocker had to shave off his trademark beard only to disappear inside ascaly fish head.
"I had to eat this wretched stuff called vermicula, which is a very messy, gooeysubstance that antedians need to survive," he said in his British accent. "I gotto drool and slurp gelatin. I ensconced my entire head in this huge bowl ofvermicula. I loved it."
The main reason Fleetwood chose to play the part, however, was so that he couldbeam aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. "I couldn't resist. You only beam up once inyour life," he said.
Whoopi Goldberg opened the door for the parade of celebrities when she signed on"Star Trek: The Next Generation" as a recurring cast member in 1988. Sheapproached the series' producers because she was a big fan of the show. "Theywere really surprised when I said I wanted to do it," she told The Times, andthen laughed. "They were also pretty cool.
"Knowing that it's a syndicated series means that when I'm old and gray andthey're still watching "Star Trek,' I may get a little money."
Bernsen, who last season played part of the Q continuum, a master race,explained his participation: "A, it's a hip show, and B--I hate to soundserious-but it was a great role. 'Star Trek' is part of a legacy."
Then there's always that faint hope that the celebrities' guest alien will bebrought back for another episode. "I didn't die!" Bernsen blurted out. "I'd liketo explore my character more. I'm waiting to hear from them."
"My fish wasn't killed off," Fleetwood said. "He's in the cooler. He could comeback at any moment."