Blog Post

These are the 2 celebrities I’ve interviewed who were most like I expected

Following is an excerpt from my book, “Not Quite Right: Mostly True Tales of a Weird News Reporter.” To order a copy, visit any local or online bookseller. For a signed copy ($15 plus $4 shipping), email

I like to tell people about my Hollywood connections. It’s hard to say why since I have little in common with those folks. I really couldn’t be described as far left. Or far out. Or vegan. Or unnaturally thin (probably because I’m not vegan). Plus, I still have my original nose. And during my only trip to Hollywood, I went to a store on Rodeo Drive – you know, just so I could say I went to a store on Rodeo Drive – and found a designer keychain that cost $375. A keychain, y’all. You can get one that works just as well for $3.95 over at the Walmart.

billy bob
Interviewing Billy Bob Thornton in 2008. (Photo by Kim Rynders)

Yet, celebrity fascinates me. I love being thisclose to people who don’t have to do their own grocery shopping, or vacuuming, or, you know, actually dress themselves. It’s like visiting a zoo filled with helpless-but-entertaining baby sloths.

So which actor did I interview who was just exactly as I expected? There were two, actually. William Shatner, who has a reputation for being an egomaniacal (whisper) ass-hat, and Dolly Parton, who I wanted to bring to Grandma’s for dinner and have her fattened up. Well, all but in that one area in which she needs no fattening.

William Shatner at the first Space Camp Hall of Fame induction in 2007 in Huntsville, AL. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission required)

I met Shatner when he came to Huntsville to speak at the inaugural Space Camp Hall of Fame inductions. Although he was pretty much as I expected, I wouldn’t go so far as to call him an ass-hat He just seemed annoyed at reporters’ questions and made faces like he was wearing sandpaper underpants.

I did ask Shatner if I could get a quick photo and he obliged, meaning he couldn’t get away quickly enough to avoid it. I happen to love that photo (although he looked as if his sandpaper underpants were wedged right up in his crater) mainly because I was down to my goal weight for a change.

 (Pointless-but-intriguing side note: Have you ever thought about the fact that if William Shatner dated Sandra Bullock, their celebrity couple name could, and should, be “Bullshat?” Or was that just me?)

Interviewing Dolly Parton in 2005. (Photo by Dollywood staff)

And then there was Dolly. Sweetest. Lady. Ever. My favorite celebrity interview by far. I’d gotten Baby Girl, who was twelve, a student press pass because she was on the yearbook staff. We walked in and Baby Girl, wearing little wedge sandals, was about the same height as Dolly. One of the first things Dolly said while complimenting Baby Girl’s cute little skirt was, “Mama, you need to let her get some high heels like these.” She held up an ankle no bigger than a Barbie doll’s, clad in a five-inch stiletto.

Did I mention Baby Girl was twelve? But I figured questioning Dolly was like questioning the gods of all things southern. It simply wasn’t done. I mean, I’d do just about anything Dolly advised. I’d wear white after Labor Day. I’d cross against the sign …

To read more, order “Not Quite Right: Mostly True Tales of a Weird News Reporter’ by emailing

uncle jesse
Baby Girl with John Stamos in 2011. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
Baby Girl with Olivia Newton-John in 2009. (Photo by Kelly Kazek | Permission Required)
kelly interviewing fannie photo by wil elrick
Me interviewing Fannie Flagg. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission required)

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