For a man whose career has been dripping with dramatic irony for the last 30 years, there was a certain poignancy that while former Rage Against The Machine guitarist and fellow Star Trek alum Tom Morello was providing a free show for the Occupy Vancouver protestors five blocks away, Canada's finest Starship captain was delivering a personal revolution of his own.

After all the well-rehearsed anecdotes, vintage Jewish jokes and knowing nods to his inimitable personal acting style, ‘How Time Flies: An Evening with William Shatner' boiled down to the great man addressing his mortality and the life lessons he's learnt; simultaneously enhancing and dismantling his iconic status on the way.

On the surface, last night's performance at The Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, the opening date of Shatner's Trans-Canadian tour, would appear to have been a straightforward affair. After a frankly hilarious opening video celebrating Shatner winning the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for lifetime achievement by having him reinterpret ‘O Canada', the man himself was introduced by music journalist Alan Cross, and the two of them sat down for an extended conversation – interrupted only by a brief intermission – over the course of nearly three hours.

Conversation would be a generous description. Cross probably managed to squeak out 70 words all evening as Shatner held court before an adoring crowd, most of whom hadn't been born when Star Trek was first aired.

The first thing you'll notice about William Shatner is that despite looking absolutely fantastic for an 80-year old, he is both shorter and tubbier than you anticipated. The second thing. You notice. Is that he actually. Doesn't. Speak the way. You think. He does.

In fact, he's an easy and natural raconteur, veering effortlessly from topic to topic, covering the Charlie Sheen Roast, his love of horses, growing up in Montreal, his study-free years at McGill and his early career in theatre and movies. It wasn't until after the intermission that Cross brought up "the elephant in the room" and the subject turned to Star Trek.

More a sequence of anecdotes than a verbal autobiography, Shatner's tales were continually sprinkled with bluntly hostile verdicts on the charm and talents of superstars like Burt Lancaster and Yul Brynner, and precisely delivered one-liners from the distant past. Two winners from too many to count, "You know the economy's bad. Exxon-Mobil just laid off 23 congressmen" and "I told my mother I'd been cast in the role of a Jewish husband. She said, ‘you call the producer and tell him you want a speaking part!'"

William Shatner, as anyone who has seen him on TV over the past 20 years could verify, is a gifted comedian. But what made ‘How Time Flies' such an interesting experience were the moments when he put aside the punchlines and started getting serious. Nothing was off limits, as he addressed the day in 1969, after Star Trek's cancellation, when the Enterprise's captain had to watch the moon landings from the Winnebago he called home. He discussed the pain of his father and third wife's death, and explained how the realization of his own mortality led to his performance for the death of Captain Kirk at the end of Star Trek Generations.

If there was one disappointment, it's that there wasn't enough music. Instead of the ‘hits', the man who brought the world spoken-word interpretations of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds', ‘Rocket Man' and ‘Common People' that straddled the thin line between genius and madness chose to close the show with ‘The Good Old Hockey Game'. Not his finest selection, but a fitting choice for a man who, despite being an icon across this planet and throughout the Alpha Quadrant, remains proudly Canadian.