Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 2, Episode 4
Original Air Date: December 12, 1988
|via Memory Alpha
The Enterprise picks up Okuna (William O. Campbell), a freighter captain with a twinkle in his eye - imagine a Han Solo-type who is more forward, and more successful, with women. Charming as he is, he manages to put our friends in the middle of an interplanetary feud - shades of Romeo & Juliet, happier ending thankfully. Meanwhile, Data is learning about humor from a holodeck comedian played by Joe Piscopo.
This one's fun - nothing spectacular but fun. Okuna is likeable and even admirable by story's end. Campbell was actually one of the original candidates to play Riker but he was thought to be too "soft," therefore better suited to this role. Teri Hatcher, she of a later, more famous Seinfeld episode, also appears, though un-credited, by her own request after much of her material was cut. Good development for Data, too. His one inadvertant joke is genuinely funny:
Guinan: You spoiled the joke. It could have been your timing.
Data: My timing is digital.
Joe Piscopo was born June 17, 1951 in Passaic, New Jersey. In 1980, he signed on with Saturday Night Live. He was part of the ill-fated cast that followed on the heels of the legendary originals. The replacements were received so poorly that most were let go after one season. Only Piscopo and Eddie Murphy survived. Piscopo built his reputation on impressions, most famously of Frank Sinatra:
I remember his Miller Lite commercials fondly:
Jerry Lewis was the original choice for the holodeck comedian but his schedule didn't work out. In tribute, Piscopo did his routine, mostly ad-libbed, in Lewis's style.
Piscopo is referenced in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Jammin' Me":
These days, Piscopo has a daily radio show, Piscopo in the Morning on WNYM.