He arrived over an hour late to Constitution Hall last Tuesday, though not so unexpectedly. This was, after all, Charlie Sheen. The iconic self-proclaimed “Warlock” was predictably marching to the beat of his own drum, oblivious to the effect on others.
He arrived over an hour late to Constitution Hall last Tuesday, though not so unexpectedly. This was, after all, Charlie Sheen. The iconic self-proclaimed “Warlock” was predictably marching to the beat of his own drum, oblivious to the effect on others.The stories of coke binges and drinking until dawn with women of ill repute weren’t exactly new. And it wasn’t the first time Sheen had been in the tabloids for serious issues. But this time the internet and Twitter were aflame-and the “powers that be” at his day job couldn’t help but notice. After two rehab stints and several cheap-shots at “Two and a Half Men” co-creator Chuck Lorre and Warner Brother’s management, the pot began to boil over.
Sheen was officially fired from the show on March 7, almost six months after stories leaked about his epic partying exploits and a full two years after he was charged with felony menacing, assault and criminal mischief. I guess you could say he ran out of mulligans.
At one time this would have been unimaginable for the movie actor cum sitcom star, who’d carried the “TaHM” to astronomic Neilson ratings. He’d done so well he was earning almost $2MM per episode, making him the top paid actor on television.
So now, filling that $40 million dollar hole in his pocket, Sheen was on tour doing what Charlie does best-playing the blissful narcissist.
He admitted as much, quipping that when his agent suggested he go on tour he agreed without asking any questions. Hardly a stand-up comedian, Sheen had never been given 90 minutes of otherwise dead air to fill. Not without writers and directors and producers. And after a dozen shows, scores of cigarettes and numerous comedic bits of varying success, he still didn’t appear totally comfortable in this new skin.
But the crowd last Tuesday was enormously pro-Sheen, vitriolic of hecklers who tried to tear him down. The “Sheen-iuses” weren’t nearly as kind to disc jockey Tommy Griffith of BIG 100.3 FM, who was brought in to spend a half hour interviewing Charlie. The “Inside the Actors Studio” format would have catered better to someone who actually shrunk from the limelight-someone whose personality was not already so in-your-face.
How long they planned on continuing this back-and-forth nobody can be sure, but it was cut painfully short as the crowd started getting restless. He went backstage and 15 minutes later, after screening a YouTube mash-up he’d produced of his 20/20 interview, he was back on with a new and far more heavy gimmick.
Sensing the crowd needed something more, Sheen brought in Comedy Central Roastmaster Jeff Ross to give him some comedic credibility. Ross pulled no punches in flambéing Sheen, easily out-producing the rest of the evening in laughs per-minute, while making the audience’s “Two and Half Men” fans recoil in disgust. While half the crowd was merely hoping to catch the Violent Torpedo of Truth in an epic meltdown, the other half, largely in their 40’s and 50’s, clearly planned on fawning over his Havana shirt-wearing CBS persona.
The laughs were so uproarious Sheen refused to let Ross leave the stage. He took the ribbing admirably, doubling over at times when jokes about his ex-wives or “Goddesses” got particularly raunchy, convinced people were laughing with and not at him. This was surely the case-in this setting Sheen was the “man-of-the-people” he’d always fancied himself.
But even the final portion of the show, where Ross brought a dozen audience members on stage to “Ask Charlie Sheen,” belied the difficulty of a performance in this venue. If uber-star Charlie Sheen has trouble making people laugh, what’s the likelihood a random fan would be up to the task? Portions of the bit received the wrath of a Sheen hungry audience, and it became clear their Sheen-lust would not be satiated this evening. The show ended more with a whimper than a bang.
So what to make of this months-long drama of Charlie Sheen’s own creation? In some ways he revealed more than expected in his show at Constitution Hall:
-Charlie wants to go back to work at CBS. He admitted as much, saying he had the best job in the world and was just having “too much fun” over the past six months.
-Charlie admires those, like himself of course, who “tell the truth.” In his mind, corporate CBS fat-cats made a bad business decision without consulting him. Of course, moments later, he would backpedal saying “I even told [CBS] I’d apologize…but I didn’t say I’d mean it!”
-Charlie cares enough to fight for his kids in court, but not enough to refrain from bashing their mother in an open forum. His late arrival was a result of his custody hearing in Los Angeles that morning, but his humility never showed up.
-Charlie will always be Charlie. Whether it’s tiger blood or Adonis DNA, it’s his to keep. Sheen is to parties what Hugh Hefner is to sex-no matter how old, he’ll always be partaking.
Sheen will undoubtedly sell out the remainder of his tour dates-both for his popularity and for the train-wreck appeal his ill-advised touring brings. One thing is for certain-it’s show like none other, more circus than The Greatest Show on Earth.