Two performances into Charlie Sheen’s “Violent Torpedo of Truth” tour, we can officially stop comparing Sheen’s live show to Conan O’Brien’s “Legally Prohibited From Being on TV” tour. While O’Brien acquitted himself as a tireless performer, Sheen bombed in his Detroit debut, overestimating his audience’s patience for bad comedy and pre-taped videos. To catch the full depth of the debacle,you should read Inside TV’s timeline of the show. Here are some lowlights:
8:13 — The show is supposed to start at 8 p.m. A geeky comedian who is decisively not Charlie Sheen comes onstage and begins a set. There is some booing from the audience, followed by chanting: “Charlie! Charlie!”
8:17 — The comedian starts a joke: “I found out exactly how I’m going to die–” Someone in the audience yells, “Yeah, onstage!”
8:19 — Here is just a sample of this painful opening act: “Shouldn’t they call the defibrillator a difibra-now?” Sheen himself comes out to defend the comic, telling the audience to give him a chance.
“Give him a chance, you guys. He’s got a hilarious bit about airline food!”
9:00 — Two goddesses are now making out onstage. And finally, Charlie Sheen returns. He holds up a sports shirt of the style that’s worn by his Two and a Half Men character and puts it on. The audience gamely boos. The Two and a Half Men theme song plays and is intercut with a scene from a classic film of a man screaming “Turn it off!” Then, Sheen grabs a Detroit Tigers shirt instead. The crowd roars and gives him a standing ovation. Regarding the Men shirt, Sheen says, “Take that out and burn it.” On video, the girls burn the shirt backstage.
9:07 — Sheen steps behind a presidential-style podium that proclaims “Warlock States of Sheen.” Guitarist Robert Pattinson is playing onstage. Sheen begins a lengthy speech in his newfound Malibu Messiah semi-coherent metaphor-stuffed neo-Hunter S. Thompson style, talking about his “napalm dripping brain.” “I’m here to solve a portion of this grand mystery,” he says.
That grand mystery: how someone named “Robert Pattinson” hasn’t changed his name to something less Twilight-y. (“Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.”)
9:10 — Sheen’s promises are largely incomprehensible, though at least seem intentionally so: “Freedom from monkey eyed…sweat-eating whores. Freedom from the dour and sour taste of malignant reproach… I’m a giant and leaky bag of mayhem.”
Well, at least we can agree that he’s a giant ‘bag.
9:20 — People start booing Sheen. Not playing around, but actually booing him. Sheen yells, “I already got your money, dude!”
9:23 — We are watching video of Charlie Sheen playing Call of Duty.
9:40 — Sheen says he’s going to “Tell some stories about crack. I figured Detroit was a good place to tell some crack stories.” This comment, not surprisingly, does not go over well. “Show of hands who here has tried crack?” Very few people raise their hand. “I don’t do crack anymore, but this is a good f—ing night to do some crack.” The audience boos.
10:03 — The show is now an unmitigated disaster. There’s a fairly steady stream of people leaving early. Attendee Chris Acchione, a self-described Sheen fan who traveled all the way from Toronto for the show, says his entire mezzanine row walked out.
There are just so many absolutely shocking things about this story. Who could have possibly expected that the drug-fueled egomaniac wouldn’t have prepared a tight live show? Or that a paying audience of “Two and a Half Men” fans would be impatient with free-form babble?
In all fairness to Sheen — not that he deserves it — last night’s show in Chicago reportedly went much better:
Sheen took the stage at the Chicago Theatre on Sunday night with a show that featured fewer video clips than his debut and had the actor telling anecdotes from his life… Plus, Sheen ditched the comedian stand-up act and added a Q&A segment with an interviewer.
Despite the fixes, Sheen blamed reaction to the Detroit show not on himself, but on the opening night audience. Sheen reportedly urged the audience “not to become (expletive) Detroit tonight. Let’s show Detroit how it’s (expletive) done.” Some audience members chanted “Detroit sucks.”
According to TMZ, Sheen told stories about smoking weed with Chris Penn and said he would return to Two and a Half Men, but called the folks who run the show “blood suckers.” During a Q&A segment, Sheen was asked why he pays for sex and replied “because I had millions to blow; I ran out of things to buy.”
This may seem like a small nit to pick with a guy who’s go much bigger problems with his job and drugs and abusing women, but, y’know… you don’t have to spend all your money. You can, like, invest it and give it to your children. Or — and this is gonna blow your mind — you can give it to charitable causes. Charlie Sheen could have donated millions and millions of dollars to cancer research and veterans organizations and scientists trying to save the rain forest and STILL had more than enough for hookers. But he didn’t. Because he’s an asshole. But you probably already knew that.