Charlie Sheen, arguably the most media-saturated celebrity since he was booted from CBS’s “Two and a Half Men,” managed to keep his rabid, rowdy fans mostly in check at the Fabulous Fox Theatre Thursday night.
If anything, the crowd, which filled more than three quarters of the theater, practically superseded the actor. For much of the first hour, hecklers dominated the proceedings, yelling his various catchphrases at him (”Winning!” “Warlock!” “Tiger Blood!”) no matter what he did. Two women, cited as Pink Pony strip club performers, locked lips in the front row, much to Sheen’s amusement.
This was the 14th show Sheen has done in the past three weeks, a journey which included at least two early performances that resulted in a cascade of catcalls and early departures.
He has since refined the show, adding comic and roasting expert Jeffrey Ross to guarantee laughs, a Q & A portion and just one opening video. Sheen himself admits he’s no stand-up comic. He doesn’t dance. He doesn’t sing. He doesn’t do Shakespeare soliloquies.
But he’s able to laugh at his own faults, cracking not so wise about his drug issues, his predilection for porn stars and his clashes with his former bosses at CBS (though he is no longer insulting “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre by name). And yes, despite the mess he created, he repeated again that he wants his job back.
At the top of the show, he himself used what he called a “baseball analogy” on how he had done so far. “I’m 11 and 2,” he said. “Let’s push it to 12 and 2 tonight!”
He came on stage wearing an Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan jersey.
“There may not be a season,” he said, citing the NFL lockout. “A divide between corporate mentality and the talent! I can [bleepin'] relate to that.”
In the afternoon, Sheen had visited the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets baseball team and hit some balls with them. The baseball field, he said, is “my cathedral… a place that let’s me know there is still goodness in the world and everything will be alright.”
But when he shed the Falcons jersey and revealed a Yellow Jackets T-shirt, University of Georgia fans smothered him with boos. He became confused, unaware of the rivalry. “Is that a chant or a boo?” he asked.
He came up with an idea. A Georgia Tech fraternity brother had stuffed a T-shirt into his car earlier so he stripped off the Yellow Jackets shirt and replaced it with a pink one embossed with the phrase, “Sorry for Partying,” which he wore the rest of the night.
Then it was time for a cigarette. Sure, the Fox Theatre does not allow smoking inside the theater but he didn’t care. A fan in the front row handed him one. “Is this [bleepin'] laced?” he asked. Pause. “Something for my custody battle,” he added. “Thanks, dude.”
He then invited Larry Wachs and “Southside” Steve Rickman from the Regular Guys morning show on Rock 100.5 to ask him questions on stage. They asked if he still thought he could get his kids back. “Defeat is not an option,” Sheen said, using one of his catchphrases.”I’m going to stay patient… I know that my children will wind up back with the parent that will care for them the best.”
Things started getting ugly fast. “Boring!” someone yelled from the crowd. “Get the DJs off the stage!” Within 10 minutes, with the audience getting restless, Sheen stood up.”Hold on a second! Everybody! Hold on! We’re all here for the same reason.”
“Yah!” a heckler said. “To hear you!”
“We’re here for the warlock,” someone else yelped.
“It seemed like everything was going fine for awhile,” Sheen said. “Then what happened? Do you guys just want to hear me talk?”
Everyone cheered. Then Ross, the comedian, came on stage. He began roasting Sheen and Wachs and Rickman left the stage.
He mocked Sheen’s lack of experience on a live stage and his past problems. Here’s a sampling of some of the cleaner jokes.
“Two and a half men are the number of people who will be left when the show is over,” he said.
“Let’s face it,” he add. “Charlie Sheen is to stand up to what Larry Flynt is to standing up.”
He said Sheen kept asking where “The Museum of Coke” was.
“His nostrils are so snotty and full of coke, he calls them the Hilton sisters.”
“Mubarak has a better shot at getting his job back.”
“Charlie, you look awful. I got to admit. Your eyes have more bags than your kids when they were forced to move out of your house.”
Ross in effect saved the show.
He asked audience members to come on stage. Most were downright bizarre. One guy said he wanted Sheen to sign a T-shirt to sell. A woman asked him to “motorboat” her breasts. He obliged. Later, a man bum-rushed the stage before being dragged off the stage.
At the end, he made an impassioned defense of his actions, without getting too specific. “It’s up to them to get over their egos and emotions,” he said, citing his former (and possibly future) bosses. “It’s up to them to maybe take a look at giving the people what they want. It’s up to them to stop blaming me for being awesome.”
Tyler Sims, a 23-year-old law student who purchased 11th row seats for $24 Thursday off Stubhub (as I did), said he isn’t even a big Sheen fan but decided at that price, it was worth checking out. “It was funny,” he said. “It was very chaotic. I didn’t know what to expect.”
“The show was everything we hoped it would be,” said Mike O’Boyle, from Greenville, S.C., who was in the fifth row. “Charlie is the alpha male and we are all wanting to be like him,” he said. He wasn’t a fan of the hecklers: “The hecklers were out of line and should have been escorted out.” His thoughts on Ross: “He brought the show up another notch. Charlie is a great entertainer, not a comic. He needed help.”
He thought the Regular Guys “didn’t understand the crowd. They didn’t fit in.”
Dave FM producer Fat Kid wasn’t quite so kind about the show. “It was a mess,” he said, “an absolute mess.” At the same time, “It was a spectacle. I’ll enjoy having the ticket stub. I will be able to tell people I saw that trainwreck. It was as awful as everybody said it would be.”
Many of the people who came to the show didn’t even pay for tickets. Apparently, comps were handed out like candy to help fill up the theater.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog