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Posted by on Apr 3, 2011 in Arts & Entertainment | 0 comments

Charlie Sheen’s Stage Show Big B.O. : Two and a Half H Bombs (Or MORE)

If initial reactions to his stage show are any indication, Charlie Sheen needs to redo his t-shirt to say: “Losing! DUH!”

Variety sometimes uses the term “Big B.O.” for “big box office.” The other meaning of “B.O.” involves a smell.

And reactions to Sheen’s show strongly suggest that in this case “B.O.” doesn’t refer to “box office.”

Initial press reports and videos suggest, in fact, that if Barack Obama and NATO want Libya’s Gadaffi to surrender they should drop Charlie Sheen doing his show on government strongholds.

Libya would surrender within an hour — and Amnesty International would probably charge Obama and NATO with inhuman war crimes.

For instance, just look at this video from CNN showing reaction to Sheen’s show from the people who shelled out a LOT of money to see him live: people literally giving thumbs down as they leave the theater calling it “a total waste of money…Worst show EVER!…I want my money back! Terrible!”

The Detroit Free Press:

Charlie Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option” tour opened in Detroit on Saturday night with a boom. By the time he stepped off the stage a little after 10 p.m., it was an official bomb.

Wearing a Detroit Tigers jersey with “Warlock” emblazoned on the back, Sheen delivered a monologue, played videos, sat in the front row and talked loosely with the audience. But it didn’t result in much of his famed catchphrase: “winning.”

In front of a rowdy, often-dissatisfied sold-out Fox Theatre audience of 4,700 people, the embattled sitcom actor ranted and raved about anything and everything.

Trust me, “this is going somewhere,” Sheen said as the crowd pondered his self-declared “radical” opening monologue. The 20-minute speech included many of his catchphrases, along with sayings like, “one giant heartbeat and one conscious thought.”

But about 30 minutes into the show, the usual Sheen-isms started to sound old and tired. From the men’s restroom to the expensive seats in front, it was a restless crowd, delivering plenty of jeers and only a few cheers.

The show had video montages throughout, including a “20/20” outtake reel that showed off his self-deprecating sense of humor. His so-called goddesses helped him burn a “Two and a Half Men” bowling shirt. Before it was all over, he asked the crowd if the goddesses should come out again. And then he asked them: How many goddesses do you have?

The show was a reminder that the pop culture phenomenon is serious about his beliefs, but most of the crowd wasn’t entertained by the loose and disorganized attempt.

Entertainment Weekly has an actual timeline of the “disaster,” as it calls it. Here’s how it begins:

First the U.S. automaker recession, and now this. Charlie Sheen unleashed his Violent Torpedo of Truth Tour on the Motor City on Saturday night before a crowd that greeted the actor with an adoring standing ovation and concluded with booing and walk-outs. The padded and disjointed show was a hodgepodge of video clips and Sheen-isms that felt hastily assembled and misjudged the patience of even the hardest of hardcore fans.

And here on the timeline is the turning point:

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.”
9:13 – Sheen: “They took my awesome children… They took my sometimes bitchin’ job… And when they thought there was nothing left, they tried to take my heart and brain and titanium spine. But they could not.” Audience growing restless. This show is all pump-up, no narrative.
9:15 — OK, nobody understands a word Sheen is saying. “”Is anybody else as confused by this s— as I am?” he finally asks. There are roars from the crowd. “I wrote every word!” Later, a cab driver tells me that it’s about this time that angry fans began walking out of the theatre.
9:18 – “Nothing terrifies a troll more than its own reflection,” Sheen continues, before shifting gears into politics. “In a recent poll, they told me I’d bring down that whore [Sarah] Palin. I don’t have time for that nonsense.” [Read about the poll he’s referring to here.]
9:20 — People start booing Sheen. Not playing around, but actually booing him. Sheen yells, “I already got your money, dude!”

NOT a smart thing to say: even in jest.

The New York Times:

As it happened, Mr. Sheen and Detroit proved to be a disastrous match. The Fox, a lavishly ornamented, carefully restored 5,000-seat show palace evoking a lost golden age of spectacle, is beautiful, but the scene there was ugly, as a boisterous, liquored-up capacity crowd greeted Mr. Sheen with cheers that quickly turned to boos. The show — a ragged mix of video clips, ear-splitting music, profanity-laced monologues and clumsy attempts to encourage audience participation — did not so much end as collapse. After a little more than an hour Mr. Sheen turned the stage over to a rapper he said would “wake up” the increasingly belligerent spectators, or maybe calm them down. After a Snoop Dogg video, the house lights went up, and though the headliner briefly returned to trade insults with a mostly empty house, the evening clearly had not gone according to plan. If there ever was a plan.

You could say that Mr. Sheen and the audience failed each other. The ticket buyers did not show him the “love and gratitude” to which he felt entitled, and he did not give them the kind of entertainment they thought they had paid for. But you could also say that the performer and the audience deserved each other, and that their mutual contempt was its own kind of bond. The ushers, in their black gold-braided uniforms, retained an air of inscrutable dignity in the midst of an orgy of depthless vulgarity. Everyone else in the room — onstage, backstage, in the $69 orchestra seats — had to swallow a gag-inducing, self-administered dose of shame. And no, the journalists who traveled to Detroit to gawk and philosophize at the spectacle are not exempt from that judgment.

What did Mr. Sheen think he was doing? What did the people who snapped up all those tickets expect? What they got, much to their displeasure, was a warm-up set from Kirk Fox, a tall, skinny stand-up comedian who never really had a chance. The booing started early, and as Mr. Fox struggled through his act he tried, masochistically, to embrace the hostility, trashing his own jokes and praising the crowd for being “unified” in its hatred of him. The people wanted Charlie Sheen.

And, after a long analysis:

The show was no good, and the public protested. But then there is the cultural analysis, which in the end is only slightly more interesting. Mr. Sheen is hardly the first celebrity to mistake morbid, hysterical curiosity for adoration, or to think that he could extend his fame by finding the right alloy of self-mockery, bravado and false populism. His act, such as it was, vacillated between sentimental declarations of solidarity with the audience and reminders of his own superiority. “I have two goddesses,” he said to one heckler. “How many do you have?”

Of course the people in the seats — fans, rubberneckers, critics — were guilty of a complementary hypocrisy. We profess dismay at Mr. Sheen’s long history of drug abuse and violence against women, but we have also enabled and indulged this behavior, and lately encouraged his delusional belief that he could beat the toxic fame machine at its own game. The price of a ticket to one of his shows represents a wager that it is impossible to lose. The audience that walked out of the Fox could feel righteously ripped off and thus morally superior to the man they had paid to see, who seemed to feel the same about them. Win-win!

So now the question is: Will the shows go on? Will career suicide become Mr. Sheen’s new career? Or is he finished? I know I am.

Read it in full.

ABC News:

The box office at the 3,600-seat Chicago Theatre said the show tonight is sold out, but it appeared that there were still tickets available for the show this afternoon on Vividseats.com.

Vividseats.com said tickets for Sheen’s events aren’t selling well, with between 200 and 300 seats still available per show, according to gossip website TMZ.com.

Those seats could remain empty, as critics in attendance at the debut gig are putting him through the ringer, just as the crowd of approximately 4,700 did during the 90-minute performance.

ABC’s TV report on the “epic fail” as they call it:

A Detroit TV News report from the theater while the show was going on and people were walking out. Very angry audience members:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkNgeB99REs
The devastating review of The Hollywood Reporter...a publication read by producers, directors etc. which will not enhance Sheen’s career since they will see that more than ever he is losing his likability:

Call it tiger blood or Adonis DNA if you will. Just don’t call it entertainment.

Kicking off his 20-city tour April 2 in Detroit, Charlie Sheen pulled a stunt that even by his standards was a little extreme. He alternately pandered to and antagonized an estimated audience of 5,000 people at the Fox Theatre in a blatantly cynical attempt to cash in on his craziness. Roughly paraphrased, his excuse for having barely worked out the blueprint for an act was, “Hey, you guys paid for a show when you didn’t know what you were getting!”

What the audience got was egomania gone wild. Grandiosely titled “My Violent Torpedo of Truth: Defeat is Not an Option,” Sheen’s haphazard act was neither standup nor confessional memoir, despite repeated promises that he was going to dig deep and dish secrets. It was closer to a motivational seminar, but one in which the speaker was also the key beneficiary. Early in the evening, before the crowd turned sour, there was a creepy atmosphere that suggested group indoctrination into a cult.

AND:
What Sheen delivered was the overwritten, faux-Biblical preaching of a self-anointed

Messiah, who views himself as the most truthful person in the universe. Maybe, but not this universe. He opened up to audience questions and then deflected most of them as too lame to merit his attention, the chief exception being from a young woman who requested to come up onstage for a hug.

Whether Sheen was thrown off by the steadily increasing hostility in the audience is unclear. But the impression is that beyond the video content that made up more than 50% of his 70 minutes of stage time, there didn’t appear to be much of a plan. The Two and a Half Men debacle was referenced only in one or two indirect swipes. …..

….There’s a certain trainwreck fascination in watching a meltdown in progress, but this anthropological study of the homo loco species wore very thin very fast. And Sheen appears to have known it. As the booing, and the shouts of “Loser” and “You suck” grew more insistent, and the walkouts increased, he said he would take a music break and return when the crowd had woken up…. Afterwards, Sheen did not return (reports that he reappeared on stage after the end are false). House lights came up. No bow. Show’s over. Half the audience sat there looking stunned for a time, watching the road crew clear the stage. On the way out, I overheard someone say, “Dude, that was seriously the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed.

Radar Online:

Somewhere Chuck Lorre is laughing his head off.

People:

Charlie Sheen may have made “winning” the word of the moment through a series of bizarre rants that started in February, but in the eyes of his audience at the first stop on his one man show that will travel across North America, he seemed to be losing.

The people who packed the Fox Theatre in Detroit on Saturday night for Charlie Sheen LIVE: My Violent Torpedo of Truth booed as the actor, who took the stage around 9 p.m., launched into a series of nonsensical rants from behind a podium. (Sheen appeared on stage briefly before his set officially began to quell negative audience reaction to his comedian opening act, though that didn’t stop the early booing.)

In fact, his rants were so nonsensical that even Sheen seemed confused, and he stopped right in the middle of his speech, saying, “Is anybody as confused by this s–– as I am? The good news is, I wrote every [expletive] word.”

US:

Can this tour survive?

As reported late Saturday, Charlie Sheen’s debut performance of his sold out My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option tour in Detroit proved to be an epic fail.

What went wrong? 5,000 pumped-up fans filled up the Fox Theater for the sold-out show, which was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. What followed was a confusing, unscripted, un-rehearsed and very un-funny mess.

SOME THOUGHTS:

  • That is the question: can the tour survive? According to one report, when fans bought the tickets there is a specific reference on the back of it to no refunds: even if Sheen cancels, they are out their money unless he chooses to get it back.
  • This will GREATLY hurt Sheen’s career. As I’ve noted before, an actor or comedy actor relies on the audience being able to a)suspend belief and while it’s watching a show believe the person is the role they play and b)in many instances like the person they see performing. Increasingly, people are concluding he is just a rich, powerful spoiled Hollywood brat.
  • I’ve noted HERE and elsewhere that Sheen is an example of the type of person who has it all but wants more. He correctly concluded by all of his Twitter followers and response that his audience loved him and stuck by him. So now he does a tour with little preparation or CONTENT to offer his loyal audience — and admission is NOT cheap. He is learning that you may have it all and want it all but having it “all” can be elusive: he has not pleased the audience and has further damaged his career.
  • Actors and comedians make this mistake all the time. Because audiences love them in a role they believe that means the audience loves THEM and anything they say or do. But the love comes from playing the role and becoming like a best friend. When audiences conclude they do not LIKE a performer it’s not a career booster. And when audiences conclude they do not RESPECT a performer it can be a career killer. Jerry Lewis’ career wasn’t helped in the 60s when audience concluded that the lovable character on the screen was worlds apart from the rich, pleased-with-himself, somewhat arrogant person they saw in interviews. Michael Richards’ career wasn’t helped by his infamous comedy club set. Mutli-talented James Franco’s image was hurt by his Oscar hosting performance which many considered a non-performance.
  • Sheen’s problem: many people are going conclude now: “AHH! Now I see! I see what Chuck Loree had to contend with!
  • Sheen has disappointed his most hard-core of the hard-core fans. They feel swindled.
  • There is a certain justice to these reviews: Sheen is seeing that no matter how famous you are, if you take money from an audience you can’t just phone it in. DUH!

    SOME OTHER WEBLOG REACTION
    I Own the World:

    What happens when you put a mentally ill person on a stage in front of thousands of morons that had no idea they were buying tickets to a nothing event? You get this..

    Scared Monkeys:

    The reviews of the show were disastrous as seen at Entertainment Weekly. Just a thought, was there ever a doubt that they would not be? Did people who went to see an out of control, drugged on Charlie Sheen drinking Tiger’s Blood actually think that what they were going to witness was going to be good?

    For those who purchased tickets and continue to, consider yourself lemmings and additional confirmation that there really is a sucker born every minute.

    POWIP:

    I guess we can add “The Mad Bomber” to Charlie’s nicknames.

    -Dlisted:

    The moral of the story is, before buying tickets for any show ask yourself first: “Can I see this for free on public transportation at 4 in the morning?” If the answer is “yes,” then put your credit card back between your cleavage and go ride public transportation at 4 in the morning instead.

    And somebody should check on Chuck Lorre, because he’s probably choking on the non-stop laughs out of his mouth..

    Hollywood Backwash:

    I was monitoring the reviews late last night of Charlie Sheen’s first show in Detroit last night…and kids…it wasn’t pretty. It was so bad that I keep expecting to read that the rest of the tour has been canceled. Which I have mixed feelings about because I have tickets for madness when it hits the ATL. On one hand I am dying to see the trainwreck (don’t judge you’ve all been following it too) and on the other hand I don’t want to sit through what has been described as a total waste of time with absolutely no entertainment value at all.