Sunday, April 03, 2011

Being a Sober Person at Charlie Sheen's Party

Beyond profits, there's a reason comedy clubs tend to ply the audience with alcohol. A performer is much more likely to be deemed funny if he's the most sober person in the room. Similarly, if you go to a party that is centered around drugs or alcohol and where everybody else is drunk, stoned or both, you're unlikely to have much fun as the only sober person in the room. I don't want to suggest that Charlie Sheen was intoxicated during his performance in Detroit - he seems to be able to pull himself together for work - but really, by all appearances he's an out-of-control addict. You want to see the consequent displays of grandiosity and belligerence? Fine, but as his Detroit audience found out you may instead find that you paid a good chunk of change to see his on-stage decompensation.
WRIF-FM (101.1) host Drew Lane said if the tour continues like this, Sheen's career will be in jeopardy.
No kidding? ("Will be"?)

Another review:
The energy picked up when the actor and his two "goddesses," miniskirt-clad, live-in girlfriends Natalie Kenly and Rachel Oberlin (aka Bree Olson) strolled out to a standing ovation.

This was the charming, elegantly wasted, fast-talking Charlie we wanted to see. He had the goddesses burn his "Two and a Half Men" shirt, and he donned a Tigers jersey (with "Warlock 99" imprinted on the back), to great cheers. Alas, the good time didn't last long.
Wow. Another huge surprise.
During the times Sheen had to speak and hold the audience's attention, things really fell apart. He was the reason the audience was there, they wanted to see their gruff, charming bad boy, the folk hero who never said "sorry," who told his boss to take his cushy job and shove it. Sure, over the years he never grew out of the Beverly Hills, rich brat persona but there was a self-deprecating charm underneath the caustic humor. Wasn't there?
Not that I am ordinarily inclined to answer rhetorical questions, but my guess is that a lot of the charm you see when Sheen is acting comes from his script. I have not followed Sheen's off-screen life at all, save for recent events that have led much of the mainstream media to deem his public self-immolation to be newsworthy, so I'm not the right person to ask. If you have followed him please tell me: in his decades of fame is there an off-screen statement or event I should look at that would indicate that any self-deprecating element to his narcissistic "charm" is anything but superficial, largely if not entirely scripted? Even one? (Public drunkenness, check; domestic violence, check; public displays of charm....)
With a team of writers and some time, Sheen could have pulled together something workable. But the "Violent Torpedo of Truth" show appeared to be thrown together and vetted by a close circle of friends who probably think Sheen is the funniest, most brilliant man alive. In that circle, he probably is.
Here's the thing. When you're a filthy-rich, self-indulgent, out-of-control drug addict, you don't have much room in your life for "Johnny Buzzkill". Sure, you need somebody to get you up in time for work and clean up after your messes, but they're background figures. Front and center, you have your enablers and hangers-on. Sheen didn't need more time to produce a decent show. He needed to involve somebody with the show who was willing to introduce him to some reality. Which wasn't going to happen. You can be pretty confident that, right now, he's being reassured that everything is okay with him and that it wasn't his fault that he had such a lousy audience.

1 comment:

  1. I don’t know what people were expecting from him. He’s an actor, not a comedian. Unless he’s going to come up there and does a scripted one man show, what use is there in seeing him? They paid to watch him ramble when they could get that on the internet or TV so it’s on them.

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