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Charlie Sheen: Torpedoes Tour Does Better in Chicago Than Detroit

TVs highest paid actor takes his show to various cities

Charlie Sheen live on stage
Associated Press

After Charlie Sheen went nutso, got fired from his show, filed a lawsuit, did interviews…he decided the best thing to do for a little cash was go on a tour. Now, tours are usually done by musicians or comedians, but hey – he wants to cash in on his fame and figured people would pay to see him. He was right about that.

Sheen announced a 20 city tour and the tickets that went on sale sold out quickly. He called it “My Violent Torpedo at Truth/Defeat is Not an Option” tour (A lot longer and less clever title than Conan O’Brien’s “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television” tour. The difference is, Conan was funny. Sheen was not.

His first stop was in Detroit. The Motor City wasn’t too kind to the warlocked motormouth, who was booed. Never a good comeback when you say to heckler’s “I already have your money.” The highest paid actor in TV certainly wouldn’t garner sympathy from the rest of the crowd with statements like that. Especially a city that had the auto industry hit so hard by the economy.

Sheen was about to find out how tough it is on a live stage, without those helpful laugh tracks.

Over 4,500 turned out at the Fox Theatre downtown, and many wondered why it was Detroit where he started the tour off. That might work for Michael Moore, or an established act.

Things got off to a rocky start when the opening comedian was booed. Even Sheen going out to try to help him didn’t work.

I think instead of having a comedian open the show, why not have another disillusioned TV star? I see Danny Bonaduce on every talk show he can get on. And he’s actually funny when he tells stories.

When Sheen finally came out, he talked of it all being one big experiment and he had his usually ramblings about the network that fired him, being a warlock with tigers blood, and the stuff we’ve all seen on his various TV interviews ad nauseum at this point.

When someone in the audience yelled out for him to tell a story about the porn stars, he stayed mum. A weird choice of topic to not tackle, when that’s probably the one thing people would rather her Sheen talk about. They don’t care about the behind the scenes fight with suits at a network, but want to hear about wild and crazy parties.

While this show in Detroit bombed, Sheen should do is what the two cast members of Reno 911 did when they toured. Cedric Yarbrough and Carlos Alazraqui have come to San Diego twice doing comedy and skits. Their show was a mixed bag, but the thing that worked best – and was also employed by Jeff Garlin when he did stand-up at La Jolla a few months back – was taking questions from the audience. This lets the audience feel involved. They’re asking questions that are probably on other peoples minds. And most celebrities with half a brain can make a story funny. Even if the celebrity has a brain that’s fried from drugs and alcohol, people are probably going to laugh if Sheen tells a story about Jon Cryer we don’t know.

Well, Sheen regrouped and sort of did that on his next show which was Sunday night in Chicago. He dropped the rapper from the previous show, as well as the bizarre monologue. Sheen also dropped the video segments, which many of the crowd told local news programs they hated. Instead of taking questions from the audience (I’m guessing even Sheen was smart enough to know how quickly that could go downhill), there was an MC that did the Q&A.

It probably helped that Sheen was greeted with a standing ovation. He then did that move where he cursed and screamed about how bad the audience was in Detroit, and how he wanted this audience to “show them how it was done.” There was a capacity at Chicago Theatre of more than 3,500 (about a thousand less than the previous show), and nobody walked out on this performance.

Sheen enjoyed the occasional cigarette as he answered questions about his career, porn stars, and even his marriages. When the host asked how many times he’s been married, he replied “Seven thousand. That’s why I’m broke.” Those are jokes the audience liked, but won’t play well if he uses them again.

To keep people from walking out, and add an interesting aspect to the show, Sheen should’ve had numbers handed out. He could’ve randomly picked five of the numbers, and those folks come on stage. They would have the option of pulling out the cell phone and taking a photo with Sheen, or having Sheen leave an outgoing message on their phone. Obviously, he would have a few he or a comedian already wrote, in which he could easily slip in the winners name.

Or, taking a page from comedic legend Sam Kinison when I saw him perform at SDSU in the ‘90s – offer to call the persons ex-girlfriend or boss. The person of their choosing would get chewed out by Charlie Sheen. He’s the type of guy who, perhaps isn’t the smartest around, but can still probably improvise a few lines and be creative in this type of environment with fans.

Sheen did do one smart thing in these shows. He had merchandise to sell. And with phrases like “winning” still being uttered, the hats and shirts with that word (even selling for $30), were selling out. There were more risqué Tees, with phrases like “F***ing Brilliant.” And “I’m on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen.”

When I saw Kenny Loggins in town recently, he sold underwear with the word “Danger Zone” (his hit song from Top Gun). Sheen had panties for sale that said “Goddess” on them.

The fans left the second show Sunday night happy, and even gave him a standing ovation. The rest of the April dates include Cleveland on Tuesday, followed by Columbus, Ohio as well as New York, Wallingford, Conn., and Boston.

And if money is burning a hole through your pocket – pay an extra $750 for the “meet and greet” package. Winning?