Why Sheen's Atlantic City show at the Taj Mahal may have changed the course of his 'Violent Torpedos of Truth' tour.
ATLANTIC CITY — Charlie Sheen may have started a new winning streak for his "My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option Tour," which hit the midway mark for a near-capacity crowd at the arena inside the Trump Taj Mahal Saturday night, April 16, in the gambling resort.
The Atlantic City stop was full of surprises, including a guest spot by comedian and celebrity roaster Jeffrey Ross, who treated the crowd to an unscheduled, and pretty harsh live roast of Sheen.
Ross gave an entirely new dimension to Sheen's half-baked show, which kicked off April 2 to a horrific response in Detroit and winds up May 3 in Washington state.
Ross helped keep the crowd on Sheen's side (by initially doing an impromptu roast of him before expressing his admiration for Sheen as an actor in films like Wall Street and Platoon) and keeping them in their seats — or at least inside the arena.
Some fans rushed to get on stage when the former star of the highly rated CBS sitcom Two and Half Men asked, towards the end of the nearly one-and-a-half hour show, if anyone in the audience had a question for him.
"And no more 'Can I have a hug?'" questions, Sheen, 46, requested.
Ross, who remained on stage for most of the show after appearing as a surprise guest (the Taj Mahal team didn't even know Ross was going to be a part of the show until about 10 minutes before the show started, said one source close to the production of the show), may have saved the Atlantic City show (and the tour and Sheen's career) as before the comedy central fixture appeared, about a third of the way into the show, Sheen's tour stop seemed like it could have easily ended up as badly as some of the others reportedly have, such as the publicized shows in Detroit and Toronto — with fans heckling the Hollywood gossip poster boy before walking out of the approximately 50-minute show.
Things changed in Atlantic City, though, and you could feel it in the air of the Mark Etess Arena on this rainy Saturday night. As a scientist might say, there was a paradigm shift.
"You guys love me, right?" Sheen asked the crowd, which roared back a big affirmative early in the show. Pacing back and forth on the stage, which was set up with two lounge chairs, a table with several bottles of tiger blood on it, and Sheen's tour guitarist "Rob," Sheen delved into expected topics, including crack cocaine, tiger blood, winning, Adonis DNA, his two girlfriends — one of who, Natalie, appeared on stage at one point and tossed gifts from the stage.
The crowd was obviously there to see Sheen, whether or not they were die-hard fans, curious spectators or voyeurs who like seeing train wrecks up close. They didn't hoot, heckle and howl at Sheen nearly as much as has been previously reported as happening in other cities. Further, the point of the show, which is something many critics and comedians and writers have questioned in recent days and weeks, became a little more clear in Atlantic City.
Sheen, like protesters around the world over the past several months, was rebelling against the status quo.
Wearing a baseball hat spun backward, a Shane Victorino "No. 8" Phillies Jersey that Sheen had acquired at the beginning of the show by trade with a fan for his "Duh, Winning" T-shirt, and smoking cigarette after cigarette, Sheen started off by telling the audience about how the tour had been going so far.
In his estimation, he had a record of 8-2 on the tour so far, two being the number of his shows that completely bombed.
The baseball theme would pop up several times during the show, including why he is such a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, how he once bought 39,000 tickets at an Angels baseball game so he could pitch, and a few allusions to his role as prisoner-turned pitcher Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the 1989 cult classic Major League and its 1994 follow-up, Major League II.
"What are the smoking laws in here?" Sheen asked while lighting his first smoke of the night. "I mean I know I can, but are you allowed to?"
After learning from the audience that smoking was prohibited in the arena, Sheen was soon encouraging the crowd to light up anyway, and some did before security inside the arena went around asking audience members to put out their cigarettes.
While smoking that first cigarette, he talked about a recent show in Toronto, Canada, where he says he was told that he'd be charged "like $300,000 a cigarette" for violating the venue's no-smoking laws.
"That's like $6 million a pack," he jested, adding: "How smart would that be? Quit my job ...."
Sheen, as in his online rants and TMZ interviews in recent months, seemed confident, believing in earnest that he is on the right side of the feud between his former employer CBS, who, after eight years, recently fired Sheen from its prime-time hit Two And A Half Men, and him.
Along with baseball, rebellion was another main theme of the show, which was dubbed the "Charlie Sheen Circus" by Ross.
A natural-born clown, Sheen amused the crowd with inside stories about his day-to-day life, mostly about rebelling against conventional norms, his former boss, and not standing "the bullshit" any longer. He was lucid throughout the show, standing by his statements that he is currently sober, and seemed less deranged than the media had had him pegged, and as his own self-made videos over the past couple months would have any viewer think.
Along with the added feature of Ross on stage with Sheen for most of the show, the crowd also played a big part throughout the evening, Sheen's longest show yet on his current, quickly scheduled and unprecedented tour.
One of the first few fans to directly interact with Sheen was a woman who ran up to the front of the stage offering to take her pants off if Sheen would.
Sheen passed after a few moments and the woman went back to her seat. But the multiple cameras inside the arena — one, a hand-held on stage — zoomed in on audience members during the show, some the butt of a brutal insult by either Sheen or Ross, so that the crowd could watch their respective reactions on a large video screen facing the crowd.
Rob Patterson, the electric guitar player who, during his roast of Sheen, Ross called "Ryan Seacrest's retarded brother," stood on the side of the stage for the entire show, playing short riffs to augment jokes or fill awkward moments.
After playing the chords of "Smoke on the Water" while Sheen was lighting up, he played the unmistakable chords of "Wild Thing," the nickname of Sheen's Major League character.
"We're talking about Major League III," Sheen advised the crowd, after a fan yelled "Wild Thing."
"I mean I already agreed to do it, but I never read the script. But ..."
Then suddenly, after about 20 minutes, there were jeers and some booing coming from the crowd.
But it was not directed at Sheen. It was directed at a guy from the audience who approached the stage, demanding a refund. Sheen quickly tossed him several bills and as the guy walked out he said to him: "And I gave you $20 more than what you spent, dude" Sheen exclaimed. "Here you go, so get the fuck out of here, dude. You got all this for free."
Sheen was exercising his human right to stop and say, "I'm fed up with the way things in my life are going and I'm not going to take it anymore."
With regard to his well publicized beef with CBS, which fired Sheen from its long-running prime-time sitcom, Two And A Half Men, earlier this year, Sheen explained that he felt like he was the victim over the eight years he'd been a part of the show.
"I said I can no longer do that anymore like every thing's fucking cool," he said early on.
"I think that is why everyone responded to this movement," he said of his recent Winning Warlock phase, which began after he appeared to have gone off the deep end during several rather frightening interviews with TMZ and eventually live streams of him talking about "winning" which led to him getting fired from him his long-standing TV gig.
"Who here has ever wanted to tell your boss to fuck off?" Sheen mutters. "Who here has told their boss to fuck off?" The crowd roars. "What happened?" Sheen laughs before veering into a tirade on his former employer, which ended with him essentially saying that he does want to rejoin the cast of Two And A Half Men.
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'He called me the night before and said there was a 6am flight to Philly and I could make it to A.C.,' says Ross. 'And I said I need to know that I can say whatever I want. [Sheen said 'OK'] and that’s what I did. And I got on the plane from L.A. and I wrote jokes all night. It was pretty crazy; it was an adventure. '
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