Chicago crowd gives Charlie Sheen standing ovation
BY MiKE THOMAS AND SARAH OSTMAN Staff Reporters April 4, 2011 12:50AM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Only a night after his debacle in Detroit — where patrons booed and walked out of a haphazard production (which included a shot about Detroit being “a good place to tell some crack stories”) — Charlie Sheen’s “Torpedo of Truth” tour landed in Chicago.
During Sunday night’s performance at the Chicago Theatre, the second leg of an expansive 20-city extravaganza that might or might not go the distance, the most infamous warlock in Hollywood once again held forth in a cavernous hall that made his grandiloquent ramblings seem small. He called his appearance “the most epic night in Chicago f------ history.”
It wasn’t that by a long shot, but neither was it the crash-and-burn failure many were no doubt expecting.
Programs that contained mainly large Sheen photos and some of his golden quotes went for $20, and “train wrecks” (vodka, Red Bull and cranberry juice) sold for $9.
Unlike in Detroit, an opening act was nixed. Dressed in sweatpants and a bright blue T-shirt, which he ultimately replaced with a topless male audience member’s billowing green one — Sheen took the stage at 8:15 p.m. to a standing ovation and chants of “Detroit sucks!”
Almost under his breath, the actor responded, “No, they don’t,” before launching into his ice-breaker. “I wrote you a letter,” Sheen said. “Dear f------ awesome Chicago. I am a veteran of a disturbing odyssey that had me question the very nature of my soul . . . I am speaking, of course, about last night in Detroit.”
The show changed considerably in just a day, this time merely featuring the “Two and a Half Men” star being questioned by an interviewer about various hot-button issues: his marriages, how he met his two live-in girlfriends “the goddesses,” drugs.
Despite billing the show as a “Torpedo of Truth,” however, Sheen was hesitant to answer some of the questions.
“I don’t know if we can get into that. There’s legal s--- surrounding that,” he said when asked about his 2009 domestic violence arrest in Aspen.
He was less hesitant to talk about his soon-to-be-ex-wife Brooke Mueller, to whom he referred as “the under-cover-of-darkness kidnapper.”
“I got those f------ kids back, didn’t I?” he added.
Sheen, who smoked onstage, occasionally became confrontational with the audience. When the crowd began to get verbally rowdy, which happened often, he said, “Let’s not become f------ Detroit tonight. Let’s show Detroit how it’s f------ done.”
A huge video screen projected an image of Sheen and his interviewer on stage while Rob Patterson, guitarist for the band Filter, played sporadic riffs shrouded in semi-darkness behind the two — adding little or nothing in the way of entertainment value.
After a roughly 10-minute intermission Sheen and his interrogator re-emerged to swap more Qs and As. Sheen talked about growing up in bucolic Malibu with his famous father, actor Martin Sheen. He spoke of smoking pot at a young age and making the Oliver Stone Vietnam film “Platoon.” “It was radical,” Sheen said of the Oscar-winning movie’s effect on his life. “I went from being just a dude to being a commodity.”
Predictably, he went on a brief tear about the makers of his former CBS sitcom, “Two and a Half Men,” whom he has bashed publicly for weeks.
When Sheen’s questioner asked who in the audience thought Sheen was “drug-addled and crazy,” a cheer went up. Those who thought Sheen was “rational and smart” cheered louder.
The end came around 10 p.m., and watchers appeared satisfied if not exactly enthusiastic. Following tepid applause and a scattered standing ovation, lots of patrons wasted no time filing out. A number of them stuck around as Sheen lingered onstage handing out T-shirts to folks in the crowd. As Bruce Springsteen’s anthem “Born to Run” blasted over loudspeakers, a massive curtain closed and Sheen disappeared from view.