Chicago — Charlie Sheen took his road show to Chicago on Sunday night and urged the audience not to be like the one in Detroit, where the actor was heckled, booed and eventually abandoned by the crowd.
People lined up outside the historic 3,600-seat Chicago Theatre before the show said they had low expectations after what they heard and read about Sheen’s performance Saturday night.
“We figured we’d try it out and see what happens, and if it’s bad, we’ll leave,” said Katie Iglehart, 23, of Chicago, who was attending the show with a friend.
Sheen’s Chicago performance started out with a standing ovation and chants from the crowd of “Detroit sucks.” Audience members were cheering and whistling early on during the performance as Sheen sat on stage answering questions from a master of ceremonies.
In an obscenity-laced statement Sheen urged the crowd “not to become (expletive) Detroit tonight. Let’s show Detroit how it’s (expletive) done.”
The Chicago performance was the second show of Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option” tour. It was sold out shortly after tickets went on sale last month.
The 20-city variety show tour started in Detroit with thunderous applause, but ended 70 minutes later. In between, Sheen tried to appease his audience with rants, a rapper and a question and answer session, ultimately concluding the first show was “an experiment.”
The debacle called into question the fate of the nascent tour. Some fans predicted a premature end for the month-long trek.
“No way” the show makes it through all the dates, said Bob Orlowski, a lawyer from Plymouth, Michigan, who watched with six clients in a suite.
“He’s not suited for this,” said Orlowski, 46. “It wasn’t funny.”
Sheen’s publicist, Larry Solters, declined to comment. Sheen, 45, reappeared after the house lights went up to thank the hundreds who remained.
It wasn’t clear when the former “Two and a Half Men” star lost the audience, but there were many awkward moments.
Sheen, known for his wild partying and rampant drug use, said he thought Detroit would be a good place to tell some stories about crack cocaine. The remark prompted loud, immediate boos.
At another point, Sheen showed a short film he wrote, directed and produced years ago called “RPG.” He sat in the front row to watch the flick, which starred a much younger Johnny Depp. Again, more boos.
But the show actually started off with a bang.
After a video montage of movie clips — Sheen in “Wall Street” and “Platoon” set to a guitar solo from Sheen friend Rob Patterson — the star emerged to raucous applause and a standing ovation.
The cheering increased as the women he calls his “goddesses” took the stage.
The two women, a former porn star and an actress who live with him, carried placards with the words “War” and “Lock,” a reference to Sheen’s recent description of himself.
When the goddesses locked lips in front of him, Sheen smirked. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
“I don’t see a single empty seat,” he said.
That quickly changed.
As the showed bogged down, an audience member booed, prompting Sheen to reply, “I’ve already got your money, dude.”
Things only got worse.
Sheen has made headlines in recent years as much for his drug use, failed marriages, custody disputes and run-ins with the police, as for his acting. Martin Sheen has compared his son’s struggle with addiction to a cancer patient’s struggle for survival.
In August, the wayward star pleaded guilty in Aspen, Col., to misdemeanour third-degree assault after a Christmas Day altercation with his third wife, Brooke Mueller. The couple have since finalized their divorce.
Sheen’s behaviour, which included lashing out at “Two and a Half Men” producer Chuck Lorre, finally became too much for Warner Bros. Television, which fired him March 7.
Sheen fired back with a $100-million lawsuit and all-out media assault in which he informed the world about his standing as a “rock star from Mars” with “Adonis DNA.”