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About (Late) Last Night: Robert Downey Jr. has a reluctant tip for Charlie Sheen [video]

November 2, 2010 |  6:39 am

"Don't get arrested." That's all the advice Robert Downey Jr. had for the troubled Charlie Sheen on the "Late Show" Monday night, pushed by host David Letterman to chime in on Sheen's recent drug-fueled antics and problems with. Downey spent much of early adulthood in and out of jail and rehab facilities, battling substance-abuse problems and that pesky bad-boy gene. Letterman wasn't going to let the connection go unmentioned.

"Do you know Charlie Sheen?" Letterman asked. "You guys are contemporaries, aren't you?" The audience laughed a "we get it" laugh. "I have a feeling you guys all kind of grew up together, in the same part of L.A. Am I right about that?"

"We didn't really hang out," Downey said. "It sounds like we could've really partied."

Letterman played to Downey's vanity in an attempt to get him to open up, calling the now-clean actor "the shining example of how one can turn one's life around and succeed as deserved." Downey demurred. "He's a grown man," he said. "What am I gonna say?" The side of Downey's mouth kept curling into a brief grimace. He shook his head, but it looked more like a twitch.

Letterman insisted -- "Look at me!" he urged the actor to say -- and finally, Downey caved.

"Here's the problem," he explained. "I start believing my own hype, and then I start thinking people need to listen to what I say and next thing you know my wife is miserable and the director goes, 'He's crazy. What is wrong with this guy?' And as far as whatever example I can say to anybody else, I think the best thing I can do is just keep the plug in the jug myself and stay out of trouble." He raised his eyebrows again -- another quick twitch. Happy now?

-- Joe Coscarelli