Charlie Sheen roast: Blood and a lot of vicious jokes
Figuratively, plenty of tiger blood was spilled this weekend during Comedy Central's Charlie Sheen roast, which mercilessly skewered the outspoken sitcom star whose high-flying career was derailed thanks to an unprecedented multi-platform public meltdown earlier this year.
But literally, it was "Jackass" blood that flowed during the Saturday night taping as Steve-O broke his nose after deliberately ramming his face into the fist of fellow roaster and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
That a modern-era roast turned into bloodsport only served to highlight the bizarre nature of the evening, something that one roaster termed a "comic intervention." The event drew an enthusiastic and packed house of fans and industry insiders at Sony Studios in Culver City--and perhaps most bizarrely included Sheen's estranged wife, Brooke Mueller.
While escaping bodily harm, Sheen was nevertheless subjected to a comic fusillade of taunts, jeers and personal attacks from a strange mix of roasters that included roast master Seth MacFarlane, William Shatner ("Star Trek"), Kate Walsh ("Private Practice") and comedians of varying stature (Jon Lovitz, Patrice O'Neal, Anthony Jeselnik).
An edited version of the roast will air Sept. 19, the same night as the season premiere of CBS' "Two and a Half Men"--the top-rated comedy from which Sheen was bounced after substance abuse problems, legal run-ins, and a highly publicized fight with his boss, executive producer Chuck Lorre. Ashton Kutcher stepped in for the troubled star, whose character will reportedly be killed off this season.
Introduced to ear-splitting riffs by rock guitarist Slash, Sheen was seated on an elaborate stage equipped with large missiles--an obvious nod to his "violent torpedo of truth" stage tour last spring. Those on the dais wasted no time ripping into Sheen.
"How much blow can Charlie Sheen do? Enough to kill two and a half men," fired off Jon Lovitz.
"Don't you want to live to see your kids take their first 12 steps?" asked Jeffrey Ross, who was dressed as deposed Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi. "How do you roast a meltdown?"
Amy Schumer compared Sheen to Bruce Willis: "You were big in the '80s, and now your old slot is being filled by Ashton Kutcher."
Even Walsh, who has a comedy improv background and said she was there to hone her comic skills, quipped: "Charlie is an amazing medical specimen. I guess that's what comes from waking up at the crack of crack."
And those were some of the more delicate comments in an evening that wallowed in raunchy, brutal humor. Even Mueller, who has battled her own addictions and engaged with high-profile court battles with Sheen over the custody of their young twins, was subjected to withering barbs about her drug use and having sex with Sheen. (She responded with laughter.)
Others who were trashed included Sheen's former co-star Jon Cryer, Sheen's brother Emilio Estevez, his father, Martin Sheen, and his first wife, actress Denise Richards. None were in attendance.
This latest Comedy Central roast resembles in spirit its predecessors, which featured such soft comic targets as Joan Rivers, David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson. The cable channel's roast, which usually attract good ratings for the network, are a far cry from the Dean Martin-hosted televised roasts of the '70s, where a kinder, gentler humor prevailed.
In the Sheen roast, considerations of race, sex and politics were left in the parking lot-- and there were even a few pokes at deceased singer Amy Winehouse and Casey Anthony, who was recently acquitted in the death of her 2-year-old daughter. The roasts, which Comedy Central began producing in 2003, have become one of the cable network's most popular offerings. While vicious in nature, the "roasts" are billed as tributes to the roastee.
After being called a drug addict, an abuser of women, a connoisseur of porn stars and prostitutes, a horrible actor and a reckless loser who threw away one of the most lucrative gigs in prime-time TV, Sheen finally took the stage. When he did, the star revealed a moderate version of the defiant star who continually beat his chest that he was "winning."
"Once again I have come out unscathed," declared Sheen, who seemed notably healthier than the gaunt, wild-eyed persona on display during this year's media blitz where he talked of being "a warlock" and surrounded himself with "goddesses."
Said Sheen: "You can't hurt me. Hell, even I can't hurt me."
He called himself "a guy who thrives on chaos," and that drugs, wild sexual escapades and being fired from "Two and A Half Men" "could not kill" him.
He never mentioned Lorre or his former co-stars by name, but scored a huge response when he said, "I did what everyone in America wants to do. I told my boss to [expletive] off. "
Touching his chest, he said, "Here beats an eternal flame. I just need to keep it away from a crack pipe."
Sheen's post-roast feelings remained a mystery: Late in the evening, he reversed his decision to allow backstage interviews. Puffing on a cigarette following the proceedings, he smiled and said, "It was fun, very good," before rushing off to the lavish after-party: "I need to get some air."
But Ross said Sheen had agreed to the roast as a way of putting his notorious past behind him.
"He told us beforehand that there was no line we couldn't cross," Ross said backstage. "He wanted it hard--anything goes. This was about putting what's happened in a drawer and saying 'what's next?' "
Photo: Charlie Sheen on the hot seat at the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen. Credit: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times