No refunds! That fine print policy is doubtless going through the minds of some fans who are holding tickets for Charlie Sheen’s Violent Torpedo of Truth Tour following the Warlock-In-Chief’s opening night reviews in Detroit (all the gory details here). But could the show be saved? Improved? Made, if not actually great, at least not so … intensely boo-able? Here are some suggestions:
1. Hire some writers, fast. Sheen fighting with a comedy writer is partly what set all this in motion in the first place. But if VTOTT proved anything it was that the man needs good writers. Detroit fans wanted to see Sheen because they think he’s funny and wanted to laugh. There wasn’t enough about the show that was (intentionally) humorous.
2. Add storytelling: Sheen said he was willing to tell personal stories, but his attempt at soliciting questions from the audience backfired. His idea wasn’t bad – audiences love hearing entertaining anecdotal stories, especially from people with fascinating lives. But instead of winging it, pick the stories in advance, practice telling them well, and go out and deliver them with gusto.
3. Less video. The show was packed with silly video segments that felt like desperate padding. Nobody wants to spend $80 to watch fan-created YouTube videos. If you need filler, try live music performances or guest appearances by famous names instead (Detroit was rumored to have a performance by Snopp Dogg, which the audience was excited about, but that didn’t work out).
4. Have a point. Sheen buried his big speech at the heart of the show with a series of his bombastic metaphorical barfly ramblings, and even he admitted they were largely nonsensical. People going to see a show called Torpedo of Truth expect just that – some honesty. Have all the speechifying go somewhere, find a sincere point to get clearly across and try and connect with your audience on more than just a superficial level.
5. Know your fans. Time and time again, Sheen managed to offend the same people he was trying to impress (and starting the show late didn’t help either). Lines that work when chatting with tabloid news outlets don’t necessarily play well in person. A show has to be for the audience; Torpedo of Truth came off like a monument to the actor’s ego and left the audience feeling like Sheen’s ATM machine.
So if Sheen works really hard to improve his show, he actually might be able to … he’s not going to do any of this, is he?
Follow me on Twitter: @james_hibberd