Will Charlie Sheen be winning in D.C.?

April 15, 2011

Charlie Sheen and his erratic live tour — concisely titled “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option Show” — will touch down in Washington on Tuesday. Thus far, the traveling rant-a-thon, which began April 2 in Detroit, has played with all the consistency of an unhinged metronome, with Sheen earning boos one night, standing ovations the next.

So what can Washington audiences expect when the Warlock in Chief strolls onstage at Constitution Hall? We can’t say for sure, but the following “Torpedo of Truth” primer does provide a guide to this post-“Two and a Half Men” roller-coaster ride.

What exactly does Charlie Sheen do during this “performance”?
Sheen has turned his shows into Q&A sessions during which he answers questions about his life and career posed by tour producer/manager Joey Scoleri and, occasionally, the audience. Based on reviews, the format is part rambling attempt at comedy and part “Inside the Actors Studio”; he actually brought “Actors Studio” host James Lipton onstage during a show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Lipton referred to Sheen’s approach as “like performance art.” Others might use a different term, but we are not allowed to print such language.

Is any of this funny?
That depends. Does this sample grab make you laugh?: “I discovered crack and the Internet in one weekend. Thanks, Al Gore.” If so, you’re in for an evening of pure hilarity.

Seriously, is this just going to be awful?
Media reports characterized Sheen’s Detroit opener, his April 8 show at Radio City and his Boston gig last Tuesday as disastrous. (The Boston Globe’s Don Aucoin described it as “a witless barrage of non sequiturs, non-stories, non-jokes — a non-event, start to finish.”) But performances in Chicago, Cleveland and on his second night at Radio City were reportedly well-received. In other words, some nights he’s “winning” and some nights he’s losing.

Will there be special guests?
Larry Solters, a rep for Sheen, did not respond by press time to questions about what surprises may be in store for the D.C. crowd. But Sheen has started incorporating celebrity cameos into his act; in addition to Lipton, former New York Met Daryl Strawberry briefly hopped onstage during the April 10 Radio City show, while “Jersey Shore” star Pauly D joined Sheen in Boston.

Are tickets sold out?
As of press time, tickets were still available, particularly on marketplace sites such as StubHub.com, where seats can be purchased for less than their $48-to-$88 face value. Also still available: premium meet-and-greet tickets that provide orchestra seats and the opportunity to interface with Mr. Sheen backstage. The cost of those VIP passes? A mere $575 a piece.

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