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Charlie Sheen's Atonement Tour Will Culminate at the Roast, But What's Next?

by Alex Moaba, posted Sep 19th 2011 3:00PM
Charlie Sheen seems like a changed man these days. After a long period of hibernation following the unhinged, manic period that got him booted off 'Two and a Half Men,' Sheen has re-emerged in recent weeks, in advance of his Comedy Central Roast (Mon., Sept. 19, 10PM ET), looking and sounding downright normal. What's made him see the light?

For starters, the guy wants to work in Hollywood again.

As his Sheen-ferno raged on, the pinnacle being his Violent Torpedo of Truth tour, he burned nearly every bridge he'd built over his almost 40-year career in the entertainment industry. He now has to convince TV networks and movie studios that they can trust him enough to even consider working with him in the future, not to mention taking on the expense of insuring someone with such highly-publicized erratic behavior.

After throwing CBS, Warner Bros., Chuck Lorre and his 'Two and a Half Men' castmates under a wildly careening bus, he's finally swallowing his pride and apologizing. But is it sincere? Is it enough? Or is it just another way to grab headlines?

Sheen has a lot of atoning to do. Last October, police were called to his New York hotel room and found the place trashed, with porn star Kelly Jordan locked in the bathroom, fearing for her safety. He was rushed to the hospital in early January, and later, reports surfaced that he'd been seen partying with a briefcase full of cocaine the night before.

He briefly checked into rehab in January; in April, he lost custody of his young twin boys with Brooke Mueller after publicly bragging about his drug use; by March he was fired from his high-paying job on 'Two and a Half Men.'

In the wake of all of that personal tumult, he embarked on a publicity circus, and set out to make himself the poster boy for bad boy anti-heroes. As he grasped at every opportunity to flaunt his new-found status (Web casts, the Twitter account and that mess of a tour), people started to wonder: Was he an entertaining rebel, or were we bearing witness to a public breakdown that could easily end in tragedy?

It wasn't until he set out on his Torpedo of Truth Tour that audiences started turning against him. Sheen thought his inherent coolness, weird stories and catchphrases would be enough to entertain crowds, but they weren't, and people wanted their money back. Sheen began to seem more sad than triumphant, more like a bum on the street than an entertainer worth paying hard-earned cash to see.

Ironically, this is where the idea for the roast was born. Comedian Jeffrey Ross, Comedy Central's Roastmaster General, intervened and turned the tour into a public lambasting of Sheen's antics. Even if Sheen wasn't in a place yet where he could be self-deprecating or apologetic, his people had the wherewithal to realize they needed to save Sheen from himself.

But now Sheen's come around to it, too. Not only is he a willing participant in the roast, but he seems to have embraced it as a comeback vehicle. He's tried to put his ducks in a row before the big event, going on 'The Tonight Show,' where he told Jay Leno he would have fired himself too. He then made a not-so-surprise appearance at the Emmys, playing it straight and gracious as a presenter, but not before heaping praise on Ashton Kutcher, his 'Two and a Half Men' replacement, and wishing the show the best of luck without him.

Maybe Sheen sees this roast as a cathartic two-hour pseudo-therapy session, using laughs to cleanse the bad feelings about his run of erratic behavior. If he can take every sling and arrow the crew of comedians throws his way -- and take it with the bemused smile of someone looking back at strange days -- it may prove to be an ingenious strategy to put this whole thing behind him and move on.

The mea culpa tour is necessary for Sheen to convince TV networks he's trustworthy enough to work with again. He's been working on getting an 'Anger Management' TV series off the ground, but hasn't gotten a network to bite on it yet. When he's healthy and drug-free, Sheen is one of the most bankable talents on TV, but to get a new project on the air, he needs to prove he won't implode again.

Sure he seems to look and feel better, but he's done this all before. With his lengthy history of drug abuse comes an equally long history of getting clean and sober enough to work again. The roast may well be the jump-start to another act of his career, but his image rehabilitation won't end when the special does.

What do you think: Does Charlie Sheen deserve another chance? And does he seem truly sorry for everything? Watch these recent apology clips to decide.

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Call me "crazy," others have, but I have a feeling we may not have seen the last of Charlie Harper. According to this season's premiere, Rose is the only one to validate Charlie's death -- and we all know what a kook job she is. She was standing on a railroad platform with him when he supposedly fell in front of a train and exploded like a baloon filled with meat. No body parts to identify. Just shovel whomever it was into a bag and ship it home. Of course no open casket, no reason to suspect foul play, no DNA needed. Nobody really saw a dead Charlie. So, I predict when the ratings start to go into the toilet a miracle will happen and Charlie Harper will again be among the living.

September 20 2011 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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