By Bob Tourtellotte and Bernie Woodall
LOS ANGELES and DETROIT (Reuters) - Actor Charlie Sheen, whose assertion that he is always "winning, duh" has become a pop catchphrase, faced a new reality the day after his stage show bombed. Fans and critics said: "losing, really."
In March, Sheen was fired from his job as TV's highest-paid actor on the comedy "Two and a Half Men" after he publicly criticized producer Chuck Lorre and the show's makers at Warner Bros. Television.
He created the stage act -- a disorganized group of sketches, monologues and videos titled "My Violent Torpedo of Truth: Defeat is Not an Option" -- to prove to detractors that after months of drug and alcohol rehab, an assault on his ex-wife and probation, Sheen was still in shape to work.
While it may be true that he is able to perform, what he is doing, at least on stage, has failed to excite his audience.
During the show, whole sections of people in the balcony, chanted in unison, "Refund! Refund!" and after it ended, Joe Boland, 46, of Plymouth, Michigan, told Reuters: "They should have been chanting, "Rehearse! Rehearse!"
By Sunday on Twitter, numerous tweets appeared like this one by jackieedge 207: "Hahahahahahaha Charlie Sheen first night of his tour was a complete failure. #losing".
One person conspicuously absent on the social networking website was Sheen himself who has used Twitter in recent weeks to fire off missives about anything that was on his mind. But there was no reaction from the actor or his handlers.
NO CLEAR DIRECTION
There was plenty to say from critics, including the New York Times' A.O. Scott, who was in the audience at Detroit's Fox Theater where "Torpedo" opened its planned, 20-city tour that next stops in Chicago on Sunday evening. Scott noted that the "multimedia event had no clear structure or direction."
The show was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. but got off late with opening comic Kirk Fox failing to finish some jokes due to audience rancor. His routine was the first of many during the night that were aborted before coming to their planned end.
Sheen took the stage nearly an hour after show time with his two girlfriends, "goddesses" Rachel Oberlin and Bree Olson, who locked lips in a passionate kiss. They also helped Sheen burn a "Two and a Half Men" bowling shirt.
Sheen donned a Detroit Tigers baseball jersey that on the back had printed his self-given nickname "Warlock," and fans cheered. But it would be one of the few moments that had them roaring their approval.
Throughout the night, a giant video screen was used to show images and interviews that the actor believed gave audiences insight into his recent career turmoil. There were scenes of shark attacks from the movie "Jaws," and videos of Sheen's recent TV news interviews in which he ranted at his bosses.
But the jokes seemed stale, and as the show progressed, some in the crowd of around 4,500 (4,700 tickets were sold) began to walk out.
"The usual Sheen-isms started to sound old and tired. From the men's restroom to the expensive seats in front, it was a restless crowd, delivering plenty of jeers and only a few cheers," wrote The Detroit Free Press in its coverage.
Sheen, who has sued Warner Bros. and Lorre for $100 million claiming he was wrongfully terminated from his job, now faces the reality of reloading his "Torpedo" or disarming it and admitting it was a lost cause.
(Editing by Paul Simao)