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Charlie Sheen’s Rant refers to a series of controversial remarks made by actor Charlie Sheen on several radio and television interviews in late February 2011. The 45 year old actor, who has been publicly struggling with substance addiction and scandalous partying habits, initially called in during The Alex Jones Show to rail against Chuck Lorre, the producer of long-running CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men.” Since the actor’s decisive media blitz across major TV networks, Charlie Sheen’s memorable quotes inspired a variety of parodies on YouTube, Twitter and other hubsites.
On February 24th, 2011, Charlie Sheen called into The Alex Jones Show radio program to talk about his views on Alcoholics Anonymous and the future of his sitcom Two and a Half Men, which has been put on production hiatus since Sheen’s hospitalization in late January 2011. During the phone interview, the actor lashed out against his colleague / executive producer Chuck Lorre as “AA Nazi” and “blatant hypocrite,” while calling the show a “pukefest that everyone worships.”
In response to Sheen’s assail against the producer of “Two and a Half Men,” CBS and Warner Bros have announced that they are canceling production for the rest of the season. The show had been on production hiatus since January 2011 after Sheen was hospitalized and put into rehabilitation for substance addiction. Prior to entering medical care earlier this year, New York Post reported in October 2010 about Charlie Sheen’s arrest and hospitalization after a night of “destructive partying” at a hotel in New York city.
In the following days of back-to-back public appearances, Charlie also declared he had beaten addiction 100% and denounced the Alcoholics Anonymous program, which he described as a “bootleg cult.”
On February 28th, Sheen appeared on a special edition of ABC’s 20/20, feeding his recent media scandals with more exploitable quotes while refusing to give an apology for his behaviors. The ABC interview gained its first million view within first 48 hours of upload, flooding YouTube and Tumblr with dozens of song parodies, mashups and image macros of Charlie Sheen.
In another interview with NBC Today on the same day, Sheen publicly demanded a raise from $2 million to $3 million per episode to return to the set of the show.
On March 1st, Charlie Sheen (@CharlieSheen) joined Twitter. In just over 24 hours, he gained 1 million followers, which was reported as “the fastest in Twitter’s history” by Guinness. Notable Charlie Sheen quotes like “Tiger blood” and “Winning” also emerged as trending hashtags. According to Forbes blog article “The Real Story Behind Charlie Sheen Joining Twitter,” Sheen’s sudden venture into Twitter was advised by a team of experts at Ad.ly, a small Beverly Hills start-up that focuses on celebrity endorsements via Facebook and Twitter.
On December 7th, 2011, Charlie Sheen published a tweet that included his cell phone number followed by “Call me bro. C.” The message was immediately removed, but within hours videos began showing up on YouTube of prank calls to the number. The incident was subsequently reported by CBS News, The Daily Mail, MSNBC and the Perez Hilton.
On March 2nd, Charlie’s signup on Twitter and YouTube parodies were picked up by entertainment blogs and popular hubsites like The Daily What, FunnyorDie, BuzzFeed and Urlesque among others.
At the beginning of March 2011, the day after Charlie’s interview with ABC 20/20, parodies and musical tributes to Charlie Sheen’s ridiculous remarks started to pop up on YouTube.
One of the earliest examples was posted on March 1st by Brooklyn-based indie band Apollo Run, a soft ballad tribute to Charlie Sheen’s rant with lyrics based on his 20/20 interview responses.
On MemeGenerator, 4chan and elsewhere, Charlie Sheen’s rant spawned dozens of image macros.
Sheen Family Circus, a website which combined Charlie Sheen’s quotes with Family Circus cartoons, appeared on February 28th, 2011. This was followed by BuzzFeed’s post “Charlie Sheen Quotes As New Yorker Cartoons.”
On February 24th, 2011, comedy writer Francesco Marciuliano began combining quotes from Charlie Sheen’s media appearances with pictures of cats. “Baby Sloth Quotes Charlie Sheen” was further propagated by Buzzfeed on February 28th. :
Charlie Sheen Rebrands Himself
On March 7th, 2011, Warner Bros, the parent company of popular CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” announced that Charlie Sheen has been let go of his role on the show, concluding the weeks-long production hiatus and public battle between the star and CBS.
On March 5, 2011, Charlie Sheen streamed a live video broadcast, a web show he called “Sheen’s Korner”. He publicized it on twitter shortly after hitting 1 million followers. The first episode had over 100,000 viewers:
My Violent Torpedo of Truth Tour
On March 10th, Charlie Sheen announced his plans for stand-up tour dubbed “My Violent Torpedo of Truth / Defeat is Not an Option” via Twitter. According to Ticketmaster’s show details:
“My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not An Option Show is coming for you. I’m going on the road. LIVE. Will there be surprises? Will there be guests? Will there be mayhem? Will you ask questions? Will you laugh? Will you scream? Will you know the truth? WILL THERE BE MORE?!?! This IS where you will hear the REAL story from the Warlock. Bring it. I dare you to keep up with me.”
On April 2nd, Sheen performed his inaugural show at Fox Theater in Detroit, receiving mixed reviews from the audience. The press critics also chimed in on the mediocrity of Sheen’s stand-up performance, noting that the presentation was unorganized and his jokes borderline offensive, such as his insensitive jab at Detroit’s notorious crack cocaine epidemic.
According to an interview with E!, Charlie Sheen seems to be aware of the criticisms and shortcomings revealed after his Detroit performance:
“There’s a couple things here I’ve got to f--king work out,” said the erstwhile Two and a Half Men star. “I don’t know if I start the show alone and it turns into this [a Q&A format] or I just say with this ‘cause it’s f--king working and we’ll f--king return to it if I don’t.”
Charlie Sheen at 2011 Emmy Awards
At the 2011 Emmy Awards ceremony on September 19th, 2011, Charlie Sheen offered a friendly gesture to his former colleagues of the TV sitcom series Two and a Half Men during his onstage appearance to present the award for lead actor in a comedy show:
“I want to take a moment here to get something off my chest and say something to everyone here at ‘Two and a Half Men,’ " Sheen said before naming the nominees. “From the bottom of my heart I wish you nothing but the best from this upcoming season. We spent eight wonderful years together and I know you will continue to make great television.”
Afterwards, Sheen also tweeted that he had spoken with Ashton Kutcher, who has replaced his role on the sitcom series as Walden Schmidt, an Internet genius who is wealthy but unlucky in love.
According to the Associated Press, when Kutcher and “Two and a Half Men” co-star Jon Cryer appeared onstage later to present, Kutcher joked “Jon, I want to tell you something: I do not think you’re a troll,” in reference to one of the names that Sheen had labeled Cryer back in February. Neither actor acknowledged Sheen’s comments from the earlier segment.
Comedy Central Roast
In addition to his stand-up comedy tour, Sheen has also guest starred as the subject of Comedy Central stand-up program Roast, which aired at 10 p.m. (ET) on September 20th, at time same time as the new season premier of his old gig Two and a Half Men. Reuters reported that the viewers will be able to track related conversations in real time through Comedy Central’s own dashboard website and two Twitter hashtags #SheenRoast and #CrazyTrain.
The 90-minute special program featured a line-up of roast comedians Seth MacFarlane, Jon Lovitz, Kate Walsh, Jeff Ross, Anthony Jeselnik, Amy Schumer, William Shatner, Patrice O’Neal among others and professional boxer Mike Tyson also appeared as a guest roaster. Comedy Central also promoted Roast of Charlie Sheen via its website, where a timeline dashboard for the televised event was set up for the viewers to keep track of trending tweets and hashtags in reference to the program.
At the end of the roast, Sheen had the following to say: “I’m done with the winning cause I’ve already won.”
“Once again I have come out unscathed. You can’t hurt me. Hell, even I can’t hurt me. Did you really think your little jokes were going to hurt me? I did porn stars. I did drugs. Then I did the one thing everybody in America wishes he could do. I told my boss to (expletive) off. And then it was gone. … I’m done with ‘the winning’ because I’ve already won.”
According to Google Insights, search queries for “Charlie Sheen” experienced a noticeable spike in between late February to April 2011: