Charlie Sheen has been good for comedy, even as comedians take umbrage with Mr. Sheen’s disrespect for the form. Tomorrow night Mr. Sheen opens his Charlie Sheen Live: My Violent Torpedo of Truth at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. This insults comedians who understand that Charlie’s unbridled narcissism will weary audiences within ten minutes; they want people paying for tickets to be forewarned that the brilliant coherence that sustains live comedy is not in Mr. Sheen’s possession, tigermania notwithstanding.
And though I sympathize with comedians’ sense of disgust for the abasement of their art form, I would like male comedians in particular to take up another cause with regards to Charlie Sheen: his mistreatment of women. Could Bill Maher make some New Rules for Charlie’s functioning in the world of women, given his history of domestic abuse? Sheen indulges in just the kind of wholesale denial of the well-established record that inspires Maher to his most searing irony. From 1990 to 2011, Sheen has (accidentally) shot his fiancée, been sued for hitting a woman in the head who refused him sex, been charged with throwing another woman to the floor during a fight, and had two restraining orders placed upon him by two of his wives. He finally plead guilty to holding a knife to the throat of his last wife, following up with a colorful and explicit promise of what he would do with her decapitated head.
Could Robin Williams please interview him? Unleash your staccato inspiration, Mr. Williams—the kind that bends the context of his ramblings and his pretentions towards women so that we can see them for the hatred it is. Regale us with the kind of hilarity that refuses “the violent torpedo” of domination over women. Steve Carey? Ben Stiller?
It’s not that female comedians aren’t up to the task; it’s just that women need men to hold up the mirror to the exaggerated male privilege, too. Charlie Sheen’s rants are simply a little more voluble and slightly more fantastic that those given by the herds of puffed up jackasses women across the country wait in line to get restraining orders against. Domestic violence hotlines across the country report assaults laced with copycat hyperbole inspired by their new folk hero.
Guys–make his women bashing the unfunny disgrace it is by calling him out. There’s not a great risk he might accidentally shoot you, and the echoes of the laughter you inspire would help thousands.