Charlie Sheen: winning at marketing

3 Apr

Hats off

A lot of you have asked me why I haven’t had much to say about the “Charlie Sheen” buzz. Honestly, it’s been so craptastic that I haven’t been able to really get a handle on it. At first I wanted to crack hardcore on it, and even lightly addressed it here. But then it started making me feel itchy and uncomfortable. I was kinda waiting to see if he showed up with the blue lips or not. You don’t want to bust on someone only to have him or her go over the rainbow two weeks later. Ya know? It’s bad karma. Now, as a news item, I consider it “still developing”.

Just like that!

Do you remember that thing a couple of years ago when Joaquin Phoenix started acting all cracky and publicly unraveling every chance he got? Ostensibly, he was ditching his acting gig for a lucrative career in hip-hop. Meanwhile, brother-in-law and seeming enabler, Casey Affleck, was always on hand with a camera to document the down spiral and final meltdown. All of the footage was eventually compiled and edited into the documentary I’m Still Here. It turned out to be an elaborate hoax, a gimmick. Joaquin was acting. And that’s what actors do; they act.


My professional opinion, because I have an imaginary advanced degree in counseling from the University of Celebrity Rehab, is that Mr. Sheen suffers from sex addiction, drug abuse induced dementia and an acute case of fame whoring. The fame whoring is compounded by the people on his payroll who just want to make sure that the booger sugar keeps coming, the private jets get fueled and the nannies get paid. How much trouble is he in, really? No custody has been revoked, he hasn’t been found guilty enough for incarceration, the bills have been paid and no one has pulled a 5150 on his ass.

Charlie does have a rich history of questionable behavior; however, earning him the coveted moniker “Bad Boy, Charlie Sheen”. Um, he’s not a boy though. Dude’s almost 50. Details, people, details. There was the likelihood that he shot Kelly Preston when they dated, he was one of Heidi Fleiss’ preferred clients (it was widely rumored that he met future ex-wife Denise Richards while she was on the payroll), there were overdoses, wife beating allegations and hotel trashing with a game of “hooker in the closet”. What a hot mess. But when you have this sort of reputation it’s hard to pull a Robert Downey, Jr. and reform. So what can you do? Sheen has, of late, created an empire of t-shirts and sold-out live performances. He’s been doing podcasts, interviews and tweeting like his life depends on it. What on earth Charlie is going to do on stage remains a mystery. What I do know is that just ordering t-shirts for manufacture takes some focus and effort. Muddling through the contracts to book venues is tedious and time consuming. I suspect it’s a matter of minutes before we discover that the catchphrases “Winning…duh”, “Tigerblood” and “Sheenuis” have all been trademarked.


And last week he recorded a song with Snoop Dogg, for Christsake. This has got to be the best coordinated and meticulously marketed free-fall since the dawn of Hollywood. So there. Unless the greasy one is discovered face down in the artificial grass next to the pool by one of his meth-head live-ins next week (Denise and Brooke: Girls, keep your fingers crossed!), my official position will be that it’s a calculated ploy. He is trying.  Hard.  And seems to be winning all the way to the bank.


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