Call it Charlie Sheen 2.0. The former CBS sitcom star has embarked on a media swing this week that you might call a contrition tour as he (apparently) seeks to reboot his image and, in the process, his career (presumably).
In two high-profile appearances – both on CBS competitor NBC – Sheen came across as downright sheepish as he discussed the drama that erupted last March when he was fired from “Two and a Half Men” and then blasted off into a remarkable series of media interviews in which he ranted about his origins on Mars and the “tiger blood” coursing through his veins.
In interviews now, though, he’s trying to explain all that. Jay Leno asked him about one of his more notable utterances when Sheen appeared Thursday night on NBC’s “Tonight Show.”
“This is one of my favorites,” Leno said, preparing to recite the infamous quotation. “ ‘I’m tired of pretending I’m not special. I’m tired of pretending I’m not a totally bitching rock star from Mars’.”
“Well, maybe Mars is a little far,” conceded Sheen, who struggled to explain the statement. “Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know what that was all about, Jay. I wish I could come out here and just say, like, explain it all to you and all these good people. And it just . . . I think it would make less sense if I tried to explain it.”
On NBC’s “Today Show” Friday morning with Matt Lauer (in an interview taped earlier in the week), Sheen did try to explain the “tiger blood” statement. “What would you have done differently?” Lauer asked him, referring to the drama last spring.
“Just, I don’t know, the tiger blood . . . it was so silly and people took it so seriously and I figured, alright, I’ll continue to give the people what they want, you know?” he said.
Perhaps the most dramatic turnaround for Sheen – at least according to his statements this week on “Tonight” and “Today” – is his attitude toward his firing from “Two and a Half Men” and that show’s executive producer, Chuck Lorre. Lorre was a specific target of Sheen’s most pointed comments last spring. Among other things, Sheen publicly taunted Lorre and threatened him with violence with his “fire-breathing fists.” The threats were a big reason why Lorre fired him.
Now Sheen – who’s out doing interviews in advance of this coming Monday’s season premiere of “Two and a Half Men” with Ashton Kutcher on CBS and, later on the same night, Sheen’s Comedy Central roast – is actually saying he “agrees” with his firing and expressing regret that he lost his TV show.
“Was there one day when you woke up and went, ‘Oh, no!’?” Leno asked him.
“Yeah, it was the day I got fired from my big television show,” Sheen said, then joked: “I thought I could come back – kind of like you did!”
“Are you still angry with the producers and CBS?” Leno asked.
“No, no,” Sheen said, “I would have fired my ass too.”
In the Leno interview, Sheen revealed that at least one brutal joke has been edited – at his request – from next week’s telecast of the Comedy Central roast that was taped last weekend in Hollywood. “You won’t see it because it was a crack about my mom, and I had them cut it out,” he said.
Comedy Central’s Charlie Sheen roast airs Monday, Sept. 19, at 10 p.m./9c.