Malcolm Gladwell, who posited you have to spend 10,000 hours at your craft to be world class. Sheen spent next to nothing. He sucked.
You're no longer at the mercy of the critics, you're at the mercy of the public. An audience member is no longer passive, he can render an opinion not only via catcalls and boos, he can text and tweet and blog and those who care can follow along right at home, as I did. And what unfolded in Detroit was more than a mess. It was an utter disaster.
Charlie Sheen made the mistake of thinking the audience was on his side. This is what happens when you descend from your showbiz perch, step out of the television and enter the realm of the people, you find out we're all equal. And that if you don't give a great presentation, we tear you down from your peak.
What happens now?
Cancellation I assume. It's the only way out. To play to ever fewer people and even less attention would just be disheartening. Chuck Lorre and CBS may not have been able to crush Charlie, but he was no match for the proletariat. That's the story of the past year. The people rule. It happened in the Middle East, it's happening here. How long do you expect people to overwork just to make ends meet while an "undeserving" upper class gets to live in an alternative universe?
Let this be a lesson. If you're one of the privileged, don't intersect with the public. Fly private, live behind a gate or a guard, avoid publicity. Because the throngs are there, waiting to pounce on every misstep.
Then again, the crowd is ready for a true leader, who knows all this, who is not beholden to the throng so much as cognizant of the landscape and willing to march forward into the future.
That does not describe our politicians.
Nor does it describe the entertainment industry.
Nor does it describe Lloyd Blankfein, who famously said that Salomon Brothers was doing "God's work".
Don't equate attention/fame with talent.
Don't equate notoriety with a career.
Don't think that just because people paid to see you, they're on your side.
In other words, true professionals don't create a song in GarageBand the day they buy their Mac, put the result up on YouTube, make a deal with Tunecore for sale on iTunes and e-mail everybody to buy it. To do that is to set yourself up for ridicule. Isn't that the story of Rebecca Black? Her mother thought she was doing her kid a solid, both were too ignorant to realize that a hunger for fame has a stink that can be smelled worldwide, and even ten year olds know what's good.
And Charlie Sheen performing live is little different from Rebecca Black singing. Only Rebecca Black was smart enough to have someone else write the material. Charlie took the stage with an ill-formed presentation of his own device and was roundly booed. Because we know what is good comedy, what is good live theatre.
There's very little of it out there.
But we're looking for more.
Don't equate the initial demand for Charlie Sheen's live tour with longevity. It was a stunt, no different from Bobby Riggs playing tennis with Billie Jean King. To do it again is just creepy. You made your money, go home.
But someone at Live Nation was only thinking about money. Connecting fame with theatres. There was no consideration of show, of value for money, only gross receipts. That's how low we've sunk.
But the public is not having any of it.
While the live industry fights its petty little wars over ticket fees, the public is fed up and stays home. While acts demand ever more to make up for the loss of recording revenue, the people stay home. But they overpay for that which they believe is real. And Charlie Sheen in concert was not.
Visit the archive: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/