The first theatre-goers to flee the Fox Theatre during unemployed sitcom star Charlie Sheen's performance Thursday night lasted exactly eight minutes inside. With satellite dish-erect Atlanta news vans parked all along the sidewalks on Ponce de Leon Avenue, Intel Central set up a mobile command center directly across the street on the Livingston patio to cover the chaos.
"It was just incredibly dull," Sandy Springs resident Vanessa Sciacchetano told us who walked out with her husband at 8:49 p.m. "For 10 minutes all he did was pace the stage and ramble, wearing a Matt Ryan Falcons jersey while two strippers made out in the front row."
Sciacchetano said the couple had been hanging at Goin' Coastal in Virginia-Highland Thursday night when someone approached from Sheen's "Violent Torpedo of Truth" tour and offered them free tickets. A tour rep wearing a Sheen laminate around her neck was also offering Livingston patrons comped tickets as well.
Inside, Sheen, in sweat pants and a backwards baseball cap, peeled off the Falcons jersey to reveal a Braves model and then Georgia Tech athletic apparel which instantly elicited boos from the University of Georgia bulldog fans in the audience.
Roswell resident Carly Ellison and Smyrna's Kristin McLendon had seen enough and bailed on the show in search of some dinner.
"There was no 'Torpedo of Truth' happening in there tonight," Ellison said, shaking her head. "Life is too short." Added McLendon who had scored the free tickets from her dad: "He looks terrible. Like he hasn't slept in five years."
Attendee Dorian Maras and his friends exited about 30 minutes into the show, stopping outside on the Peachtree Street sidewalk to snap camera photos while posing with descending thumbs.
"It sucked major donkey balls, dude and you can quote me," Maras said. "He did like no prep at all. We kept waiting for it to get better. It was just a disaster. There was nothing of substance happening in there. So lame."
A few minutes later we were compelled to excuse ourselves from a conversation with Livingston executive chef Zeb Stevenson when we spotted six-foot, three-inch, 200-pound Auburn University student Jamie Hubbard exit the Fox and immediately begin punching a tree. Repeatedly. Hubbard and his friend Mark Warmock had just been ejected from their $79.50 seats in row GG for fighting.
"These guys in front of us just started talking [expletive]," Hubbard explained. "We were trying to defend ourselves and we get kicked out."
Warmock wasn't looking forward to the late-night drive back to Alabama. "We bought tickets and drove all the way here to see Charlie. I've grown up watching his movies. Personally, I loved the show. He had some good jokes going. Girls were tonguing each other. It was great. I wish we could have stayed to see the rest."
Attendees Sandy Rockwell and Ben Spitalnick made it through to the show's end just before 10 p.m. "It was a train wreck in slow motion but it was what we expected," said Spitalnick. Added Rockwell: "It was awkward, at times funny and kind of pathetic." But Spitalnick said it was still a good value. "Look, Thursday is the first night of the weekend for us," he explained. "The tickets cost us $80 which is what we would have paid for drinks somewhere else anyway. Plus, we've got the rest of our evening free now. I mean, it was kind of entertaining. Like watching a slow death."