Roasting Dean Martin vs Charlie Sheen

If by age 80 you can’t play the Age Card, well how much time do I have left? So let me simply say it. I met Dean, and I enjoy Charlie; but Charlie is no Dean.

I say that based on the recent Comedy Central Roast where performers like William Shatner seemed self-conscious between jokes, while punchers like Mike Tyson seemed barely conscious between drinks. Personally I relate to Captain Kirk, because roasts used to be clever, not callous. The biggest laughs on Dean’s had to do with chump-change human frailties. Charlie’s roast was mostly toasting what puts most people into jails or asylums.

What’s happened to us in just 50 years..?

Antiquarians my age notice the differences that perhaps younger audiences don’t. There really was a time and a culture when you laughed at humanity’s vices, but not at its virtues! On this night, boozing, brawling, drugging and cheating were made to look oh-such-fun, while sobriety, dignity, moderation and panache were…well, something Iron Mike could hysterically dismiss and in so doing get a big bawdy audience laugh.

I’m going to miss Charlie’s bawdy ways on Two And A Half Men. On a studio set, they were fun. I just hope someday we don’t miss Charlie himself. But if he continues to spiral out of control in the audience-cackling belief that being Charlie Harper is the better of his two personas….well, I’m guessing most of that cackling audience won’t take the time to visit him wherever his family puts him.

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