Chuck Lorre, Charlie Sheen and the vanity card jabs
Amid the spectacular radio rant of Charlie Sheen that has since caused the halt of the entire production of CBS's "Two and Half Men," one question from radio host Alex Jones helped flame Sheen's anger: What about those vanity cards?
Jones said they seemed to try to "demonize you ... they seem pretty aggressive." The vanity cards have been a trademark ending to the sitcoms helmed by executive producer Chuck Lorre for years. For a few seconds after the final credits, a white screen appears with a message from Lorre. Vanity cards traditionally flash the production house's logo at the end of the television program. Lorre's quirky meditations on life have garnered something of a cult following among his fans.
Lorre's cards appear at the end of all his popular shows, "Dharma and Greg," "The Big Bang Theory," and "Mike & Molly" among them, and contained messages as varied as a meditation on his trip to Israel, song riffs or memories of old shows. Occasionally, Lorre took digs at people in the industry. As Sheen spiraled further out of control, Lorre turned his vanity card razor wit on the highly paid lead actor of Lorre's hit show:
The vanity cards quickly went from obscure fan favorites to tabloid fodder. On Monday, Lorre posted a vanity card that read in part, "It was more fun writing these things when I was fairly certain no one was reading them. That is no longer the case ... lately it's gotten out of hand. Which is why I've decided to take a break for a few weeks. Let things cool off a little."
When radio show host Jones brought up the vanity cards, Sheen said it was "one of the few compliments that clown has paid me in the last decade."
Sheen then went off on a tirade directed at Lorre, who he kept calling "Chaim Levine," a Hebrew variation of Lorre's birth name. It was "approaching ethnic slur territory," as Liz Kelly put it in the Post's Celebritology blog.
"I've spent close to the last decade effortlessly and magically converting your tin cans into pure gold," Sheen said about Lorre's writing.
Hours after the radio show aired, CBS announced it would be canceling the show for the time being, "based on the totality of Charlie Sheen's statements, conduct and condition," as statement from the television show read.
Thursday night a vanity card appeared at the end of "The Big Bang Theory," it read:
| February 25, 2011; 11:03 AM ET
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