Canadian comedian Russell Peters says he felt like he was "drowning" onstage during his recent gigs with Charlie Sheen in Toronto.
In mid-April, Peters interviewed Sheen at Massey Hall for two nights as part of the troubled TV star's ramshackle "Violent Torpedo of Truth" tour.
On the first night, many in attendance said they felt that the show was a mess and that Peters outshone Sheen, who was giving short answers to his questions and barely engaging him in conversation. As a result, some fans walked out early.
"I was swimming for my life up there," Peters said Monday in a phone interview to promote Tuesday's release of his new DVD, The Green Card Tour, LIVE from the O2 Arena.
"The first night was like pulling teeth and I even told him when we got off, I go: 'Dude, you're killing me up there. You're not giving me anything.' And he goes, 'Yeah, I'm sorry man, I'm just tired.'
"And I go: 'All right, whatever, but you know, if you want these shows to go well, you're going to have to help me a little bit there, kid ... a brown man is drowning up there.' The second night was much better."
Peters said a "mutual friend" of his and Sheen's called him and asked him to help out in the Toronto shows, "because I guess it was a sinking ship at that point, and he was the captain."
"So I was like, 'Yeah sure.' I was looking at it like, 'What a great opportunity to get some extreme press in the U.S.' Um, yeah, it didn't really make much of a difference," said the Brampton, Ont.-raised comedy giant, whose ethnic brand of humour has earned him a worldwide following.
Peters, who recently made a splash in the film Source Code and has three other movies due out this year, also hung out with Sheen a bit during his spin through the city. The two went to a downtown night club together, and Peters said the former Two and a Half Men star was well behaved.
"He just sat down and drank Red Bull. I'm like, 'This is not really the Charlie Sheen party experience I was hoping for," he said.
"Charlie's a great dude and I'm only saying that because the version of him I met was great. I mean, I never met the crackhead Charlie Sheen. I'm sure I wouldn't like that guy, you know what I mean?
"But the version of Charlie I met, he was really sweet, generous, cool, fun, nice, smart, intelligent, so I had no problem with good old Charlie there.
"I ... was hoping to come out of it with some great, crazy Charlie Sheen stories and I got nothin'."