God, but I love funny mugshots. For the horrible bastard in all of us, there is nothing quite so satisfying as seeing people in their worst state. No matter how bad our own situation is, just like a country song or some classic blues, a picture of a man or woman who has just been crotch-slammed by 20 cops reminds us it could be just that much worse. And when that crotchslam recipient is a rich and famous celebrity, it's even better.
Nobody has it as good as an A-list actor or rock star. And, yeah, most of them did have to work hard to get there. They spend years perfecting their craft, starving, working for peanuts, and building a following. They create great works of art, and are after a long time given their due. But, seriously, screw anybody that could buy everything I own a thousand times just to use it for skeet shooting practice. Screw them if they disrespect their own good fortune to the point that they'll throw away their future for a DUI, domestic abuse, or – and I'm looking at you, Lindsay – shoplifting.
Seriously? Shoplifting? Look, I can understand that you're an action junkie with a need for an adrenaline rush. That's what skydiving is for. And if it has to be a monetary thrill, why don't you do like Ben Affleck does and bet a few hundred grand on blackjack?
You can buy anything you want and you have to steal trinkets for a thrill? What will you do with them once you have them? If there's any justice, then Winona Ryder chucked the jewels she pinched (more than once!) to the first homeless person she passed. But there is no justice. Unless, of course, you consider the public humiliation of having millions of dollars and adoring fans … and still looking like a crazy old hobo high on night train in front of a police camera.
11 Nick Nolte
Aside from looking a little like Gary Busey, Nick Nolte's mugshot is hilarious because the man really looks like he just came out of point break. Just look at it: Is that not the image of a man who just chased a gang of surfers out of an airplane? The ruffled hair, the grumpy stare, the floral shirt – yup. Nick Nolte was trying to be Gary Busey.
10 Lauryn Hill
Full Disclosure: I was a Freshman at Columbia High School when Lauryn Hill was a senior. CHS is in the heart of one of the most privileged suburbs in all of New Jersey. In other words, Lauryn has absolutely no claim to street cred. And so it is completely fitting that she was arrested for the whitest collar crime: tax evasion. I also love how she looks absolutely un-famous in this picture. The illusion is just completely shattered.
9 Heather Locklear
Heather Locklear is universally renowned for her indefatigable beauty. Well, it seems that being arrested for driving while high can indeed defeat that beauty. This is the look of a woman who is utterly confused, or who has just attempted to seduce her way out of a traffic ticket with fake tears. You decide.
8 Robert Downey Junior
In this photograph, RDJ is either completely unaware of the fact that he is under arrest or he just gives less fucks than a rare fuck collector. I submit it is the latter: He knows that any arrest for an offense lower than murder is a mere speed bump on the highway toward his next supermodel filled jacuzzi. This is an honest smile. Either that or he's drunk and high.
7 Paris Hilton
I love this photo not only because I like seeing this spoiled little girl punished, but because this is the image of a girl who is about to be in jail. Yup, Paris actually spent a little time in the slammer – does she look at all prepared for the rigors of prison to you?
This is a woman who never folded her own clothes. And she's just oh so dainty and pretty in a little girl sort of way. This cute porcelain doll is about to be tossed into a population of women who haven't – and won't – be having any male companionship for a very long time. Call me crazy, but if she made a sex tape in jail it'd definitely be one instance of a sequel being better than the original.
6 Gary Coleman
I never thought I'd be afraid of the late Gary Coleman, but look at him. This is a scary S.O.B. Evidently he was arrested for domestic abuse – and there's that whole thing about beating a customer when he was working as a security guard – so there actually is good reason to be afraid of the diminutive destroyer. And is it just me or does he look like he is auditioning for the role of The Joker in the next Batman film?
5 Mickey Rourke
To be fair, most pictures of Mickey Rourke look like mugshots. In fact, the picture of him that looks least like an insane criminal is his 1994 mugshot, which I encourage you to Google.
The man really does look like a super villain. Look at him with his creative facial hair and a look at the camera that says, “In thirty seconds my henchmen will have killed you and your whole family.” It's the same smile that most drunk beach bums hauled in by the Miami PD wear when they're charged with drunk and disorderly conduct.
4 Kiefer Sutherland
Believe it or not, this is a picture of Kiefer Sutherland and not his character Agent Jack Bauer. Man, look at him, he's totally prepared for this moment. He practiced that look in the rearview mirror on the way to surrendering himself to serve his 40 days for DUI. And he had plenty of time to practice, as he got a rehearsal the first time he was arrested for DUI.
God but I really love this picture. Look at him – just about to spend more than a month deprived of whatever amazing things a TV star avails himself of (champagne filled Olympic sized pool?) and he's looking through the camera and saying, “No biggie.”
3 James Brown
Of all of James Brown's mugshots – and there are a few to choose from – this is my absolute favorite. I can't look at it without imagining him babbling some Bill Cosby-like jibberish but with a weird semi-African accent.
This is another example of celebrity domestic abuse, and I hate to make jokes about battered women but, seriously, it looks like his lady gave as good as she got. And you can't really blame her. Seeing a man looking like that come at you in your own home would be enough to drive anyone to violence. Just imagine that wild-eyed, disheveled, leather-skinned maniac spouting the nonsense lyrics to his own songs. Unh! Aw yeah! Heeeyyy! He wails as he draws ever closer. He was lucky to survive.
2 Macauley Culkin
First of all, yes, Mac is high as shit in this photo. He was nabbed for possession of marijuana, Xanax and sleeping pills and that's just what the cops found. Looks to me like they pulled him over a few empty pill bottles too late to get him for the good shit.
We all know that child actors have it pretty hard... we don't really know why they have it hard, what with having prosperity handed to them on a silver platter, but it's obvious that many people can't handle all the attention that fame brings. Be that as it may, it's still amazing to see how a person can go from America's sweetheart to total douchebag in a decade. I mean just look at him. If that was my kid smirking at his arrest like that he'd be scared to come home.
1 Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen's mugshot is probably my absolute favorite. This is just a fantastic photograph. The possibilities of the narrative of this shot are just endless. Is he confused as to what the camera is? Were the instructions unclear and he really tried to look into the camera? Is he trying to short circuit the flash with his charisma?
Maybe he's trying to stare down the police photographer. Whatever the case, I can totally hear Charlie's voice talking to the cop, talking about tiger blood and martian DNA and exactly how he's going to spend his house arrest.