1. Stage

Suddenly everywhere, Mike Tyson brings his reinvented career to Tampa's Hard Rock

Getty Images
Getty Images
Published Oct. 23, 2014

Local fans waiting patiently for Monday's premiere of Adult Swim's new comedy-toon Mike Tyson Mysteries don't have to wait that long to get a dose of the man himself.

The former heavyweight boxing champ will bring his one-man show Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth to the Hard Rock Cafe at Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Saturday night.

Even Tyson admits he's made an incredible transition from athlete/face-mangler to actor and cartoon star. We talked to him about the new cartoon, the ever-elusive Norm MacDonald and how young athletes can learn from his story.

So, your biggest news is obviously the upcoming premiere of Mike Tyson Mysteries. How did the project come about?

I have no idea. Two executives came to me and I didn't think it would be a good idea but it turned out awesome. Both episodes have positive affirmation.

What's it like being an actor now?

I go into it as a performer whether it's boxing or the stage or acting.

What's it like baring yourself on stage?

I don't know. From a personal perspective, to me, it's all entertainment. This is my life and it would get me to start crying, get a little irate, if I looked at it from that perspective.

What can fans expect from your show?

A lot of excitement. Dynamic collections of stories that they know about but me giving them another perspective. It has a whole life of its own. It's still on HBO, actually, and I saw it the night before last and thought, "Wow. It's going to be exciting."

What's your favorite part of the show?

I don't know. My best story is when I'm fighting Mitch Green — I got into a street altercation with him — and when I portrayed him in the story it's good.

So which is more difficult, stage, screen or voice acting?

I am a performer. I use the same enthusiasm to perform in a 10,000-seat arena as I do for two people.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was seen wearing your clothing line at a WWE event in Brooklyn, N.Y. Was that planned or a surprise?

I have no idea. ... I never pull people and say, "Wear this for me." Never me. I am just very grateful now and I'm on the path to humbleness. I can't say I'm humble because when you say you're humble, you really aren't humble. But I'm on the path of it, trying to understand it more.

So are you an actor, author or clothing designer? What's the future of Mike Tyson?

I am many things. What I do entertains people. So I want to make my objective to have people be entertained.

What is like filming Mike Tyson Mysteries with your co-stars? There are some pretty famous names in the cast.

We are still filming the show now, and we have 20 more episodes to go. So we'll just stay in the studio. I'm on the show with Norm MacDonald, and even when you are working with him you never meet Norm MacDonald. I met the one guy who plays the Marquess of Queensbury (Jim Rash) and I thought he was Norm MacDonald but he wasn't. I've never met him. I know he is very famous and he is a stand-up; in fact, I think he just did a show in Phoenix. But golly, he really is an absentee cast member. I have worked with everybody else but him. And I've had 75 to 100 people say, "Hey, you are working with Norm." I don't even know who Norm is. He's very famous, I know that.

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Have you been to Tampa before? What did you think?

Absolutely. Florida is the same thing over and over — great football players, a whole bunch of strip clubs ... Florida is good stuff. There has been some crazy law-enforcement stuff down there recently, but other than that, God is good. Florida just has a lot of great athletic talent. The best football players in the world come from Florida. It's like they build great football players there.

Speaking of football players, quite of few of them are dealing with legal issues that you have already been through in your career (domestic violence, assault charges). Any advice for them?

Stay close to your lawyer. Stick with a good lawyer and try to the best of your ability to grab some kind of humbleness, because it costs nothing, but it pays a lot in return.

Since your story has been told in your New York Times bestelling book, a documentary and even the HBO special, why should fans come to see it in person?

That's what I say, too. That's exactly what I said. But the people demand the show. I thought once it was on TV I wouldn't be doing it anymore. We just came back from Monaco. ... It's even more and more prolific now.

Does your face tattoo limit the roles you can play?

Yes. But still when I did Law & Order, they covered my tattoo with makeup. And me being who I am cost me some roles. I have a lot of notoriety. That's why some roles I do it in costume so people really don't have an idea who I am.

The running gag on Mike Tyson Mysteries seems to be a your noted problems with pronunciation. Is it still difficult for you?

I'm playing it up for gags.

Why should everyone be watching Mike Tyson Mysteries on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim Monday night?

Because it's going to be awesome. The Warner Brothers execs, they are really invested in this and once I saw the footage I put the accelerator to my participation. A lot of work went into making this and I believe in the program. Later on (in the season) we'll probably have Bobby Brown and some guests like Bishop Magic Don Juan. It'll be eclectic. It's going to be crazy.


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