Mike Tyson ‘Toons Up

A wacky animated TV series is the latest career twist for the Las Vegas boxing icon
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Thanks to the pop-culture gene-splicers of Adult Swim, we’ll no longer have to wonder just what would issue from the crazed mashup of Mike Tyson and Scooby-Doo. That answer arrives Oct. 27 in the form of Mike Tyson Mysteries, a series of 15-minute animated episodes that’ll see Tyson, as the title suggests, solving mysteries. Yes, a talking pigeon will be involved. See the trailer here; adjust your internal WTF filter accordingly.

Campy animation is just the Las Vegas resident’s latest unusual—yet somehow unsurprising—career turn as he goes from retired ear-biting boxer to strangely shape-shifting pop-cult figure. “It’ll do great among high white guys,” he told Las Vegas Sun columnist John Katsilometes, who was in Los Angeles this week to catch Tyson at a Warner Bros. press conference and screening of the show. High white guys appears to be whom Tyson thinks watches Adult Swim. “He thought Adult Swim was about old guys learning to swim at a lake until his wife, Kiki, informed him it was an adult cartoon network,” Katsilometes tells us, going on to quote Tyson: “I get to curse, so I said, sure, I’ll do it.”

Because an animated Mike Tyson by himself just wouldn’t be weird enough, he’s joined in the series by the ghost of the Marquess of Queensberry, his adopted Korean daughter Yung Hee, and a beery pigeon voiced by Norm MacDonald. If the trailer is accurate, whatever “accurate” might mean in this context, Tyson will also ride a white tiger and a winged horse at various points, as well as punch a dinosaur and deal with robots disguised as humans. Plus, he’ll get to voice lines like this:

“I have to use my fists to beat the [bleep] out of a chupacabra, the only thing I haven’t beaten the [bleep] out of yet.”

A headline on The Verge summed it up nicely, saying the show “looks like Scooby-Doo on hallucinaogens.” Fairly exotic ones at that.

It’s not clear whether the series will find Tyson coming home to solve mysteries in Sin City, though the white tiger and the show’s casual disregard for the strictures of reality strongly suggest a Vegas influence. It would certainly echo Tyson’s cameo in the classic Vegas caper The Hangover. This is also the city in which he saw Chazz Palminteri’s one-man show A Bronx Tale, which eventually inspired him to take to the MGM Grand stage in 2012 with Undisputed Truth, his own one-man talking tour of his checkered past, from street fights to his rape conviction. He’s been touring the show lately, in Modesto the other day, and, reportedly, soon for the royals in Monaco. Same source reports he’s been talking to Martin Scorsese about a biopic, presumably sans chupacabra.

He even makes absurdist cameos in real life.

Consider the reality-bending, only-in-Vegas moment on the night of Sept. 16, when Las Vegan Ryan Chesley, who’d just wrecked his motorcycle on a Vegas freeway, looked up to see Mike Tyson standing over him, offering help. The former boxer had seen the wreck, called for help, and stayed with Chesley, keeping gawkers at bay (though probably attracting a few himself, one presumes). The rider is said to have broken a couple of bones and torn some ligaments.

“Chesley does not know how long they were there,” the New York Daily News reported, “but he thought he might be hallucinating, his attorney said.” Wait until he sees the talking pigeon.

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