Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth

Mike Tyson mug shots blown up on stage while the man himself holds court in white.  
What he said about the mugshots: "Good picture, bad day." 
The man is FUNNY.  (Photo by M, Walsh)

Two weeks ago, I was invited to attend the one night limited engagement of Mike Tyson's one-man show, "Undisputed Truth", directed by Spike Lee.  Yeah....   I went in with ALL the preconceived notions of what a train wreck this thing would be.  The lisp, the voice, the whole Robin Givens villification, the rape, the beatings, Don King, the ear biting....  It felt kind of unseemly to go, kind of like Charlie Sheen's weird, angry one-man show a couple years ago. Basically, I was prepared to watch a clown who deserved no pity.  And I think pretty much everyone at the Beacon Theatre was thinking the same thing.  But I don't know if it was Tyson's writing (?), Spike's direction, Iron Mike's real charisma or the whole shebang, but the show was actually great!  And it made a man I was prepared to despise, actually endearing.  We weren't laughing AT him (like I'm sure we all thought we would), we were laughing WITH him because the man is a great storyteller!  My opinions on his actions haven't really changed, but hearing him explain himself in his own words definitely humanized his crazy life story. He didn't hold back, he knew what we'd all come to hear about and he dove in and told us the dirty details.  But he also shed light on things I'd never heard about:  his drug addicted mother, his pimp father and the mysterious death of his daughter.  It was funny and poignant and - SURPRISE SURPRISE - he was GOOD!

p.s. And the man worked hard! He wore a 3-piece white linen suit and was drenched by the first 10 mins, but still gave full energy, interacted with the audience (at one point someone in the balcony yelled out "I love you, Mike" and he said, "I love you, too, but I'm working now, let me do my show!" My favorite part of the show was when he actually twerked, then sheepishly said, "Yeah, it's fucked up when you have to booty clap for the IRS."

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