Monday, February 18, 2013 , Updated 9:34 p.m., February 18, 2013
UPDATED: Mike Tyson canceled North Texas tour date suddenly
Below is a Q-and-A conducted before the show was canceled.
Trailer for Mike Tyson’s one-man show Undisputed Truth
DALLAS My interview with Mike Tyson was supposed to run in tomorrow’s paper, in advance of his one-man show Undisputed Truth making its way to the squared circle at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie. But, sorry — it ain’t running. Because Iron Mike isn’t coming.
AEG Live’s Scott Strong, who handles PR for the venue, says he received word last night that the entire tour, just days old, was suddenly off — even though the website’s still up. He says he has no further details, but will call shortly.
Strong does say ticket sales were “OK.” And reviews out of Chicago were generally, well, kind, let’s say.
That’s all we know for now.
UPDATE: Scott Strong says the Grand Prairie show actually sold “pretty well” — meaning, he says, “there would have been a few thousand people there, which would have been good.” But, he says this afternoon, Tyson and his people canceled the whole tour, including Grand Prairie. “So that means we go away too,” says Strong, ”which is kinda sad.”
Those few thousand who were expecting to see Iron Mike Tuesday night more than likely ordered their ducats online; Strong says they’ll get an email from AXS.com with refund instructions.
Strong says he’s not sure how well the other cities on the tour were selling. But, he says, he heard some “rumbles” over the weekend that a cancellation was coming. He got the confirmation last night.
When asked if he thought slow sales had something to do with the out-of-nowhere adios, Strong won’t speculate. “He’s a unique individual,” he says. “It could have been anything.”
Oh — and my Q-and-A with Tyson’s below. It’s abbreviated, seeing as how it was originally intended for print. And I don’t feel like going back and adding to it. But I might tweet the audio from our conversation wherein he explains why he pronounces a certain Yiddish pejorative “smuck.”
“What’s going on, my friend?”
So begins an interview with Mike Tyson, who at this late date has no secrets left to spill. Even those who have encountered the champ only as a triumphant-turned-tragic headline still know him better than they know most of their closest friends, which may be why he addresses a total stranger with the intimate greeting. And it goes on from there: Ask him anything, and he’ll spill everything … at least whatever he can cough up in the span of a 14-minute phone chat.
DMN: What did Spike Lee bring to the show that wasn’t there in Vegas?
My vision of the show when it came to Vegas was a big show: lights, camera, action. It had a band. It was totally Hollywood. I love that stuff. Spike made it more gritty, New York, hard. I didn’t think I would like that, because I’m trying to switch over to this new thing: “Hey, guys, I’m a non-threatening black man.” But Spike knew what I needed, because I’m not great with pronouncing words. At first I was offended. He’s known me for 20 years, and he never told me I needed an interpreter. All these years he didn’t know what the hell I was saying. [Laughs]
The Vegas show was a spectacle with dancing and singing girls; Spike got rid of everything except you. What’s that like — to be up there all by yourself, reliving that past?
Frightening stuff. You almost have to look at yourself in a different way: I’m an actor portraying Mike Tyson. It’s overwhelming if I say, “I’m Mike Tyson.” I’ll start crying, I’ll feel sorry for myself, I’ll say, “I’m a piece of [expletive].” But look at it as I’m being an actor and portraying Mike Tyson because I know Mike Tyson better than anyone. My wife made it so I don’t get too emotionally involved with the character, and that’s awesome for my emotional makeup.
As you look at Mike Tyson from a distance, does that change your perception of, well, that character “Mike Tyson”?
I’m very objective. If I was looking at it from a conscious perspective, the show would be horrible. The people know me. They know the story. They can see if I’m [lying]. That’s the only thing that’s tricky.
How do you find the distance to tell them as stories as opposed to experiences?
When I talk about my story in the show, people laugh a lot. The intention is not to be funny at all. People think it’s stand-up. That’s not my intention. If I wasn’t objective and did my show and people laughed, I would be angry, because there are some traumatic moments in my life, and it’s not funny. I couldn’t deal with that. There’s bad stuff for me emotionally.
Why do you think they laugh?
I dunno. Maybe it’s my deliverance.
James Toback’s documentary Tyson came out five years ago, and, of course, there’s been The Hangover and the Law & Order appearances. All portray myriad sides of your image and the audience’s perception of you. Do you think after all this time there are still things you need to or want to clear up about who you are all these years later?
I don’t know. Maybe I need clarification for myself in some bizarre way. We don’t know yet. That’s what we’re trying to figure out. My life is weird.
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