One evening last year, while seated in the audience at the Venetian Showroom in Las Vegas, Mike Tyson had a revelation. The ex--heavyweight champion and his wife, Kiki, had come to the theater from their home in nearby Henderson to catch actor Chazz Palminteri's semiautobiographical one-man show, A Bronx Tale. After the performance a teary-eyed Tyson couldn't help but wax nostalgic. "This show is basically what I did in England and Asia," he told Kiki, referring to the years of meet and greets he had done abroad during his cash-strapped years, often with some 2,000 fans at a time. "I'd start talking about my personal s---, and they'd love it. I'd have 'em crying. I'd have 'em laughing." Suddenly Tyson gazed up at the darkened stage and realized: I can do this.
Later this month, the public will find out if he's right. From April 13 through 18, the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre, right on the Vegas Strip, will present his live, one-man show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth. (Tickets start at $99.99.) It's fully autobiographical and scripted—"Kiki wrote most of it," Tyson says, "so I'm not going to be talking about gonorrhea or syphilis"—but a conversation with Tyson, who hopes ultimately to take his act to Broadway, suggests that there's no telling how much he'll freelance onstage. "I gotta try not to get into too many conversations with people in the crowd," he says at one point. "But there'll be some good cursing."
In no particular order the subjects Tyson plans to explicitly expound upon include: the time he discovered that his father was not actually his father; the day his beloved trainer, Cus D'Amato, found his stash of marijuana; his fractious relationship with his ex-wife Robin Givens (Brad Pitt is somehow involved); and, as for his boxing career, his landmark TKO over Trevor Berbick as well as "biting people."
"I have no shame about anything," admits Tyson, who's been practicing his act up and down the hallways of his home, typically after 2 a.m. "We have to be objective about this s---. I'm going to be stripped, butt naked." He pauses. "Metaphorically."