Iron Mike Tyson.
Let me tell you a little something about me. There are only a handful of celebrities still alive that I’d like to meet, see in a show, or even bother to keep up with. The former boxing heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson is one of those people. Another happens to be Eminem who I saw in a concert at Yankee stadium last year, Madonna and Paulo Coelho are still on the list. Last night I checked off Mike Tyson. In any event, as I shared with friends yesterday that I had purchased a ticket to see Mike Tyson on Broadway, I encountered a plethora of reactions. Most were negative.
You attack Chris Brown, but you support this guy who not only beat up women, but was also convicted for rape?
That lunatic is not worth more than $100 for even the VIP/hangout option!
He’s a convicted felon, a thug, you are stupid for handing over your hard earned money.
Wow, you’d think I slapped these people in the face and pissed on their cat based on the reactions I was receiving. This is Iron motherfacking Mike Tyson we are talking about. Why all the hate? I have been a Mike Tyson fan since I was a young kid. Yes, his behavior wasn’t model, and yes Tyson fell on some really hard times, but he’s still a man that accomplished amazing feats in a short period of time. He’s still the champ.
I had started to write up a defense for my support of Tyson, but I deleted it and realized it was irrelevant. What’s done is done. Whether he was guilty or not, he went to jail, and to some he will always be a rapist. Research things and make your own conclusion. We won’t take on that debate in this review.
The show was a star studded event. Say what you will about him, Tyson has plenty of supporters in the entertainment community. I was sitting about 3 rows away from 50 Cent, maybe 10 or so rows away from Puff Daddy, and I was standing next to Spike Lee for about 2 minutes. None of these people gave off the energy that they wanted to talk or be friendly, so I left them alone.
50 was walking in with one eyebrow raised, body language saying “What, say something to me nikka”. He ignored shouts from some tourists screaming “50, 50…”. Freaking tourist. New Yorkers don’t play that star stuck b.s. I just looked at 50 and what I saw was a normal guy from Queens that I could be riding the train with or spitting poetry with, just a regular dude. Only difference is that someone with money and power decided to give 50 a chance to make some money. He’s a talented rapper and someone gave him a chance, and he took it and killed it! 50 is a frequent player on my iphone. “It’s 50”!
Spike Lee, I saw he likes respect. People kept calling out to him, and he ignored them all. He stood next to me, I looked him dead in the eyes, and nodded. He didn’t nod back, he just stood there, looked back at me, until he didn’t. One young girl said “Good evening Mr Lee”, he smiled at her and nodded. So if you plan on kissing Spike Lee’s butt, start by addressing him as Mr. Lee. He seems to like that.
Puff didn’t talk to anyone, we briefly made eye contact, but he just ignored all the cameras and people while he went to his seat. Apparently there were a bunch of other celebs there too, but I don’t really know too many celebs. As I mentioned before, there are only a handful of celebs that I keep up with. Yet as a talk site, these stars encountered last night have to be mentioned.
Personally, as a poet, and a wannabe rapper, being around these guys was impressive to me. I can’t front about that. A part of me recognized that any of these guys could change my life by giving me a chance, believe me, I know this. But let me ask you, how many people do you think have approached them with the “check out my demo”. No, that’s not me.
That was the atmosphere at the show. The show itself, from my perspective was great. Mike opens the show up with “I know you are all thinking what the fack is this crazy motherfocker going to do on a broadway show, am I right?” Yes, you are right champ. However, the show was exactly what I expected, Mike Tyson talking about all the events we know about, and a long discussion of his overall story.
Initially I thought to myself, Tyson must be broke to do something like this. But as a life long fan, I’ll pay the exaggerated price to sit in an auditorium and watch Mike Tyson talk. I tried to get tickets to “meet and greet” with the champ, but those were GONE, GONE, GONE!
This show will run on broadway for 12 days only. It starts with the champ sitting on a chair while some big band song plays, and continues with an animated Tyson walking around the stage, telling his story, dripping sweat, and ends with a sweat soaked Mike Tyson thanking everyone for coming out to the show.
Since I last saw the champ, Tyson looks great. He’s lost 150pds and is now a practicing vegan. He doesn’t have a gut hanging out from his shirt, and looks quite fit and healthy to me. Good on you champ! Good on you!
Mike spoke about his very beginnings, from Spofford, Brownsville, street life, but he also spoke dearly and emotionally about his mother, his mentor, and his family. He definitely took it to Robin Givens and shared his thoughts on that period of his life. Throughout the show there is a big screen behind Mike that he uses to reference pictures and video about the topics he’s discussing. He really did touch on everything, when he spoke about going to prison and his rape charge he teased 50 Cent a little, “You know what I’m talking about 50, you know how jail is, don’t be ashamed. We ain’t the only nikkas here that been to jail, Brooklyn’s in here!” Spofford is in here!
I will note, that Mike Tyson stated “I should have went to jail for many things, I’ve been in detention centers since I was a kid, and I did a lot of bad things, but I DID NOT RAPE DESIREE WASHINGTON!”
For the most part, it’s Mike telling his story casually, though some parts are obviously scripted, and you can tell when he’s on those parts because he loses his natural flow and meter while speaking. Throughout the show Tyson pokes plenty of fun at himself and his circumstances. At one point a picture of him biting Holyfield comes on the screen and Tyson says “Damn I really did that sh*t didn’t I?” The room roars with laughter.
Tyson is a great storyteller, and he has one of the greatest stories to tell. He’s a funny man too, there were several points during the show where we all just burst out laughing as he shared tales with us. One of the most hilarious stories was when he was talking about Mitch Green and the many encounters he had with him. He spoke about Mitch riding a bike, and that story was hilarious. He also stated that Mitch was like a zombie, he would hit him, and hit him, and he kept coming back like a “night of the living dead” zombie. “I thought I might have killed him, then he rose up again”. Angel dust, what can I say, serious drugs. I’m smiling and grinning to myself at the memory of this story, it was absolutely hilarious.
As of this writing the show has about 9 days left on Broadway. I bought my tickets the night before, as soon as I found out it was open. There were only a few good seats left. If you are a fan of Mike Tyson, you have to see this show. Unfortunately all the “meet and greet” tickets were gone, but hey, you can try anyway.
Enjoy the show, I know I did!
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.