Mike Tyson has never been to Seattle. (It is, he says, one of his “bucket-list places.”) But the former heavyweight champion, convicted rapist, and Zach Galifianakis–puncher will correct that in March, when he hits town with Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, the one-man show about his life and career that played 10 days on Broadway in August 2012. But don’t expect the unhinged maniac he used to be. He’s introspective, congenial, even a little sweet. Wait…is Iron Mike going soft?
When we were kids, my friends and I loved to play “How much would I have to pay you to get in the ring with Mike Tyson?” We agreed that it didn’t matter because dead people can’t spend money.
I had that effect on people?
Uh, yeah. Seriously, describe what it’s like to be feared. You were a ferocious dude back in the day, someone no one wanted to mess with.
My trainer was almost a specialist in emotions and stuff, and I just did what he told me to. Never laughed, never talked to nobody. People go to shake my hand, and I don’t shake their hand. I’d just look at them.
What did projecting that image of intimidation do to your relationships?
Wow, it’s so awesome that you said that. No one ever asks that. Yeah, I had a difficult time having relationships, even with my family members. My mother couldn’t stand being around me.
Your wife, Kiki, wrote Undisputed Truth. As you told her about your life, was she shocked by anything?
No. I’ve cheated on her, so she knows about my crazy stories. So it wasn’t anything new.
What about you? Did you get to a point where you were comfortable being honest with yourself about who you are and who you were?
That’s the most difficult part. I’ve been lying to myself for years. To really come to reality and to come to grips with who you are and what you are, it’s not an easy thing because we always look at ourselves as being something we’re not.
You know it.
Published: March 2013