Mike Tyson will return to the scene of the crime against Evander Holyfield's ear to launch a one-man show at the MGM Grand Hollywood Theatre in Las Vegas -- under the same roof that he took a chunk out of his opponent in what was supposed to be a vindicating rematch for Tyson.
Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth -- Live on Stage, which will run from April 13-18, was co-written by Tyson's wife Kiki and playwright Randy Johnson, who also directs.
It's a theater piece, not a lecture, but a real one-man show, Johnson told the Los Angeles Times, which likened Undisputed Truth to theatrical monologues like Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking and William Shatner's Shatner's World: We All Just Live In It.
Audiences should not expect Tyson to throw any punches, real or imagined. Mimicking boxing would be very cheesy. We're keeping this authentic, Johnson insisted.
The writer/director told the Times he avoided watching James Toback's 2008 documentary, Tyson; preferring instead to devote many hours to one-on-one interviews with Tyson to create a somewhat interactive script that will allow for audience questions. It would be almost impossible for Johnson (and certainly an audience member) to access the troubled fighter with the same brutal intimacy that Toback did; but is sounds as though Undisputed Truth is intended to entertain more than reveal.
And Tyson certainly is an entertainer. An overwhelmingly positive response to his surprise cameo in The Hangover extended his role - playing himself -- through the following two sequels (Tyson announced last week that he had signed on for The Hangover 3.)
There was a time when Tyson was only unintentionally funny. But - in a transformation that hints at deeper reserves of savvy than we might have previously thought - he has managed to take the reins, and the profits, of his camp appeal. In 2011, he was the subject of the Animal Planet series Taking on Tyson, which focused on the boxer's other beloved sport: pigeon racing.
Tyson got in front of the inevitable ridicule by parodying himself in a series of E-greetings where he announced himself as The Pigeon Whisperer. A little birdie told me it's your birthday, he said in one greeting.
On June 28, 1997, Tyson met Holyfield at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas - seven months after Holyfield dominated Tyson in one of the latter's more humiliating matches. During the third round of a rather violent fight, Tyson tore off a piece of Holyfield's ear with his teeth, and promptly spit it on the ground.
Tyson later said the ear bite was done in retaliation for Holyfield's repeated headbutts earlier in the match.
Tickets for the show start at $99.99, with VIP packages available for $499.99. Though Undisputed Truth is only scheduled for a one-week run at the moment, an extension seems likely. Following the initial dates, we'll review what happened, look at the next steps, and move forward, Johnson told the Times. The hopes for this are to tour the world -- the fan base is staggering.