Who knew that Mike Tyson had a sense of humor? Particularly when it comes to his image. But he must. Otherwise, he would never have agreed to let Adult Swim use his likeness for a series of animated shorts featuring him as the title character, because "Mike Tyson Mysteries" portrays the former heavyweight champion of the world as a bit of a goofball.
"I'm born to entertain people," said Tyson, while promoting his series at Comic-Con in San Diego, Calif. "Either fighting, or what I'm doing now. I can do it with like 30,000 people or three people. That's just what I know how to do."
"Mike Tyson Mysteries," which got picked up for a second season, features the boxer solving mysteries à la Scooby-Doo. Only his crime-solving entourage is comprised of the ghost of the Marquess of Queensberry, Tyson's adopted daughter, and a pigeon.
The idea of having a pigeon as a partner was taken from Tyson's real life. Raising birds is something he has done since he was a boy and he has no plans to give it up any time soon. Especially with 1,500 pigeons in his coops.
"When you're a pigeon fancier, you do it till you die," he says. "When I die, there'll be someone, who says, 'I'm here to take care of Mike's birds.' That's just what happens with all pigeon fanciers."
Raising birds may have helped offset Tyson's rough childhood, and his many trials and tribulations. Despite his success in the boxing ring, Tyson has been to prison twice -- the first time for rape, the second for assault -- but that is behind him and he says his life is working now. He attributes that to a lot of self-evaluation and learning to play with the cards that life has dealt him.
So when Warner Bros. first approached him to do the shorts, it was decided that the animated Tyson would reflect the changes in the real-life Tyson.
"I sacrificed a lot," he says. "I put forth the effort as well. Having a rough childhood could work reverse on you. You could have such low self-esteem that you can't develop an ego or anything. Mine was the opposite. I had low self-esteem, but I developed a big ego. Those two elements are normally great for success in life, but my drive for perfection and my self-tranquility would always compete with each other, and that's why I'll always make mistakes: trying to perfect something that's probably already perfected. When I strive for perfection, I make an imperfection of it. I'm just never satisfied."
Despite the fact that Warner Bros. created some of Tyson's boyhood favorite cartoons, including "Looney Tunes" and "Superman," he initially turned down the offer, but the "suits" convinced him to change his mind by showing him what "Mike Tyson Mysteries" could look like.
"I thought it was going to be like the first Edison photo movie, click, click, click," he says. "You know, you take the books and flip the pages, and then I saw the first draft. It was pretty much up-to-date, very sophisticated, and I said 'Yeah, I want to try and do this and make it look good."
Season 1 of "Mike Tyson Mysteries" are currently available online at AdultSwim.com.