Mike Tyson on His Adult Swim Show: It's 'Scooby-Doo' Meets the 'A-Team'

'Mike Tyson Mysteries' is "absurd and hopefully funny," series creator Hugh Davidson says
Courtesy of Adult Swim

Mike Tyson may have left the boxing ring, but Iron Mike is still not one to be challenged — whether it's solving crimes on his new Adult Swim animated series Mike Tyson Mysteries or defending the show at a recent premiere.

Surrounded by posters sporting Tyson's cartoon visage — complete with his signature face tattoo — fans caught a glimpse of the fight that still burns strong inside the former heavyweight champion during a recent premiere at the Ace Hotel in Downtown L.A.

Following a screening of the first three episodes of the series, the fun and lighthearted event turned serious when a member of the audience insulted the show's writing. Tyson's killer instincts kicked in immediately and he jumped to the defense of series creator Hugh Davidson. With the audience cheering him on, the former boxer verbally sparred with the audience member: "You're not keeping it real," Tyson said from the stage. "You're keeping it negative. Get off the f—ing mic, a—hole!"

Read more 'Mike Tyson Mysteries': TV Review

Each episode of the 15-minute animated series centers on Iron Mike and his crew (dubbed the "Mike Tyson Mystery Team") as they solve cases sent to them via carrier pigeon. Rachel Ramras plays Mike's adopted Korean daughter, Yung Hee, Community's Jim Rash voices the ghost of the Marquess of Queensberry, and Saturday Night Live alum Norm MacDonald plays the foul-mouthed, drunkard pigeon — called simply, Pigeon — who was once a man. 

The rest of the panel discussion — moderated by actor-comedian Brett Gelman (FX's Married) and featuring Davidson, Tyson, and co-stars Rash and Ramras — went down without incident. The cast fielded questions about everything from their favorite cartoon characters growing up — Tyson liked Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse, Rash was a fan of Herculoids, Mighty Man and Yukk, and "anything that was a ripoff of Scooby-Doo" — to the genesis of the show itself.

For his part, Tyson described his Hanna-Barbera–style cartoon as "Scooby-Doo meets the A-Team," with absurdist cameos including John Updike, Buzz Aldrin and Bobby Fischer's brain.

Of course, being on Adult Swim gives the show a little more leeway than the average Saturday morning classic, and Ramras thinks that's part of the appeal. "It's extra funny seeing these characters that remind you of Scooby-Doo and they're saying profanity," she said. Rash agreed, adding, "Animation is one of the few things that can bridge pretty much everybody."

As for Tyson, he's not shying away from self-deprecating humor or poking fun at his past. "[Mike] doesn't care," Davidson praised. "He'll do anything." Tyson concurred. "There's not much I'll turn down."

Still, some of Tyson's more infamous incidents — like the bite he took out of Evander Holyfield's ear — will likely not be addressed explicitly by the show. Pointing to Tyson's similarities to his character, Davidson explained that "[He] used to fight and be filled with anger, and now [he wants] to help people," adding: "That's what Mike's like [in real life now]."

The character, Davidson said, ultimately wants to "do good, and the way [he's] going do that is to solve mysteries. It's absurd and hopefully funny," though he admits that this group is composed of the "last people on Earth who should be solving crimes."

Mike Tyson Mysteries premieres Oct. 27 at 10:30 p.m. on Adult Swim. Check out the first episode below.

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