Rapid Round: Mike Tyson Talks Trump, His "Around 60" Pigeons and Favorite Advice
“I’m really happy for him. He's really made his mark," he says of the presidential candidate.
It isn’t easy getting a hold of Mike Tyson. The first time he was scheduled to speak to THR, his plane got delayed on his return from a trip to China. The second time, he had a migraine. And the third time, he decided to sneak out and catch a screening of his new comedy Meet the Blacks, in which he has a cameo as a guy who gets attacked with a meat cleaver.
When we finally did catch up, he was happy to talk about his 60 pigeons, his strive for perfection, the best piece of advice he ever got, and his ongoing support of Donald Trump: “I’m really happy for him. He's really made his mark.”
How did the film come about?
Me and Mr. [Mike] Epps had the same agent, and so the guy wrote for me, which was so awesome. It was shot down south somewhere. It was really an awesome opportunity.
What are you doing next?
I'm doing a movie with Steven Seagal. And I'm doing my one-man show at the MGM Grand. Sold out every night.
Do you get nervous onstage?
I love being on stage. I'm nervous when I'm not on stage.
Do you miss boxing?
Not even a little bit. Because I was crazy. I'm too extreme when I'm in situations like that. That's me all day, every day: extreme.
Do you still watch boxing on TV?
Periodically. I just watched that young guy Kiko Martinez. Got knocked out. He was 122 pounds, got knocked cold.
Do you have a favorite boxer?
I think Timothy Bradley is good. He's the best fighter around now.
Do you have a favorite star?
Yeah. I think Audra McDonald is one. I've seen her in Porgy and Bess, I've seen her in A Raisin in the Sun.
Who is your hero in life?
Cus D'Amato, that's my hero, besides guys like Muhammad Ali. He taught me how to be strong.
What's your average day?
Well, I go to bed around 12:15 or 12:30 when I'm not doing the show. Every day I wake up around 6 o'clock in the morning to work out, come back home, eat, look at the birds and check on the birds.
How many birds do you have?
I have around 60. Homing pigeons. They're in cages, but I let them out to get exercise. I've liked them my whole life since I was eight years old. I don't even know why. You can't tell me why I'm doing this. It's not that I love them: I really don't love them; I think I'm addicted to them. It's a crazy relationship. I want them to stay, so I have to be really good to them.
Where do you keep them?
They're right outside my house. I have about two acres in Henderson, Nevada, and they're in a little place outside, next to my house.
What do you do when you’re home? Watch movies, television?
I watch [programs] about the planet, I watch the Housewives sometimes. I watch Game of Thrones. Since Power isn't on, I watch Empire.
What about movies?
I like Ben-Hur. That's pretty good.
They're doing a remake.
Oh man, I want to be in that one! It's my favorite movie.
Do you like to read?
I'm not really reading nothing. I'm reading about the planets, and that some planets have windstorms that go 900 miles per hour, that could tear you apart. Some planets are like putty. You step on them and sink in like putty.
Are you still a Donald Trump supporter?
Yeah, Donald Trump, man, I'm really happy for him. This is really a big moment in history and the world. He's really made his mark. Last time I saw him, he came to my show on Broadway and we talked.
What's the best piece of advice that anybody gave you?
You don't come in this world humble; humbleness will be put upon you.
Who told you that?
Some old Jewish gangster no one would care about. Another one he said was, “Don't get old too soon and smart too late."
You have three young kids. What advice would you give them?
To always to treat people the way that you want to be treated.
Where’s your favorite place to travel?
England. But I can't go to England now, because I'm a felon. Can I tell you something? Listen, remember when I was the craziest mother—er in the world and no one wanted to come near me with a 10-foot pole? English people get me. You know? Mostly the ones from the north. The northern ones get me. I would make fun of them and say, “That's because they're all married to their uncles and sisters.” But they get me.
When were you last there?
Last time I went was right before [Nelson] Mandela died, because after he died they said, “No more criminals can come.”
Did you ever meet Mandela?
Yes. When he came out of prison. When he came out he said, "Where's Mike Tyson live?" His daughter came out and said, "He wants your glove," so I signed my glove and gave it to him. He was very quiet. Didn't say a word, but said, "You're just a boy, but you're a great man."
Is there one meaningful thing you’d like to achieve?
Peace. Peace of mind.
Do you have peace of mind?
Oh no, I don't. Because my strive for perfection and inner tranquility compete with one another. They won't let me rest.