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Punch Lines

Mike Tyson goes from cartoonish to cartoon

LIKE THE Jackson 5 and the Harlem Globetrotters before him, Mike Tyson has crossed a key threshold of popular iconography: He has his own cartoon, Mike Tyson Mysteries. Evoking the look, feel and political incorrectness of 1970s-era Saturday-morning animation, the show has Tyson solving crimes with the Marquess of Queensbury's ghost, Tyson's Korean daughter and a pigeon voiced by Norm MacDonald. It gets weirder from there.

SI:How'd you end up the superhero sleuth of your own cartoon?

MT: Network executives came to me with the idea. At the height of my boxing career, no one would come near me [with this pitch] with a million-foot pole. I couldn't see myself in that sphere, and I didn't know if I was going to be portrayed as a big, mean villain guy.

SI:Your character is pretty ditzy. Is he meant to be a parody of your public image?

MT: No, it's really me. I'm a horrible driver, and there's a scene where I'm sucking as a driver, picking up Buzz Aldrin, so they used things like that. It's my real personality, away from the cameras.

SI: You've been doing comedy for a decade now. Was this the plan?

MT: I never thought I was funny. But then I did my one-man show [Undisputed Truth], and I was spilling my guts about horrific things in my life, like how I don't know who my father is, and the audience is on the floor laughing. We started ad-libbing and adding jokes, and now it's considered a stand-up act even though it was never meant to be.

SI:Does comedy make your difficult past easier to face?

MT: I took myself too seriously when I was fighting. I was bullied a lot as a kid, and I wanted people to know not to mess with me. But I became somebody different, a funny guy, and I'm very conscious of how people perceive me now.

They Said It

"We don't have the real Stocktons. They don't make those anymore."

Chris Douglas-Roberts

Clippers guard, lamenting that the smallest size shorts he can get are medium, which don't match the retro cool of retired Jazz guard John Stockton's short shorts.