Mike Tyson is the most media-savvy boxer since Muhammad Ali, appearing in everything from video games to documentaries to a one-man Broadway show (not to mention his popular cameo in The Hangover). So it shouldn’t be so difficult to imagine Tyson as the star of his own animated series: perhaps one that co-stars the ghost of a British aristocrat, a teenage Korean girl, and a talking degenerate pigeon?
That glorious fever dream comes to life in Adult Swim’s Mike Tyson Mysteries, debuting this fall. We caught up with showrunners Hugh Davidson and Rachel Ramras (the latter of which also voices Tyson’s adopted Korean daughter); cast member Jim Rash; and Tyson himself as they discussed everything from the show’s animated reference points to tapping into past lives.
It was a raucous, fast-paced conversation, so here’s the most interesting takeaway from each of the main players:
Hugh Davidson, producer and writer
Davidson described Mike Tyson Mysteries as a stylistic parody of shows like Scooby-Doo and the Mister T cartoon, but with stories that were grounded more in the character-driven sitcom tradition. In other words, don’t expect the gang to discover that all the crimes are being perpetrated by Old Man Jenkins in a variety of monster masks. The show’s sensibility is very adult and hilariously offensive.
Rachel Ramras, actor, producer, and writer
Ramras, who previously teamed with Davidson on The Looney Tunes Show, tabbed The Simpsons as one of her major creative influences and insisted that Tyson has been game to poke fun at his image as a celebrity. She stressed that, apart from the visual style, the show is not a parody, allowing Tyson and the writers to discover the pugilist’s unique comedic voice.
Jim Rash, actor
Portraying the spirit of the 9th Marquess of Queensbury (the man who sponsored the development of modern boxing), Rash appreciated the sheer audacity of the project. While the character is arguably as flamboyant as Community‘s Dean Pelton, he’s also the show’s moral compass, encouraging and assisting Tyson as he tries to help others.
Mike Tyson, creator and actor
As his colleagues mentioned, Mike Tyson Mysteries was the brainchild of Tyson himself, who simply wanted to try his hand at an animated series. The former world heavyweight champion theorized that it would be a fun challenge to turn his image from “The Baddest Man in the World” to the “Funniest Man in the World” (though he was also quick to clarify that the series wasn’t an attempt at image rehabilitation). In the end, though, Tyson said the experience taught him to take himself less seriously. Indeed, he signaled that the show’s title was its very first joke, admitting that “I suck at solving mysteries.”
Mike Tyson Mysteries premieres later this year on Adult Swim. Check out a sneak peek of the show here!