For a half-century, the biggest names in entertainment have headlined their own shows in Las Vegas: Sinatra and Elvis; Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.; Wayne Newton and Tom Jones; Liza Minnelli, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler and Celine Dion; Liberace and Danny Gans; Siegfried & Roy and Penn & Teller.
And, now, Mike Tyson.
Tyson doing a live variety show might seem as likely as Henry Kissinger hosting a rodeo.
But the man who once threw punches at the MGM Grand Garden Arena now will tell stories at the MGM Grand Hollywood Theatre.
“Mike Tyson: UNDISPUTED TRUTH — Live on Stage” is scheduled for a one-week run from April 13 to 18.
Of course, if every show sells out, maybe they’ll extend the run; on the other hand, if Tyson knocks himself out in 91 seconds, it might be a one-night stand.
Tickets in the 740-seat theater start at $99.99, with “special VIP packages” available for $499.99 — for that price, you should get a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear.
The show is billed as a multimedia, no-holds-barred presentation of his life story, with an unfiltered Tyson peeling back layers of triumphs and tragedy.
Why is he doing it?
Uh, he needs the money. Despite career boxing earnings exceeding $300 million, Tyson declared bankruptcy in 2003. Coming soon to Caesars Palace: “Allen Iverson: DISPUTED TRUTH — Live on Stage”; naturally, Iverson will hold no rehearsals.
Actually, Tyson, 45, might be rather engaging in a theatrical setting. For in a city full of characters, Tyson is as eerily fascinating as any famous person in Las Vegas lore, other than, I suppose, Howard Hughes, whose entire life was a one-man show.
Besides, “Menopause The Musical” has been a Las Vegas staple at Luxor since 2006, so why not “Iron Mike: Midlife Crisis”?
(Column Intermission: My High School Team of Destiny, Springbrook of Silver Spring, saw its state title hopes end with a hard-fought, excruciating 51-48 home overtime defeat to Sherwood in the region final. No one’s to blame, but I have grounded my stepson Isaiah, a sophomore forward, until he’s 21. And, in light of the gut-wrenching loss, I now will walk all the way back to L.A., unless someone wants to carry me.)
Will Iron Mike spin yarns and tell jokes like Garrison Keillor or Don Rickles? Maybe — he’s an engaging speaker with a sense of humor.
Will he sing? Perhaps — he warbled in “The Hangover Part II.”
Will he dance? It’s possible — he’s been on “Dancing With the Stars” in Argentina and Italy.
In truth, Tyson has morphed into an entertainment middleweight.
He’s appeared in “The Hangover” and “The Hangover Part II” and has a role in next year’s “The Hangover Part III.”
He stars on Animal Planet’s “Taking on Tyson,” his pigeon-racing reality show.
There was the documentary, “Tyson,” and now the upcoming Spike Lee-directed HBO series, “Da Brick,” based on Tyson’s life; that project evolved from a guest spot on HBO’s “Entourage.”
The man has three producer credits, for goodness sakes. Heck, I can’t get a lunch reservation in Beverly Hills and Tyson is taking pitch meetings at Warner Brothers!
Furthermore — for those doubting Tyson’s entertainment chops — there are certain similarities between putting on a boxing show and putting on a Las Vegas show. In the ring, you come out and try to knock your opponent senseless; on stage, you come out and try to kill the audience.
If nothing, the specter of disaster — sort of like watching the Daytona 500 to see if there is going to be a sensational jet-fuel fire — looms with any Mike Tyson moment.
At the height of his boxing days, Tyson was a fearsome figure to behold; it was next-to-impossible to pass by a TV screen, see Tyson in the ring and not stop to watch.
For my money — well, to be honest, I’ll be looking for a comp — I believe Tyson will surprise us in his latest incarnation. Expect the unexpected.
Maybe Robin Givens will show up, like Lilith on “Frasier.”
Q. The start of spring training in baseball is signified by the term “pitchers and catchers.” Is there a catchy phrase accompanying the start of your marriages? (Mike Cortese; Cleveland)
A. Prenups and cataclysms.
Q. Is regular household bleach a strong enough ocular disinfectant after mistakenly viewing Pete Weber’s post-U.S. Open victory tirade? (Jim Amedeo; Middletown, Md.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Instead of senior night for the last game of the season, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for John Calipari to hold freshman night? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.)
A. Pay the cynic, Shirley.
Q. My snob son insists on going to college. To counter the liberal indoctrination, should I insist he join the lacrosse team? (John O’Brien; Pittsburgh)
A. Pay the conservative, Shirley.
Q. If the Bowl Championship Series goes to a four-team playoff, won’t the fifth Southeastern Conference team feel snubbed? (Tom Krupinski; Gainesville, Va.)
A. Pay the smartest guy in the room, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail email@example.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash! For Norman Chad’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/chad.