The first two episodes of Mike Tyson Mysteries are everything you expect them to be, and everything you do not expect them to be. Dumb and clever. Blunt and subdued. It’s the sort of comedy that Adult Swim has been known to broadcast for well over a decade, and I was still pleasantly surprised at the quality of the show. Mike Tyson Mysteries is a must-see adventure for everyone who just wants to see what Iron Mike has been up to and, surprisingly, book worms.
The creators of Mike Tyson Mysteries make no bones about the fact that the premise of this show is nonsense. Our team of mystery sleuths are Mike Tyson (himself), his adopted Asian daughter Yung Hee (Rachel Ramras), the ghost John Chambers the Ninth Marquess of Queensberry (Jim Rash), and a pigeon (Norm McDonald). Mike is Mike. Eighteen-year-old Yung Hee was left on Tyson’s doorstep as a baby and is attempting to piece together her identity by applying to colleges among other things. John Chambers is a snappy, know-it-all ghost who fishes for compliments. The unnamed pigeon can be summed up as Futurama‘s Bender in bird form. Together they solve mysteries that Tyson finds as messages attached to the legs of carrier pigeons in the bird coup he takes care of.
The pilot episode, titled “The End,” features Cormac McCarthy and another well known literary figure in a mystery that eventually leads to a fight with a chupacabra. “The Ultimate Judgement” is about a mystery client involved in a chess match to determine if machines or humans are better at chess, and contains the best shit joke I have heard in a long time. There are moments where it feels as if the voice actors are not in the same room or just riffing to see what sticks, but these instances are infrequent. Warner Brothers Animation and Williams Street production companies have worked together on many shows for Adult Swim, and their fingerprints are clearly on this show, although Mike Tyson Mysteries has already begun to establish its own personality. The show is self-aware and pokes fun at Tyson’s public persona in familiar ways that feel new because of this refreshing dumb wit blend.
Mike Tyson Mysteries will not be everyone’s cup of tea and it doesn’t try to be. The show is unapologetically absurd while also managing to throw in enough witty double entendre that the audience realizes it’s not a mistake. Give it a shot and see what you think.
Mike Tyson Mysteries premieres tonight (Monday, October 27) at 10:30 p.m. ET on Adult Swim.