Monday, June 10, 2013

Mike Tyson, Storyteller

What are important elements for good storytelling?

Emotion, suspense and humor are a few.

Mike Tyson utilized these elements at his recent show "Undisputed Truth," where he told stories from his life.

Sad stories included his mother's death, his sister who died young and his 3 year-old daughter's death due to an accident. He talked about his violence, crimes and addiction, but says he has reformed.


Suspense caused the audience to listen attentively to details of Tyson's youth and a violent fight in a store against a boxer. We learned that he grew up on the streets of Brooklyn and how his mentor Cus D'Amato helped him become a champion. He mentions the book "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", which he jokingly says depicts a story quite different from his own.

Tyson utilized humor when he explained that "hard times" were the reason for his tour. This joke engaged the audience since they are sympathetic to Tyson as fans, know he lost millions and experienced difficulties themselves.

The fighter's stories fit the American love of a "rags to riches" tale. In American culture, we believe we could begin poor and end rich. We could redeem ourselves and receive a second chance. These values work with Tyson's show and our culture of possibility. Despite his losses, he could win again.

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