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Some celebrities allow their reputation to become so bizarre that any story about them is believable. These celebrities have entered The Tyson Zone.
The term was created by commentator Bill Simmons in honor of heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. Examples of Tysonic behavior include offering a zoo handler money to box a gorilla, threatening to eat an opponent's children, biting said opponent in the ring, saying you're ready to "fight Jesus", or blowing $300 million on hookers, cocaine and an enormous collection of pigeons. And yes, Tyson did all of these things and more.
Ideally, the nuttiness should be sustained for years. Continual craziness, ideally manifesting in a number of different forms, is required for someone to truly enter the Zone.
The subject must be famous. Being crazy in your house is one thing; being crazy on national television is a whole different story.
- All Men Are Perverts: The easiest way for a man to enter the Zone is with a bizarre/violent sex life. If nothing is known, salacious rumors will do.
- Ax Crazy: Some of the best occupants of the Tyson Zone are shining examples of this trope.
- Memetic Molester: Or any other "Memetic Mutation" trope, but this one seems to fit the most.
- Poe's Law: Same principle. A celebrity who enters the Tyson Zone for religious fundamentalism would be a straight example of both tropes.
- Weirdness Magnet: Not all who enter the Tyson Zone are crazy in their own right. Sometimes, the strange things just follow them.
Bill Simmons' List
The inaugural class named by Bill Simmons consisted of the following celebrities:
- Dennis Rodman
- Courtney Love
- R. Kelly
- Landon from The Real World
- Najeh Davenport
- Suge Knight
- Flava Flav
- Brigitte Nielsen
- Anyone in G-Unit
- Billy Joel
- Andy Dick
- Lindsay Lohan
- Lindsay Lohan's dad
- Anna Nicole Smith
- Margot Kidder
- Tara Reid
- Lil Jon
- Gary Busey
- Ricky Williams
- The late Bison Dele
- Liza Minnelli
- Paris Hilton
- Christina Aguilera
- and Henry Winkler.
- Mel Gibson has steadily become this, for all the most unflattering imaginable reasons.
- After Charlie Sheen's much publicized 2011 cocaine binge, Bill Simmons himself suggested that it may be time for Sheen to become the new Trope Namer. Though he put a hilarious condition (4th question there) for Sheen to take Tyson's title -- with the observation "Let's hope I didn't just challenge him".
- They even met in this old clip from HBO. Hilarious in Hindsight?
- Jossed after Tyson's performance at Comedy Central's roast of Sheen. Charlie came off as collected and lucid, whereas Tyson was giggling like an axe murderer and at one point heckled himself. Your winner and STILL zone champion, "Iron" Mike Tyson.
- Victoria Jackson (of Saturday Night Live fame) has become one these in the past few years by getting involved in the Birther movement and complaining about Glee (a kiss between two male characters in particular) on television while waving a Bible around. Her Wikipedia picture also features her in a really bizarre outfit that cannot be explained.
- Robert Downey, Jr. came close to entering, but then turned his life around thanks to, of all people, Mel Gibson. He's since called for the same opportunity to be extended to Mel.
- Think for a moment: is there a role you wouldn't believe Nicolas Cage would take? Think for a moment more: is there something you wouldn't believe Nicolas Cage would waste his money on? The man bankrupted himself buying things like swords and a private island.
- Mike Tyson, the Trope Namers.
- Manny Ramirez.
- Ben Roethlisberger. It's not that you'll believe any story about things he did, but that you'll believe any story about things that happened to him.
- Ron Artest/Metta World Peace. And the name change isn't the most infamous thing about him. Remember he started a brawl on a basketball court with a fan several rows back in the stands.
- Brian Wilson from the San Francisco Giants cultivates this image, probably/hopefully for humor's sake.
- The University of Miami (Florida) football team, especially after the Nevin Shapiro illicit benefits allegations. But the craziness stretches back decades...
- 1980s: Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew runs a rewards program to pay players for touchdowns and other on-field achievements.
- 1987: At a pregame steak dinner for the Fiesta Bowl, Penn State shows up in suits. Miami shows up in full combat fatigues.
- 1991: The team's taunting of the Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl Classic (most notably Randal Hill's touchdown celebration) is so flagrant that the NCAA creates the "Miami Rule" to punish it. This, on top of receiving sixteen penalties over 202 yards, a bowl and school record.
- 1992: A bench clearing brawl with San Diego State includes Dwayne Johnson (yes, The Rock) chasing the mascot into the stands.
- 2001: Against Boston College, a Miami defensive lineman records an interception, only for his teammate Ed Reed to run up behind him and steal the ball to take it in for the winning touchdown. (On a side note, 2001 Miami is considered by some to be the greatest college football team of all-time.)
- 2002: Najeh Davenport breaks into a woman's dorm room and is caught pooping in her laundry basket.
- 2006: Kellen Winslow is confronted by reporters for intentionally injuring an opposing player and has an epic freakout on camera, where he declares "I'm a fucking soldier!"
- 2011: Convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro is caught for having lavished strippers, prostitutes, alcohol and money on UM recruits for nearly 10 years.
- Werner Herzog. From hauling a steamship up a mountain to getting shot on camera he's known as much for his weirdness as his films.
- He would be even better known for this if he weren't completely overshadowed by his favorite actor Klaus Kinski. People's opinions are divided about if he was just completely insane or played being insane all the time for the publicity. He was probably pretty much in the middle of the two.
- Any of the original members of Motley Crue.
- Michael Jackson. In The Eighties, he encouraged this image by creating fake eccentricities -- sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber, trying to buy the Elephant Man's remains -- knowing it would garner lots of publicity in the tabloids. What truly makes him zone-worthy is that we know he actually did the following things:
- Owned a pet chimp named Bubbles, for whom he would have custom suits tailored, since he frequently took the animal to public appearances. This was just one of many exotic pets he owned over the years, to the point that a Saturday Morning Cartoon and toy line based on them were being developed in The Eighties.
- Created the Neverland Ranch mansion/zoo/amusement park complex to live in.
- Had giant statues of himself built and trucked around the world (including down the River Thames) to promote 1995's HIStory.
- Had tons of plastic surgery, although he denied most of it. A related issue was how he chose to handle his vitiligo, which started destroying the pigmentation of his skin in The Eighties -- he bleached the rest of it to an alarming whiteness.
- Dangled his then-infant son over a hotel balcony in Berlin so fans below could see him -- although "Blanket" was largely covered by a real blanket when he did so, so what was the point?
- Never let his kids go out in public with him without masks or veils. His concern that the kids could be targets for kidnapping or worse was valid -- but those masks and veils attracted a lot of attention anyway. (The masks disappeared after his death.)
- Claimed that Tommy Mottola, head of Sony Music, was a racist who had deliberately sabotaged the release of 2001's Invincible because Jackson was black (said sabotage, if true, had more to do with Jackson choosing to part ways with Sony before the album hit shelves). A notorious quote: "He's a mean [sp.], he's a racist, and he's very, very, very devilish."
- Admitted that he had sleepovers with child friends, letting them use his bed and even sharing it with them in some cases. The 2003 interview containing this revelation came almost a decade after he had settled out of court with the family of a boy who accused him of molesting him. By the end of '03, a second investigation into child molestation allegations resulted in an arrest and trial (he was found not guilty), which led to him...
- Appearing for his trial visibly confused, several hours late, in pajama bottoms on one occasion. In hindsight this was a clear indication of his problems with drugs, in particular using anesthetics as sleeping pills, which ultimately killed him.
- Kanye West is known for having such a large ego that a false rumor stating he had claimed the title of "King of Pop" after Jackson's death was disbelieved by almost no one.
- But whatever else he may be, he is not a gay fish.
- Lady Gaga, although it's mostly due to her intentionally being as ridiculous as possible. Some think she's doing it to satirize an increasingly crazy entertainment/tabloid industry that is obsessed with this. Others... just think she's crazy. Still others point out that she could easily be both.
- Ozzy Osbourne. The self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness. About half of this image was self-cultivated, rather like Michael Jackson (except for the image of sheer craziness rather than bizarre mystique) and the rest is due to bad decisions resulting from drug and alcohol binges.
- Yoshiki Hayashi, hide, Taiji Sawada... hell, ALL of the members of X Japan.
- The late Ol' Dirty Bastard.
- Keith Moon. Alice Cooper himself once said "40% of what you've heard about me, or Iggy or or Ozzy is probably true. Everything you've ever heard about Keith Moon is true. And you've only heard a tenth of it."
- In 2007, Keith Richards made headlines when he was quoted as having snorted his father's ashes with cocaine. No one had any trouble believing this was true.
- Christian Weston Chandler, creator of Sonichu.
- Muammar Gaddafi, a country's former ruler.
- Donald Trump: Is there much of anything you can't imagine coming out of his mouth anymore? "I am the chosen one!" indeed.
- The late Seattle restraunter Ivar Haglund was notorious for his Crazy Awesome stunts. Buying the local TV station to give yourself an excuse to sing Norwegian folk songs for an hour a week? Sending the City Building department a protest in metered rhyme? Taking a baby seal in a pram to meet Santa? Running for office and getting elected as a joke? Underwater billboards?! Yeah. The local newspapers never knew what he was going to pull.
- Older Than Radio example: Marie Antoinette. She was viewed as a symbol of the decadent monarchy and nobility that was running France into the ground, with the final straw being the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, in which a prominent courtier was tricked by a con artist into buying the priceless trinket under the impression he was doing her a discreet favour. There was no proof of her involvement, and most historians feel that she had nothing to do with it, but her reputation was so bad that nobody doubted it. She and the monarchy lost what little credibility they still had with the French people, and The French Revolution broke out a few years later.
- Stage moms and pageant parents in general. One recent example is that of Kerry Campbell, who allegedly gave her eight-year-old daughter Botox injections, then defended this practice (claiming it was never too early get your child cosmetic surgery to "get rid of the lines") and claimed that other pageant moms practiced this as well. The fact that the whole story turned out to be fake did nothing to dispel it.
- The entire state of Florida, so much that we even have a trope about it.
- The Stig from Top Gear is often hyped this way in-show. This does include his other relatives.
- The man loves the birds. Even before boxing.
- Seriously. It's kind of hilarious, actually, since announcers started saying things like "World Peace for 3"...at first with all kinds of subtle jokes, and then seriously after all the jokes got old...which is itself kinda funny.