Mick Foley's pro wrestling persona underwent multiple character changes during his career, so it follows that his stage show would change a few times, too.
Foley will perform — well, actually he'll just talk, which pro wrestlers have no problem doing — at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Fort Lauderdale Improv in Hollywood. He has been doing some kind of a show for four years, first relying on comedy, and later shifting to storytelling. His new show is titled "Mick Foley: Tales From Wrestling Past."
"One of the worst things I did was start watching other comics, then emulating them onstage," Foley says in a phone interview. "The stuff I do is best served without sound bites. I tell stories as opposed to punch lines."
Foley says wrestling fans make up most of his audience, along with "a few curiosity seekers and the really loving spouse, who almost always has a much better time than they expect to."
The one-man show is only the latest career turn Foley has taken since he began wrestling on the independent circuit in 1983. In 1999, his memoir "Have a Nice Day! A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks" appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list.
Foley joined the World Wrestling Federation in 1996 as Mankind, a mask-wearing schizophrenic. He also wrestled under the names Dude Love and Cactus Jack Manson. In a 1998 match titled "Hell in a Cell," Foley fell 20 feet when the cage atop which he was battling the Undertaker collapsed. The announcers genuinely thought he had died.
So, of course, Foley has suffered his share of injuries. He has lost two-thirds of one ear while trying to avoid asphyxiation after being trapped between a ring's ropes, dislocated his jaw three times, received 350 stitches, separated a shoulder, broken at least seven ribs, herniated five disks, undergone six knee surgeries, broken an ankle and burned himself after landing on explosive devices while wrestling in Japan.
"I had a mortgage," he says. "You'd do things you wouldn't ever do."
Foley's wrestling characters were known as being able to endure all sorts of punishment, which made him a favorite with fans. But now, his body hurts like heck. Easing his pain a bit, the WWE inducted him into its hall of fame on April 6.
"Mick Foley: Tales From Wrestling Past" will take place 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Fort Lauderdale Improv at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. Tickets cost $25, with a two-drink minimum and include a post-show meet-and-greet and opening set by Jennifer Bloodsworth, a former WWE writer. Go to ImprovFTL.com. Foley will also perform 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Miami Improv. Go to MiamiImprov.com.