Twenty-four year old Ian Spector has been making waves in the internet world by poking fun at 90’s action hero and Walker, Texas Ranger star, Chuck Norris. Just a year after graduating from Brown University, Ian has made millions of fans laugh (and cringe!) with his Chuck Norris-inspired books, The Truth About Chuck Norris, Chuck vs. Mr. T and Chuck Norris Cannot Be Stopped. Combined, the three humor books have boosted a total of over 760,000 copies in print…and counting!
Now, Ian is back with 400 all new Chuck Norris facts in The Last Stand of Chuck Norris, the fourth book in the New York Times bestselling series, which goes on sale today.
FOG! had the opportunity to chat with Ian about all things Chuck!
They actually started with Vin Diesel.
I was poking around the web and found a thread in this forum where people were basically coming up with these hilarious one-line fake facts about him.
At the time I was running a web hosting company and had some spare domain names and threw together a quick site where the best ones could be viewed randomly. After a few million hits to “Vin,” I put up a poll to see who we should cover next. This was in mid-2005, so the options that were listed were people like Lindsay Lohan, Samuel L. Jackson, Dick Cheney, etc…. but we also had a write-in option and more people wrote in “Chuck Norris” than had voted for anyone else and the rest, I suppose, is history.
I was a little skeptical of adding in Chuck since I’m not actually that familiar with his work, but if that’s what the internet wanted, that’s what they were going to get.
Once you started publishing them online, what took it from a site to a phenomenon?
Well, text on the internet is the easiest thing to copy, paste, and send elsewhere, especially in chain emails which definitely made their way around the web.
I also think the fact that I kept strict quality control on submissions also helped a lot — about 95%-99% of all submissions never make the cut. The original site required the user to refresh the page to see a new fact and I knew that if we didn’t have consistently good material coming through the pipe that people wouldn’t come back.
Perhaps the biggest thing of all was that a few months after the launch of the “Chuck” site, someone posted a link to the top “Chuck” facts on CollegeHumor.com and that’s when things really started to explode.
When did you realize that it was as big as it was?
The morning after I created the site, I saw there were 10,000 hits. That was pretty impressive considering I only posted one link to the site, was still in high school and had no real plans for taking it anywhere.
What makes Norris unique as opposed to Van Damme, Segal or Lungren?
Probably a mix of his obscurity pre-2005 … and the beard.
Honestly, part of the secret sauce is that it doesn’t always matter whose name you stick into the rest of the fact. That’s also partly why I never expanded to include those other guys.
Do you think that web-phenomenons can be created and that the audience can be determined, or is it all a fluke/random when something succeeds?
It’s certainly possible but not always easy. You can’t force a meme, it has to develop on its own. From a business/entrepreneurial view, sure. But it all comes down to the execution and how the audience interacts with the content.
What’s your favorite Chuck Norris-ism?
There are a lot. I’m pretty proud of “Chuck Norris discovered cold fusion by pouring two beers into one glass.”
We’re giving away two copies of Ian’s book, The Last Stand of Chuck Norris.
To enter, please send an email with your name and address and the subject header “CHUCK NORRIS” to geekcontest @ gmail dot com and answer the following question:
U.S. residents only. You must be 18 years old. Only one entry per person and a winner will be chosen at random.
Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on May 29, 2011