Here is a brief Q&A, as a little tease of my upcoming conversation with Ian Spector — creator of the Chuck Norris facts meme and author of five Chuck Norris fact books, the most recent being Chuck Norris: Longer and Harder: The Complete Chronicle of the World’s Deadliest, Sexiest, and Beardiest Man.
What inspired the creation of the original Chuck Norris Facts?
It wasn’t so much inspiration as it was boredom. In the spring of 2005, I started my site with Vin Diesel Facts. After a couple of million visits to the site, I put up a poll to see who else should be included. There were about twelve options in the list as well as a write-in option and more people wrote in “Chuck Norris” than voted for anything else.
How long had the website been up before you were approached about a book?
Less than a year, closer to 7-8 months.
Did you expect the website, and then the book, to become a pop culture phenomenon?
Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks, “I’m going to start a wildly successful pop culture phenomenon today.”
Why do you think people are so fascinated by Chuck Norris?
I don’t know if it’s a fascination with Chuck Norris so much as it’s just people thinking they are after enjoying or being exposed to some good Chuck Norris Facts. He has pretty good inter-generational recognition in the sense that if you asked someone to describe Chuck Norris in 1978, 1988, and then again in 1998, the description probably wouldn’t change that much. It wasn’t until my “facts” came along that people suddenly were confronted with “traditional Chuck Norris” and “incredible, wild, ridiculousness” at the same time. That’s the kind of novelty that the web loves.
This is the fifth book in the series. How do you keep things fresh?
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Do you have a favorite book in the series?
No, they are all excellent alternatives to firewood and are even better as joke books.
What has been the most enjoyable part of writing the series?
Finishing it. It’s become progressively more difficult to churn out each book because I want to avoid repetition or even the appearance of repetition as much as possible.
The website-to-book process has become a lot more prevalent. How do you feel the experience has evolved from 2007, when you published your first book?
I never had any intentions of publishing a book, let alone five, so it’s been really interesting to see things progress over time. That being said, at least from my point of view, not much has actually changed beyond the number of other projects that I see popping up in the space.
Would you consider writing similar books based on other celebrities?
Depends on the celebrity. People have asked me to consider writing facts for other 80s/90s action stars like Steven Seagal or David Hasselhoff but many of the facts that I’ve put together for Chuck are target-agnostic. As in, you can swap out “Chuck Norris” for someone else, and for the most part it’s still funny.
What is your favorite current online meme?
The recent revival of Drunk Jeff Goldblum isn’t too bad.
Don’t forget, Ian Spector (@IanJSpector) will be joining me joining me, live, on the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show, Friday, December 7, 2012. You can find out more, including how to submit questions for Ian if you are unable to listen live, here.
Ian Spector started the web phenomenon of “Chuck Norris Facts” back in 2003 and is the New York Times bestselling author of The Truth About Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris vs. Mr. T and Chuck Norris Cannot Be Stopped. Ian is a graduate of Brown University.
About CHUCK NORRIS: Longer and Harder: The Complete Chronicle of the World’s Dadliest, Sexiest, and Beardiest Man
Finally, the wait is over. The most comprehensive collection of Chuck Norris facts from the New York Times bestselling series by Ian Spector is ready to blow your mind. Only the manliest of men will be able to handle this bind-up of The Truth About Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris vs. Mr. T, Chuck Norris Cannot Be Stopped, The Last Stand of Chuck Norris, and over one hundred new facts. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from these 1,500 facts about the man so powerful we quake when uttering his name: Chuck Norris.