The internet has spawned some wonderful comedy creations.
Among my favourites are Sh*t My Dad Says, Funny or Die and the Zach Galifianakis internet series Between Two Ferns, in which he stages fake interviews with A-list celebs who are more than willing to ‘go there’ with him.
My absolute favourite, though, is Chuck Norris Facts, an internet meme built around the concept of making up hilariously inflated ’facts’ (air quotes intended) about the world’s most famous dodgeball judge. To give you a small example…
- Ghosts sit around the campfire and tell Chuck Norris stories.
- There used to be a street named after Chuck Norris, but it was changed because nobody crosses Chuck Norris and lives.
- Chuck Norris does not sleep; he waits.
- Chuck Norris does not go hunting as this implies the possibility of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.
- Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked curiosity and the cat got in the way
- When Chuck Norris wants an egg he cracks open a chicken.
- Architects tried putting Chuck Norris’s face on Mount Rushmore but the granite wasn’t strong enough for his beard.
Now, the genius of this concept is that it quickly took on a life of its own. And these days there are several sites and apps where fans compete to come up with the best entries.
But I’ve always wondered where and how it started. And in true form, the answer lies with a tech-minded student at a loose end.
His name is Ian Spector, and he’s gone on to write four books that showcase the ‘truth’ about the Walker, Texas Ranger alumni. But as he explains in an interview here, success really began with fellow action man Vin Diesel.
“I was sitting at home. It was a Friday night. I was in high school. I couldn’t find where my friends were and I was floating around on the internet. And it actually started with Vin Diesel. We started with the Vin Diesel Facts and people were poking fun at him for being Vin Diesel and being in that movie The Pacifier.”
Setting up a random quote script, Ian went to bed and woke up the next day to discover he’d had 10,000 hits. It set the tone for the site’s popularity – boosted when he set up a link for people to submit their own ‘facts’ – but a few months later he went looking for fresh subject matter.
“I put up a poll to see who we should cover next. And there were about 12 people on the poll. And this was about 2005 so the people we were talking about were like Lindsay Lohan, Samuel L Jackson and Dick Cheney. And then there was a write in. And more people wrote in Chuck Norris than voted for anybody else.
“So I was never a huge fan, I never watched Walker, Texas Ranger, never really watched movies from the ’80s and stuff but if that’s what the internet wanted, you know, who am I to say no?”
And so the legend began.
And in the meantime, follow the link to Between Two Ferns. The Will Ferrell interview is especially hilarious.