Ian Spector '09, whose online Chuck Norris fact generator brought him Internet fame, an appearance on VH1 and a book deal, has a theory about the success of his jokes. "It has nothing to do with Chuck Norris, per se," said Spector. "People find things funny when you have two things that are asynchronous ... and put them together."
With his new book, Spector is testing that theory. While it includes 200 new "facts" about the "Walker, Texas Ranger" star, Spector also includes 200 tidbits about Mr. T, the mohawked star of 1980's action show "The A-Team." The book, which includes Spector's own content as well as user-submitted facts from his Web site, 4Q.cc, is entitled: "Chuck Norris vs. Mr. T: 400 Facts About the Baddest Dudes in the History of Ever."
It is set to be released on Nov. 25.
The new book is a sequel to his first compendium of Chuck Norris facts, "The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World's Greatest Human," released in November 2007 by Gotham Books. The book sold well, appearing on the New York Times Bestseller List for four weeks and reaching number one on several of Amazon.com's lists of top-selling fiction and humor literature.
Given the first book's success, Spector said he was not surprised Gotham approached him about a second book. "I could tell in their heads they always wanted to do the sequel if (the first book) sold well," he said.
While his Web traffic has died down, Spector said his book has been selling steadily at a pace of 800 to 1,000 copies a week. "That's kind of been stable since early this year, which apparently is remarkable," he said.
There are currently 198,000 copies of the book in print, and Penguin recently ordered the printing of 25,000 more.
Spector declined to say how much money he has made from the book but said most of his earnings are going toward his Brown tuition.
The book's success also led Chuck Norris to file a lawsuit in December 2007 in which he claimed that the book misrepresented him. The lawsuit was settled in the spring, but Spector said that the publishing company still had to pay "a fortune" in legal fees.
The cover of the new book includes a subheading listing it as an "unauthorized parody."
While the new book's cover depicts Norris and Mr. T locked in hand-to-hand combat, Spector said those who want to know which action star would win in a fight will have to make their own determinations based on the facts presented - the book doesn't arrive at a definitive answer. While some of the facts are interchangeable, Spector said, the Chuck Norris facts tend to focus on roundhouse kicks, the Wild West and beards, while the Mr. T facts "are more about gold chains and pitying fools."
"It takes on a much darker and sophisticated tone than the first one," Spector joked.
Spector said he has enjoyed working on the books, but, he added, "I don't see a third."
Instead, he's working on a Web project with several people that he met through the Brown University Entrepreneurship Program, of which he is co-president. The project is a ranking and social networking site for comedy video.