‘Whisker Wars’ Hall of Fame Inductees are a Beard Apart

by | September 10, 2011 at 8:50 AM | TV News

IFC's bearded wonders (clockwise from upper left): Zach Galifianakis, Abraham Lincoln, Joaquin Phoenix, Grigoriy Rasputin (Photos: Getty Images)

IFC's bearded wonders (clockwise from upper left): Zach Galifianakis, Abraham Lincoln, Joaquin Phoenix, Grigoriy Rasputin (Photos: Getty Images)

Zach Galifianakis and Abraham Lincoln in the same Hall of Fame?! What’s that all about?

The two-word answer: Facial hair. The comic actor of HBO’s “Bored to Death” and the “Hangover” movies (Galifianakis), and the 16th President of the United States revered as The Great Emancipator (Lincoln) are two of the first group of inductees in the IFC Whisker Wars Hall of Fame. IFC announced the inductees this week.

The on-line shrine has been created by the offbeat cable channel (“Always On. Slightly Off.”) in connection with its series “Whisker Wars,” produced by Thom Beers – the prolific producer of a wide range of unscripted TV shows, from “Deadliest Catch” to “Storage Wars.” “Whisker Wars” is the series that sheds light on the little-known subculture of competitive beard and mustache growers who compete in facial-hair face-offs around the country.

In conjunction with the series, IFC polled 10,000 people to come up with its first class of Hall of Fame inductees, and also to help gauge the popularity of facial-hour growth today – a trend made popular by pop culture figures such as Galifianakis, eccentric movie actor Joaquin Phoenix (who sported a beard during a particularly introverted phase a year or two back) and even Conan O’Brien, who famously sported the chin spinach after he left NBC.

In fact, Phoenix and O’Brien were both among those picked in the “Sometimes Bearded” category, along with occasionally unshaven David Letterman and Brad Pitt. Galifianakis was inducted in the “Television & Movies” group, along with such bearded legends as Chuck Norris and Mr. T.

Also inducted: New York Knick legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier (in the “Sports” category), Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant (“Politics”), mad Russian Grigoriy Rasputin (“Historical figures”), and rockers ZZ Top and Hasidic rapper Matisyahu (“Music”).

As for the poll respondents’ attitudes about beards, the IFC study included a variety of questions on the subject. Our favorite was: “[Who is the] clean-shaven public figure you would most like to see in a beard?” The top answers: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Jersey Shore’s” Pauly D, Justin Bieber and Ryan Seacrest.

“Whisker Wars” airs Friday nights at 11/10c on IFC.


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