Beards In Pop Culture: Joaquin Phoenix

joaquin phoenix

It’s 2009 and showing no signs of his looming retirement, David Letterman introduces his guest for the evening. A bedraggled mess of a man stumbles out. 

His dark sunglasses and huge fluffy beard are not what we expect from the name attached to this guest. It’s Joaquin Phoenix and he is about to give his most memorable interview yet.

Phoenix stumbles and mumbles through a conversation that often feels carried solely by Letterman, with Phoenix’s disinterest strongly apparent. There’s something about a rap career in there, everything else is barely audible.

It takes over a year for Phoenix to apologise to Letterman for his unwitting participation in the interview being used toward Phoenix’s upcoming mockumentary, “I’m Still Here.” Directed by his brother in law Casey Affleck, the film is about a Hollywood actor wishing to throw it all away and become a hip-hop star. I suppose the allure of Jared Leto must be stronger in tinseltown than any of us realise.

Ultimately the film broke records for the most money per theatre, so I suppose it could be said to be a success? What we really care about though is that beard. This is Beardspo, after all. Not Lettermanspo? I guess.

That was horrible. I apologise. But… What a beard!

Unfortunately there’s no real time frame I can put on the age of the beard, but who cares how long it took to grow when instead we can bask in its majesty. The furore of attention it received was unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Has Phoenix lost his mind? Who cares. The man can grow a beard. The man can grow a hell of a beard. But that’s not all he can grow.

The first we see of Phoenix with facial hair is a horrible little scrap of fuzz on his chin in the film 8mm. A few years later we are treated to an understated full beard in Reservation Road. A year later it grew into the majesty that he wore while falling off stages and making talk show hosts uncomfortable.  And then Her came about and we were treated to quite an affable moustache.

But boy oh boy, Inherent Vice was released earlier this year and the chops he wore in that harken back to the days of old, well before my year of birth. Yes. The 70s.

Joaquin Phoenix’s beard may have made some people uncomfortable and scratch their heads. However, it should be remembered for the great beard it was.

Thanks Joaquin. We appreciate you sharing it with us.

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Written by Jack Nichollas

Profile photo of Jack Nichollas

My beard is the first thing I have liked about my face in my entire life. It's nice liking your own face.
I am also passionate about theatre/drama, writing and reading, vidyagamez, music and movies and television.
I have been Straight Edge for over a decade.