Brad Pitt, Mickey Rourke & more: Memorable celebrity beards

Beards. Sometimes they're a good idea, sometimes not so much. But you can't escape the fact that they're a) manly and b) super manly. We've got a beard competition in town at Sauce Soundbar tonight, so in celebration we've gathered together some celebrity beards (the good and the awful) that will haunt the rest of your days.

Jim Carey

​If you owe your career to an impossibly (over) expressive rubber-face, it seems like growing a thick mat of fur over 60 percent of your face would be a wee bit counterproductive.  Then again so many of Jim Carey vehicles are CGI driven these days, maybe it doesn't even matter at this point. With his fierce full-fledged beard, Carrey looks like Bill Hicks near the end of his bout of pancreatic cancer, which is probably the first and last time the two comedoc icons have been likened to another.

Al Gore

​It's hard to know how to classify the improbable salt-and-pepper number ported by our former vice president circa 2001. Was it a Grief Beard, grown to express the pain of his recent loss in the presidential recount? Was it a Beard of Academic Gravitas, befitting his stint teaching at Columbia Journalism School? Our best guess is that it was a Chrysalis Beard, a protective outer shell behind which the political also-ran could metamorphose into a shimmering butterfly of global-warming doomsaying.

Mickey Rourke

We can't really lay all the blame for Mickey Rourke's increasingly terrifying visage on his facial hair, but let's just say this: it's not helping. Laid over the unstable plastic foundation of his permanent surgical leer, Rourke's moustache-Van-Dyke combination looks like an early-stage caterpillar infestation. Without the facial hair, he'd just look like a burn-unit patient. With it, he looks like a burn patient whose malicious orderly Captain-Morganed him with a Sharpie while he slept. It may seem like an insignificant difference, but when you're in Rourke's position, every shred of dignity counts.

Zach Galifianakis

His facial hair made almost as big an impression in The Hangover as he did, which explains why he's better known as "beard guy."  But that didn't stop Galifianaki from shaving off his furry friend during his recent gig hosting Saturday Night Live. As Vampire Weekend played its second song of the night, Zach dashed backstage to bid adieu to the beard. He must have regretted the rash decision--perhaps it was the roofies?--because he donned a fake beard to bid the audience goodbye.
Brad Pitt

One half of the Angelina Jolie Home For Downtrodden Foreign Kids as been "bored" lately, so he grew out the stupidest little goatee you ever did see - rendering one of the hottest men in Hollywood (dare we say it?) ugly. Combined with a slouched-back stocking cap, the leading man was reduced to looking like your college pot dealer. Shave it off, Brad, for the sake of sexual fantasies everywhere.

David Letterman

Guy with high pressure job in the big city takes a vacation, and what's the first thing to go? That's right. The razor. And so it came to pass that David Letterman, sidelined for two months by the Writers Guild of America strike starting in late 2008, popped up on the nation's TV screens again after hiatus with a gloriously flecked-with-gray gruff.

Joaquin Phoenix

Beards can mean many things. When well-trimmed, a beard worn by a politician or professor can signify that a person is an intellectual or a stately elder. When younger-types shave their facial hair to fit the look du jour, it can instantly make one realize that that person is a hipster. Then there are crazy beards, like the one that Joaquin Phoenix has been sporting lately. Usually worn with sunglasses and an unruly head of hair, crazy beards come off as some sort of defense mechanism. Much like an unkempt lawn, people don't want to cross it because whatever is in the house has to be far, far worse. When it's time to shave the beard off you know that something bad is going to happen. Just ask Richie Tenenbaum.

Saddam Hussein's "I'm a goner, so fuck it" beard

If you are going to be caught in a cellar as the whole world searches for you, you might as well be rocking the scraggly old man homeless beard. And that's exactly how Sadaam Hussein did it. In Dec. 2003, troops were able to track down his whereabouts and captured Hussein alive... nasty beard and all. He probably would have sported it till his death, but apparently he had to be shaved to prove it was actually him. Yes, it was that bad. Please refrain from this style unless your capture and death sentence is imminent.

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