Yelm Man Breaks World Record on National Television

Joel Strasser Appeared on ‘Live with Kelly and Ryan’ on Sept. 21


People with long beards like Joel Strasser’s might be used to getting food stuck in their tangle, but Strasser puts objects there on purpose.

He was featured on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” on Tuesday, Sept. 21 as he beat his own Guinness World Record for the most pencils put in one’s beard at one time while live on national television.

By the time the credits rolled, he had increased his record to 456 pencils from 450.

“It was incredible,” Strasser said of his time on the show. “They reached out to me in advance to see if I would go break the record for most pencils in a beard. … I didn’t want to break that record, because it’s the hardest one. I thought there was a good chance I would go on the show and not be able to break my own record. It would still be fun, but it wouldn’t be awesome if I went on and I didn’t break my own record.”

So he tried to talk the showrunners into letting him break a different record, or have Guinness create a new record for him to set.

“I was trying to work that angle, but they were like, ‘No, we really want you to do the pencils.’ … So that’s what I went and did,” Strasser said.

The reason he was hesitant is because the amount of time needed to put that many pencils in his beard can be unpredictable.

“I practiced it a number of times and it always takes a different amount of time to get that many pencils (in my beard). I don’t know why,” he said. “I can do it in under an hour, or I can do it in an hour and a half, or anything in between. It just depends for some reason.

This posed a challenge for the “Live” showrunners, but Strasser dutifully showed up to expose his talent to the nation.

“We really tried to get the plan down just right,” Strasser said. “It was pretty stressful. I was trying to remain calm and everything, but it was a little stressful trying to do it and do it within the timeframe. But the producers were awesome. They were juggling and scrambling behind the scenes.”

Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest were also interviewing a celebrity and a musical guest, and the producers had to move the musician around in the lineup of the show to best accommodate when Strasser might be finished with the record, he said.

“It all worked out awesome,” Strasser said.

During the show, Seacrest reportedly was intrigued with Strasser’s process.

“Ryan Seacrest was hilarious,” Strasser said. “He kept cracking jokes. … He kept coming over in the commercials, and he really wanted to touch my pencil-beard while I was doing it. Kelly was like, ‘Stop. Get away from him. You’re going to mess him up.’

“And then at the very end, when I finally broke the record, he was like, ‘Can I touch it now?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, grab on. Touch away.’ And he was feeling the beard full of pencils. He loved it.”

Strasser gave Ripa and Seacrest a pencil from the beard when all was said and done.

In all, Strasser holds 10 Guinness World Records for putting objects in his beard.

He has put 3,500 toothpicks, 312 plastic straws, 534 paper straws, 607 golf tees, 520 chopsticks, 542 beard ornaments, 121 forks, 359 clothespins and 456 pencils in his beard and has also been able to put 62 toothpicks in his bread in one minute.

His record-breaking pursuits began at work, where he teaches people at State Farm Insurance how to make auto claims for clients.

“I would walk around the classroom and put things in my beard just to see who was paying attention, like in the afternoons if I was losing people. That’s how it kind of started. And then one of the learners challenged me and was like, ‘How many pencils can you fit in your beard,’” he said.

Once he tried it out, he got the bug and the first record he broke was the one for most toothpicks in a beard at one time.

Recently, Strasser went head-to-head with Dean Banowetz, “The Hollywood Hair Guy,” to see who could fit more bobby pins in their beard for a fundraiser in Los Angeles, which raised money for two families who had lost a parent to cancer.

Strasser lost the contest, but the record was broken by his opponent.

People can still donate to the fundraiser at and the video of the contest can be viewed online at

“When we hit our fundraising goal, (Banowetz) is going to shave my beard off,” Strasser said.

Folks can keep up with Strasser’s antics on YouTube at and at the Instagram handle     @joelnert.