8 Guinness World Record Attempts That Failed (Hilariously)


Are we the only ones who think that Hilariously Failed Attempts at Guinness World Records would make a better book?

We believe we have much to learn from these brave souls who, through lack of planning and/or ability, set an example for all of us not to follow.

Coconut Breaking

The Goal

To break a row of coconuts open as quickly as possible with his bare hands, thus proving once and for all man's dominance over nature.

What Went Wrong

Imagine if coconut breaking was your ultimate goal in life. Practicing long and hard on the lesser, punier fruits, calculating the ideal point at which to hit a coconut for maximum destruction, trying to find someone who actually cared about your hobby...these are all part of the trials that a coconut smasher faces in life.

Imagine the anticipation when the big day comes, when you finally get that chance to join the hallowed ranks of famed fruit and vegetable destroyers that Guinness has produced.

So you invite your friends and family to watch. You get the TV cameras there to record your triumph. You line up many, many coconuts...

...And while you manage to break both your spirit and probably your hand, you break not a single coconut.

Lesson Learned

Look, we know coconuts aren't free. But when you try to set a record of some kind, you might want to, you know, practice doing it at least once. And don't practice on, say, rotten watermelons or eggplant. Spring for a couple of real coconuts, and do a dry run before the cameras get there. You'll thank yourself later.

Sandwich Making

The Goal

To make the longest sandwich ever prepared, proving that they're better at wasting food than anyone else.

What Went Wrong

The record to beat was 1,378 meters, set by a group of Italians. To top that, an Iranian women's organization assembled more than 1,000 cooks with the goal of creating a 1,500-meter long sandwich. Even with that many people at work, making the sandwich was a process that took hours.

The event drew quite a crowd, as watching people make large sandwiches is one of Iran's most popular past times. Do you know what happens to people when they're either working or standing around in a crowd for a number of hours? They get hungry.

Making another compelling argument for why you shouldn't let strangers watch your record attempts, the observing crowd forced their way past the cooks and started eating the sandwich before its record length could be verified. Reports of a Scooby Dooesque scene where the crowd chomped at one end of the sandwich while the cooks frantically tried to out-build them at the other remain unconfirmed.

Lesson Learned

When inviting a hungry crowd to a lengthy event that revolves around not eating, maybe you should provide a snack or two.

Fire Walking

The Goal

To have as many people walk through a pit of hot coals as possible, demonstrating the power of peer pressure in getting people to do stupid things.

What Went Wrong

Shockingly, of the three hundred and forty-one people who gathered to take part in the attempt, some of them didn't know what they were doing. Despite strict supervision and training, twenty-eight people ended up being treated for burns and eleven of them had to be taken to the hospital.

The attempt was designed to double as a fundraising effort for New Zealand's ambulance service and in that sense it was a success, raising one thousand dollars for the cause. That is, it was a success until well over that amount had to be spent treating all the injuries. At least a number of doctors were on hand to watch the event, so help came quickly. Something tells us the bedside manner of those doctors was a lot more sarcastic and bitter than usual.

"According to this X-ray, you're not retarded. Well, that can't be right."

Lesson Learned

If you're going to raise money for a health service, try doing something that doesn't inevitably involve horrible burn wounds.


The Goal

To assemble as many people dressed and painted as Smurfs as possible, proving...well...you know, we're not exactly sure what this one is supposed to prove.

What Went Wrong

The event was organized quite well, but those in charge forgot one key step: figuring out what the old record was. Thinking that the previous largest number of Smurf-clad adults gathered in one place couldn't have been higher than, say, one, 395 Croats--all of whom apparently had Smurf costumes handy--assembled and waited to enter the annals of pointless world record history.

Unfortunately for the group, 451 students from Warwick University had beaten them to it the previous year, rending their accomplishment somehow even sadder than it already was.

We're curious as to the exact point in time these people learned they had failed. Was it well after they had thrown their funny little hats into the air, joyously celebrating what they thought was a victory for the entire nation of Croatia? Or had Guinness informed them from the start and they decided to forge ahead anyway, truly capturing the spirit of what the Smurfs stand for? Either way, this attempt was no doubt an emotional roller coaster from start to finish.

Lesson Learned

When trying to break a world record, it's probably worth your time to check what the record is first. Also, the sight of hundreds of people dressed as Smurfs is fucking creepy in ways we can't fully comprehend.


The Goal

To free-fall from 34 kilometers above the Earth's surface, breaking the sound barrier in the process. Also, to prove that some Guinness Records are actually pretty badass.

What Went Wrong

A balloon that was part of the mechanism designed to carry the aspiring record-setter (Michel Fournier) into the air detached from its capsule as it was being inflated and floated away. No problem, just go get another balloon, right? Oh, wait... it cost five hundred thousand dollars.

Fournier spoke in a press conference after the attempt, saying "This is the first time that something like this has arisen." While demonstrating his ability to make puns in the midst of stressful situations, Fournier also assured the public that it was merely a simple mechanical problem that kept him from getting off the ground. Unfortunate, but at least technically speaking the idea was sound, and it's not as though he's in the habit of wasting money or anything, right?

Oh, wait. Did we mention Fournier had attempted this once before, and failed that time as well? Combined, the two attempts have set him back nearly twenty million dollars. Hell, with that much money lying around why not just buy the rights to the book and make up some record so specific that you're the only one who could possibly hold it? "Most Money Wasted Attempting to Get Into the Guinness Book of Records" has a nice ring to it.

Lesson Learned

After a certain point in time, you just have to cut your losses and accept the inevitable. And that that point in time was well before you invested twenty million dollars.


The Goal

To demonstrate that Ghandi was a pussy who could have held out for way longer.

What Went Wrong

Agasi Vartanyan, the Russian making the attempt, forgot one key step: telling Guinness he was doing it. In order to successfully make it into the book, you must first inform Guinness of the attempt, which they then look into and approve. Vartanyan, on the other hand, decided it would be better if he sat in a giant plastic cube for fifty days first, and then dealt with all that boring and tedious paperwork once he got out.

Before doing that though, he berated the reporters who had gathered around to watch him emerge for not providing enough coverage of his record attempt. We're not sure, but we suspect that had something to do with the fact that he technically wasn't making an attempt at all. Plus "Day 38: Yup, he's still sitting in there" doesn't make for a very good headline. After ranting at the media he hopped into his car and drove off, presumably to learn a valuable lesson about how bureaucracy works.

Oh, and even if he had filled out all the proper forms and had his attempt adjudicated by Guinness, he would have failed anyway. The book lists the record for longest hunger strike as 94 days, set by jailed Irish Republicans in 1920.

Lesson Learned

That perhaps we were too hard on the Croatian Smurfs up there.

Domino Toppling

The Goal

To set up four million dominoes and then knock them all over, each one representing seconds of precious time those involved will never, ever get back.

What Went Wrong

Four million dominoes require a very large building, in this case a Dutch convention centre. Like any large building, it's possible for animals to get inside from time to time. Oh, yeah, you know where this is going.

A sparrow flew into the building during setup and, while it didn't knock over all four million of the dominoes, it did knock over 23,000 of them. Little did the sparrow know that domino standing volunteers, usually a passive and meek bunch, are quick to anger when their hard work is toppled prematurely. They cornered the bird and shot it, presumably knocking over countless dominoes during their blind rage.

Seriously, don't fuck with these people.

Their brutal vigilante justice quickly backfired when they learned that the one thing the Dutch love more than record breaking dominoes are cute birds. Animal rights groups threatened to investigate, a tribute website for the sparrow was set up and contests were announced to reward anyone who managed to further damage the attempt.

The television station that was broadcasting the affair even started to receive personal threats, likely in the form of photographs of knocked over dominoes. Oh, and did we mention the bird they shot was endangered? That kind of pissed people off too.

Lesson Learned

Always check for unpredictable animals before investing hundreds of man-hours into a project that can be destroyed by a gentle touch. Guinness learned a valuable lesson as well, choosing to cancel the announcement of their upcoming "Most Endangered Birds Killed by an Angry Mob" record.

Bar Hopping

The Goal

To visit as many bars as possible in a single night while consuming at least a pint at each establishment, while pretending this is being done in the name of setting some kind of record.

What Went Wrong

We're sure you don't need us to explain the many, many ways this one could go wrong. What you probably won't think of is what happened in this case: Guinness declined to oversee the attempt because the man behind it, Larry Olmsted, had been blacklisted by the organization.

Olmsted had previously held the world record for the greatest distance travelled between two rounds of golf played on the same day. Not content to simply bask in the glory, Olmsted planned more attempts. But in between, he wrote a book that chronicled both his own record attempt and the history behind Guinness Records as a whole. Guinness didn't take kindly to it, calling the book an unauthorized association with the company. Apparently, the history of Guinness Records is full of dark and shameful moments that the public can't be allowed to know about.

"That book is an insult to the dignity of everyone who owns a Guinness Record."

When Olmsted made his application for a new record attempt he learned that Guinness was looking to taking legal action against his book, and so they wouldn't consider any applications from him until the matter was settled. Word has it that Olmsted made the attempt anyway, not in the name of setting a Guinness record but because it was Wednesday night.

"I'll make my own Guinness book. Then we'll see who can't get in."

Lesson Learned

That a book that contains information about the most dogs married at one time and the fastest game of Operation ever played is extremely serious business.

For more stories from the realm of stupidity, check out The 5 Most Retarded Causes People Are Actually Fighting For. Or check out the dipshits that took it a step too far in 6 People Who Died In Order To Prove A (Retarded) Point.

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