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Whizzer

Um, you might want to pick a better name, bro. And a different costume color.

Hey, you'd know what would be a better name than the Gay Ghost? Anything. I mean c'mon now, seriously...

All right, you've got the powers, got the costume, got the cool origin story, now you just need to pick the perfect superhero name. Maybe you go with something that describes your powers, or a grim n' gritty one-syllable name. Surely you're the next classic superhero, with an Awesome McCoolname superhero name to go with it.

Wait, what's this? Why is everybody laughing? Surely evildoers would tremble at the mere utterance of your name! Or not. Sorry, pal. You need to get a better name if the Legion of Doom is going to take you as a serious threat. You've got yourself a Fail O'Suckyname.

Once you have committed this, there is no turning back. The name will catch on and that's how you will be known from here on. Your only hope is to become famous enough one day for everyone to not automatically think of something else when they hear it.

Many are the reasons for having such a malodorous moniker: Maybe you were originally published in The Golden Age of Comic Books, when certain slang terms had different meanings. Maybe you're using a fairly standard Something Person naming convention and your powers don't exactly make for an intimidating name.

A specific type of Unfortunate Name. See also The Adjectival Superhero, Have a Gay Old Time (the cause for most names on this list), Giver of Lame Names.

Please note that this trope is only about embarassing names that the character specifically chooses. If it's a name the person was born with, see Unfortunate Names.

Examples of Fail O'Suckyname include:


Anime

  • Gohan from Dragonball Z picked the name 'The Great Saiyaman', complete with ridiculous costume. He never seemed to notice the bystanders he just saved were staring at him incredulously. The one time he actually was called out for his ridiculous name, he started throwing a tantrum that terrified the wits out of the poor guys.
  • Ships in Martian Successor Nadesico are named after flowers. One of them has the unfortunate name of the Pansy. Guess what happens to it in battle.
  • Bleach gives us a hilarious in-universe fictional example in the form of the Seaweed Ambassador. It's made all the funnier by the fact that his creator, Byakuya, is the Aloof Big Brother.
  • Gundam: Sai Argyle, Allelujah and depending on the romanization, Quattro Bajina or Quattro Vagina.
  • Sentai parody Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman. All of the protagonists are office drones in their daily life and the color uniforms they wear are the result of their bosses questioning them on good colors. Unfortunately, they chose these colors before they found out about the sentai-thing, assuming they were choosing colors good for business. Thus, you get characters announcing themselves as the "Moss green" and "Salmon pink" Rangers.
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn: The character Shitt. P. of the Shimon family.
  • Death Note - "Kira" (a corruption of "killer") means "glittering" in Japanese. However anyone who dares mock Lord Kira shall suffer a sudden inexplicable heart attack.
  • In the series Clannad, several alternative names for the protagonist were suggested in a scene, but were not actually relevant beyond characterizing the two new characters that were introduced.
  • In Busou Renkin, the protagonist spent half of an episode coming up with stereotypically crappy names for his weapon and attack.
  • Back when he was in high school, Kotetsu from Tiger and Bunny spent quite a bit of effort on thinking of possible superhero names he would use in the future. He was not very good at it.

 Tomoe: Okay, let's see... "Fate Wanderer: The Destiny", "Fearful Body: The Muscle", and "The Prince of Fists, Mr. Punch". They all suck. You're terrible at this.

Kotetsu: Y-You don't have to say it like that...

  • One legendary Bully Hunter in Daily Lives of High School Boys is called "Rubber Shooter." While the Japanese themselves has no doubt as for what it meant -- "Rubber" means rubber bands in Japanese -- due to Separated by a Common Language, other from other parts would have issues understanding what he shooted. This is particularly embarrassing for the Americans.


Comic Books

  • Pictured above is the Whizzer, who has pretty much been a walking joke since The Silver Age of Comic Books due to his snicker-inducing name (for non-US readers, "taking a whizz" means urinating). The fact that his costume is yellow probably doesn't help matters. His origin? Mongoose blood gives you superpowers! In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, even Spider-Man laughs at his name and pee-yellow costume. When Spidey asks the Whizzer why he chose his name, the Whizzer says it was the sound he made when he ran, and that it sounded better in the 50s. Deadpool also riffs on him a bit for it at one point. [1] When the character debuted in 1939, football player (and later US Supreme Court Justice) Byron "Whizzer" White had been playing in the NFL for a year, having been given the nickname by a newspaper columnist during his college career. So perhaps it made more sense at the time.
    • For some kind of 70th anniversary thing, Marvel did a story set in the Golden Age where he explained that "Whizzer" was his college nickname - he thought they were calling him "Wizard", and by the time he worked out they weren't...
      • Good job The Beano isn't available in the US - it has a character called Billy Whizz, named that for the same reason as the Whizzer (he has super speed).
  • Also in the Spider-Man universe, the Shocker gets this, presumably because his name is also a term for a sexual act (and an obscene gesture.) Being a Deadpan Snarker, Spider-Man makes fun of these folks. In Ultimate Spider-Man when Spidey first meets the Shocker and asks him "Who are you supposed to be? The Vibrator?" Also from Spider-Man, Kraven the Hunter apparently forgot that "craven" means "cowardly. They try to justify it by revealing his full name to be "Sergei Kravinoff".
    • Others from Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery: Jackson "Big Wheel" Wheele; Frederick "Big Man" Foswell; Jason "Demogoblin" Macendale (what, is he the goblin you try in the store before you decide you want to buy it?); Miss Arrow (if only for the implication that she isn't a good shot). Spider-Man also got a lot of amusement out of the name "Night Thrasher". He thinks it makes him sound like he has terrible nightmares. In one issue, Spidey teams up with Thrasher and The Punisher. Naturally, Spidey doesn't get along with either of them (both of them being Darker and Edgier heroes), and eventually grumbles about being lectured by "One guy who sounds like he has naughty dreams and another guy who sounds like he likes to spank people." Then there was the time the Blue Shield attempted to apprehend Spider-Man for not registering with the Initiative. Spider-Man took the time to question why his health insurance premiums had gone up so much (for non-US posters, Blue Shield is also the name of a major health insurance company).
  • Marvel Comics' "The Trapster" originally went by Paste Pot Pete. He still gets mocked for that from time to time. (In fact, bringing it up is his Berserk Button.) One flashback story had Spider-Man encountering Pete while Paste-Pot was preparing to ambush the Human Torch. Before a fight could ensue, Paste-Pot announced his name-causing Spidey to break into laughter. Paste-Pot is so insulted and disgusted by Spidey's mockery he simply gives up and walks off, muttering something about needing to change his name.
  • A Superman comic once featured a retired supervillain called the Molester. He kept explaining that when he chose the name (during The Golden Age of Comic Books), molest meant 'to annoy' and that he was supposed to be a playful villain like the Prankster.
  • Golden Age superhero Doll Man.
  • In an issue of X-Factor the heroes are confronted by a villain calling himself Number One Fan (with spinning blades as his main weapons) leading one member of X-Factor to comment that "We must be just about tapped out of silly names to call ourselves". When Kitty Pryde heard of the name "Negasonic Teenage Warhead," her reaction was similar: "Wow, we really have run out of names." Negasonic Teenage Warhead had been dead since the Genoshan massacre. Before her death, she planned to name herself after the song. (Furthermore, her death caused Emma Frost a mental breakdown. Suddenly, not so funny...) X-Factor also features Strong Guy (a.k.a. Guido Carosella), who picked his name on the spot when a reporter saw his exaggerated musculature and said "He must be the Strong Guy. Every super team has a Strong Guy." Needless to say, Guido wasn't taking things very seriously. But Guido insisted on sticking with the name.
  • The X-Men's monkey-like, teleporting mutant Kurt Wagner uses the alias Nightcrawler. And it would be perfectly cool for a superhero name, except for one problem--a nightcrawler is also an earthworm.
  • The second issue of Heroes, Anonymous revolves around the struggles faced by a sheltered farmboy who takes up the mantle of the legendary Gay Avenger without having the slightest clue that to modern ears, "gay" immediately suggests "homosexual". However, after discovering this, he's dedicated to keeping the name out of respect for his grandfather, the original Gay Avenger.
    • The first issue also briefly flirts with this; former sidekick Attaboy finds his name inappropriate in adulthood, but sticks with it because "Attaman" doesn't have quite the same ring.
  • Hero Happy Hour features Night Ranger, a Batman-style grim vigilante who is often called "Sister Christian" by associates after the title of the hit song by the band Night Ranger.
  • While he was alive "Freedom Ring" got a lot of flack for having a pretty dumb alias. It was also invoked gay symbolism -- "freedom rings" are rainbow-colored rings on a chain, a well-known gay signifier of the '90s. This, however, was likely intentional as the character was an open homosexual, and prior to being killed by evil alternate universe Tony Stark, Iron Maniac, Freedom Ring was the most prominent gay superhero in Marvel. Creator Robert Kirkman regretted killing the character as he represented about 20% of the overall homosexual hero census in the Universe.
  • Batman villain Mr. Polka-Dot. Also Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Whose real names are Dumphrey Dumson and Deever Tweed. And Humpty Dumpty, who bears the unfortunate real name of Humphry Dumpler.
  • Spider-Man villainess "The White Rabbit", which is hardly a name to inspire terror. Then again, she's not at all scary anyway.
  • Dr. Drool.
  • During the time the Blackhawks became superheroes, some of them got ridiculous names to go with their equally silly costumes. The already silly-named Chop-Chop became "Dr. Hands," and Chuck became "The Listener," complete with ear-covered costume.
  • During the time the Dark Age of Supernames reigned supreme, names trying to sound "extreme" or "kool" usually ended up being hilarious instead. D-list Captain America villain "Blistik" sounds more like a lip balm than a serious threat. [2]
  • Speedball probably crosses into this territory when you realise that a brightly-coloured, bouncy comic relief character shares his name with a lethal drugs cocktail that's polished off more entertainment careers than Celebrity Big Brother.
    • Either Steve Ditko or Tom De Falco probably noticed Speedball brand art supplies around their studios - they're very common among comic artists -- and thought it sounded like a good hero name. I'm just glad to know they probably know little about narcotic cocktails.
    • Penance, on the other hand...
  • The closest thing Howard the Duck had to an archenemy was a mad musician named Dr. Bong. Well, what else would you call a supervillain that had a giant bell on his head that when you rung, he could change reality?
  • Astro City has the Otter, possibly the cutest supervillain name ever. Mind you, he does run around dressed as an otter, so the name clearly doesn't bother him. Maybe he should have called himself the furry old lobster instead.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes has Matter-Eater Lad. [3] And the infamous Arm-Fall-Off Boy, who received the slightly more dignified name of Splitter after the Zero Hour continuity reboot. Recurring Legion of Supervillains member Radiation Roy. Look, man, we don't care if you have radiation powers and your name is Roy, that name is dumb. This is even specifically mocked by one of his teammates, who insists on calling him "Radiator" because he doesn't ally himself with losers. Absorbency Lad of the same team. Again, this name suffers from being a little too on the nose. The reboot version of him is a Terran supremacist called Earth Man, which is a marked improvement to say the least. In the Amalgam Universe, where DC and Marvel characters were combined, Matter-Eater Lad and Paste-Pot Pete became... wait for it... Paste-Eater Pete.
  • Although the Smug Super characters tend to make fun of Empowered's name, the best example from the series isn't the heroine. One of the Superhomies is a Blob Monster who took the name Protean, and becomes increasingly enraged when a mook thinks his name is Protein and makes fun of him. Sistah Spooky tells Protean than he should go back to using his old name (something like Glurgh) which at least wouldn't confuse anyone. There's also a trio of Captain Ethnic villains who called themselves Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash. Rum ended up at Alcoholics Anonymous, Sodomy left after getting tired of insisting that his name only referred to heterosexual sodomy, and Lash, who Emp encounters is a ridiculous Fauxreigner who Did Not Do the Bloody Research. Empowered plays this trope for laughs (being a superhero parody/deconstruction) to the extent that pretty much every character in the book has a ludicrous name: Sistah Spooky, dWARf, Phalik, Maid Man, Baron Womb... hell, the main super team is called the "Superhomeys."
  • Minor Iron Man foe Vibro's name is pretty weak as it is, but his real name is the utterly pathetic Vincent Vibreaux.
  • Mark Millar and his infamous creation: Kick-Ass.
  • Upon meeting Spider-Man in an intercompany Crossover, Image hero Invincible makes fun of Spider-Man's heroic name, and Spidey does the same for Invincible. Then when meeting the Avengers, he attempts to guess their names, using 'Spider-Man' as a gauge. Robot-Man (Iron Man), Claw-Man (Wolverine), Flag-Man (Captain America), Fabio-Man (Sentry), Bat-Woman (Spider-Woman), and Black-Man (Luke Cage) -- to which Peter confesses that perhaps his name /is/ poorly chosen.
  • Darker Image #1 gives us... Death-Blow! A name so utterly trapped in its time of origin that even That '90s Kid couldn't get past its stupidity.
  • Captain Marvel had a few Golden Age opponents with questionable names, but the worst of them had to be Mr. Banjo, whose gimmick was that he strummed secret codes to a Japanese submarine on his banjo. Depending on how you look at it, Mr. Mind (the World's Wickedest Worm) might qualify as well.
    • The other especially suspect one is Nippo, the Japanese judo master and assassin. Seriously, Nippo?
  • The Gay Ghost is one of the most infamous examples in comic history. For the record, in his later appearances (however few there have been), he's been known as the Grim Ghost -- evidently the "Gay" moniker was something akin to an Ironic Nickname.
  • The Champions comic books has the Galloping Galooper.
  • Combining this trope with Unfortunate Implications, John Walker, aka Super-Patriot, recruited a team of super-strong allies called the Bold Urban Commandos, or "Buckies", led by African-American Lemar Hoskins. When Walker replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America, Hoskins took the identity of Bucky, until someone brought up the fact that 'Bucky' was demeaning, since slave-owners in the 1800s sometimes called their male slaves 'Bucks'. Hoskins promptly changed his name to Battlestar.

Film

  • One of Roger Ebert's rules is that if a comedy has characters with silly names, it's probably an unfunny comedy grasping for straws.
    • Or actors. When Siskel and Ebert reviewed UHF, being generally unfamiliar with media outside film, they derided ""Weird Al" Yankovic" as an obviously made-up name in the vein of "Yahoo Serious", and apparently saw nothing in the movie that could dispel their impression that it was cut from the very same cloth as Young Einstein.
  • Reservoir Dogs, when the team is assigned their codenames:

 Joe: Mr. Brown, Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Blue, Mr. Orange, and Mr. Pink.

Mr. Pink: Why am I Mr. Pink?

Joe: Because you're a faggot, alright?

Mr. Pink: Why can't we pick our own colors?

Joe: No way, no way. Tried it once, doesn't work. You got four guys all fighting over who's gonna be Mr. Black, but they don't know each other, so nobody wants to back down. No way. I pick. You're Mr. Pink. Be thankful you're not Mr. Yellow.

Mr. Brown: Yeah, yeah, but "Mr. Brown"? That's little too close to "Mr. Shit".

Mr. Pink: "Mr. Pink" sounds like "Mr. Pussy".


Literature

  • In the story-within-a-story of Stolen from Gypsies, one character actually the hero's love interest in disguise is a rakish highwayman who took the name "the Dim Avenger". While the intended meaning of Dim was "dark", the character tends to get asked if their name means they are stupid.
  • In the first novel of the Evil Genius Trilogy, one character early on is a Jerk Jock who is trying to chose a sufficiently threatening villain name, but all of his choices lead the others to laugh at him (e.g. choosing the Decimator, and then having it pointed out that decimate literally means "kill 10%"). Of course, the Axis Institute's coursework slowly destroys this little habit- right before he loses control of his powers and incinerates himself.
  • The comedy book How to Be a Superhero has section devoted to avoiding choices like this, e.g Mr AC/DC might not be good choice even if you do have electrical powers. Then there's the poor guy who got his powers from and named himself "Purple Helmet".
  • Zits from Flight.
  • Good Omens' secondary set of Bikers of the Apocalypse, Grievous Bodily Harm, Cruelty to Animals, Really Cool People, and Treading In Dogshit (formerly All Foreigners Especially The French, formerly Things Not Working Properly Even When You've Given Them A Good Thumping, never actually No Alcohol Lager, briefly Embarrassing Personal Problems, and finally People Covered In Fish).
  • Wild Cards had Snotman, who was unable to make people forget his old name even after he has become the Reflector.
    • Similarly, Nuclear Action Bomb Drake Thomas was dubbed Little Fat Boy by government agents unfamiliar with the concept of Bullying a Dragon, and the name stuck even after he started calling himself Ra.
  • Discworld
  • Like the Discworld talking rats, wyrmen in Perdido Street Station take names from whatever gibberish they overhear that sounds good. Teafortwo, Isaac's wyrman gofer, has a sister named Bottletop and a son called Scabies.
  • There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
  • Most of Redwall's vermin characters are Only Known by Their Nickname, and their nicknames tend to be based on unflattering physical attributes. "Redtooth" is bearable. "Stinky" is worrying. Also, the unlucky hare by the name of "Stiffener Medick". Ow.
  • Professor Pippy P. Poopypants from Captain Underpants. That book was about him wrecking havoc on the entire city because nobody would take him seriously because of his silly name. At the end, George and Harold suggest that he changes his name, and he picks his grandfather's name instead: Tippy T. Tinkletrousers.
    • In fact, he comes from a country where everybody for a reason that's stated to be too boring and stupid to be explained has a moronic name.
  • In Hush, Hush, the Fallen Angel who stalks, harasses, terrifies and almost murders Nora calls himself Patch. The author clearly intended this to be a cool and gangster-like name but seriously, what kind of fallen angel who remains borderline sociopathic even after being seemingly redeemed by love names himself Patch? A name that sounds much more apt for a dog?
  • Dune Leto II named his Amazon Brigade as Fish Speakers.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: One of the main protagonists of the series adopts an assumed name so he can easily blend in with the locals when he visits an unremarkable backwater planet named Earth. The "minimal research" he did before deciding on his "nicely inconspicuous" moniker led him to settle on Ford Prefect[4].

Live Action TV

  • In an old All That sketch, a Mayor is auditioning several superheroes for the city, though only encountering examples of generally sucky powers. The final one is basically a Superman Expy with all of his powers and no weakness whatsoever. He would be an automatic shoo-in were it not for his name of Superty-Duper Man. In the end, the Mayor resolves to save the city herself, strapping on a cape and flying away.
  • A Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode featured the rise of "Mothers Opposed to the Occult"... M.O.O. for short.
    • The episode "Tabula Rasa" also had an amnesiac Spike complaining that his name was "Randy Giles" (which he got from the coat he'd stolen from someone named Randy before losing his memory, and from guessing that he must be Giles's son since they're both English).

 "Randy Giles? Why not just call me 'Horny Giles,' or 'Desperate for a Shag Giles'? I knew there was a reason I hated you!"

 Greg Proops: I'm Rock Hard.

Colin Mochrie: And I'm Peggy Lee. (Over audience laughter) IT'S NOT FUNNY!

  • In Glee, when the members of New Directions go to Regionals, one of the opposing glee clubs is named Aural Intensity. (you may have to hear it said out loud to get it) Sue Sylvester lampshades this when she says "... The not at all stupidly named Aural Intensity". This is most likely lampshading the fact that when spoken aloud New Directions sounds exactly like Nude Erections.
    • In the Nationals episode, we see a board with a list of show choirs on it. One of which is the Waffletoots.
  • Mad TV has a sketch of a Mexican (or Argentinian, depending on the sketch) wrestler named "El Ass-o Wipe-o." He helpfully explains that in Spanish it means "The Asswiper." He has a compatriot named "Senor Bag of Crap."
  • Nathan on Misfits is pretty hopeless at remembering names, and often comes up with nicknames instead. When he considers superhero names for Curtis and Simon, the names he comes up with are "Mr Backwards" and "The Invisible Cunt". Needless to say, they aren't impressed.


Professional Wrestling

  • The ultimate ECW Woobie "Mikey Whipwreck". There is also a "Mike Quackenbush".
  • A famous anecdote about Steve Austin recalls how, in his early days of WWF, he wanted to change his nickname to go with his cold and uncaring character and asked the creative team to come up with a name. They sent him five pages of names. While most were pretty good, like the Ice Dagger, there was an infamously ridiculous one called Chilly McFreeze. He chose Stone Cold and the rest is history. He jokingly stated in one interview that if they turned down Stone Cold, that he would be the best Baron Von Ruthless he could have been.
  • Similarly, in her autobiography, Chyna mentioned several of the names that the WWE had thought up for her. Some were decent, if cliche, such as Phalan, Sheera, Venus, and Tigress. One she singled out as particularly bad... TEEVA GWEEVE.


Role Playing Games

  • Aberrant, being a deconstruction of superheroics, touches on this: the rise of superpowered Novas, many of whom think they're now required to don costumes and take up aliases, have spawned a budding fashion industry dedicated to not only making non-stupid costumes, but also to come up with fitting and stylish names a Nova can use without feeling silly or raise Unfortunate Implications. A few sucky names still crop up, though.


Sports

  • In Australian Rules Football, Melbourne were originally nicknamed the "Fuschias", and Hawthorn were the "Mayblooms". They have since changed to "Demons" and "Hawks", respectively. Sydney (formerly South Melbourne) are still nicknamed the "Swans". In the 19th and early 20th century, Essendon's colors of black and red resulted in them being unfortunately referred to as the "Blood-stained Niggers". With the advent of World War Two, the proximity of the air force base led them to adopt the official nickname of the "Bombers", though they were, and are, also known as the "Dons". Similarly, South Melbourne (not Sydney, because the forced transfer of the club to NSW involved the team name formally becoming the "Sydney Swans") were known for many years as the Blood-stained Angels, or the Bloods for short, due to their predominantly white shirt with a red sash or yoke.
  • Melbourne's soccer teams appear to be following the lame name tradition: "Melbourne Victory" wasn't that great a name, especially given that it's a lame pun on the state of Victoria, but at least it's better than the new team, Melbourne Heart. What kind of a lame name is Heart, anyway?
  • American college athletics has given us teams such as:
    • The UC Santa Cruz Fighting Banana Slugs.
    • The Kent State Golden Flashes.
    • The South Carolina Gamecocks.
    • The Evergreen State College Geoducks [5]
    • Oregon State Beavers.
      • And their instate rivals, the University of Oregon Ducks.
    • The University of Akron (Ohio) Zips.
    • Years ago, Scottsdale (Arizona) Community College let the students vote on the team name. Thus, for a number of years, they were the Fighting Artichokes. The team color was pink.
    • Then there are the Heidelberg College (Ohio) Student Princes and Whittier College (Cal.) Poets.
    • The Wilmington College (Ohio) Fighting Quakers. Yes.
    • The (University of) Maryland Terrapins. Fear the Turtle, indeed.
      • Hey now, the diamondback terrapin is the only animal incapable of moving backwards!
        • Be that as it may, I would hate to be on their track team
    • California's Long Beach state gives us the Dirtbags for Baseball
    • Delta State University in Mississippi: The Fighting Okra.
    • A Special mention should be made of Alabama college's official team nickname... the Crimson Tide.
    • In the late 80's, the official nickname of the sports teams at St. Andrews Presbyterian College (NC) was the Knights, but the most popular school team, women's volleyball, were universally referred to as the "Loons".
    • Ohio State's Buckeyes and Indiana State's Sycamores -- trees, people.
    • The Whitman Missionaries have apparently embraced the ridiculousness of their mascot by coining the chant: "Missionaries! Missionaries! We're on top!"
    • Don't forget the Carnegie-Mellon Tartans.
    • The University of North Carolina School of the Arts have the Fighting Pickles as a mascot. It largely serves as a joke, since they also have no sports teams, as they're an arts conservatory, though they do crown a Pickle King and Queen every year.
    • Wake Forest University has the Demon Deacons. This was seen as an improvement over their old mascot, the Fighting Baptists.
    • The University of Evansville Purple Aces don't have a particularly unfortunate name- but the mascot is a "a turn of the century riverboat gambler" named Ace Purple.
  • High school football:
    • Frankfort has the "Hot Dogs" (hey, everybody loves a wiener).
    • The Nimrods can be found at a high school in Michigan. Even if you know that Nimrod a powerful king and not a lunkhead, it still counts (he got showed up by Abraham in the end).
    • Camas High School is home to the Papermakers. Really. However, their mascot is surprisingly awesome.
      • Along the same lines you have the Tillamook Cheese Makers. For a few years the mascot was a cow.
    • The Montgomery Biscuits from Alabama? Google the mascot. Go on, Google him!
      • They should merge with the Cairo (Ga.) Syrupmakers.
    • Hereford, TX, has a High School whose teams are named the Whitefaces. Sounds racist, but it's actually a breed of cattle.
    • The infamous Butte Pirates.
    • Teams from a small town in Minnesota are saddled with Scarlets. Never had a mascot; common opponent chant: "What's a Scarlet?"
  • New Zealand's national soccer team is the All-Whites. Ouch. They're not very good. Their national rugby team, the slightly better named All-Blacks, however, has a winning record against every team it's competed against.
    • It Gets Worse: The name of the national basketball team is the Tall-Blacks, intended as a play on All-Blacks.
    • When guest-starring on Mock the Week New Zealand comedian Jarred Christmas noted the irony of the first World Cup the All-Whites qualified for being in South Africa. [6]
    • Made fun of in this comic.
  • The city of Anaheim seems to have bad luck with team names:
    • In hockey, they had the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, originally named after the Disney film. After being sold by Disney, the new owners changed their name... to the Anaheim Ducks. [7]
    • And then there's the story of the Angels. At first, they were Los Angeles Angels, in Los Angeles. In 1965, they relocated to Anaheim and renamed themselves The California Angels. A contract renegotiation in 1997 required that they use the city name, so they became The Anaheim Angels. Then, in 2005, their new owner wanted to hearken back to the team's history (read: gain market support from Los Angeles), despite the stipulation in their contract. Thus, they became saddled with the unwieldy moniker The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
  • Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle.
    • And, from the pre-WW 2 Grand Prix era, Dick Seaman.
  • The World Taekwondo Federation... WTF
  • One of the early NFL teams, based in a small Pennsylvania town called Pottsville, was called the Maroons. At the time, "maroon" was a popular slang term meaning, well, "dumbass". The fact that the Maroons are to date the only NFL team to ever have their championship title revoked doesn't help their image.
  • ESPN the Magazine's monthly feature of collectibles once featured high school sports merchandise specifically from schools with bizarre team names. Some, like the Punchers and the Atom Smashers, were actually pretty cool. Others, like the Earwigs, were silly. Two examples stood out in particular: The Hobos and the Beetdiggers.
  • The baseball player Boof Bonser
    • Also, Nick Swisher
  • Bernhard Langer. While Langer may not seem that bad to Americans, take note of its meaning in Hiberno-English.


Video Games

  • In Elona, there is a random name generation system that allows you to pick an alias at the beginning and also applies to randomly generated magic items. This can lead to items being generated with names such as Sparkle Homo, Mustache Fortress, Pimp of Awesomeness, or, more likely, a name that is complete gibberish like Foreigner Kitty or Princess of Rebel-rouser
  • Robotech: Invasion. "Wait, our group is named F.A.I.L.!?"
  • It's possible for players to invoke this trope in games where characters can be named.
    • Far more common in games where you can name other characters. Pokemon was particularly infamous by giving you the ability to name your rival.
      • "This is my grandson. You two have been rivals ever since you were children, now what was his name again?..... Oh yes, now I remember, his name is Asshole!"
      • Also, naming your Metapod "penis." It's only move was "harden".
    • If it evolved from Caterpie, it has Tackle and String Shot. Tackle is slang for penis, and String Shot is...yeah.
  • In Starship Troopers Terran Ascendancy, the game randomly generates the names of your troops. This can lead to such names as "Private Jack Mehoffen".
  • The eponymous villain from I.M. Meen may have the lamest Punny Name ever. No wonder he's so, ahem, meen.
  • King Wee Wee. Yeah.
  • Fatty Glutton, a Humongous Mecha piranha. Sounds silly, until you find out that he's one of the toughest recurring bosses in the series.
  • The random Hersir name generator in Age of Mythology gives us such gems as Thorvald Eggscreamer, Gisli Unsightlywisher, and Bersi Cheesedrowner.
  • Touhou: Medicine Melancholy.


Web Comics

  • Magellan has "Psi-Jector" - he thinks it's a great (and obvious) name: "I'm a tactile psychic... I project images of thoughts... PSI-JECTOR!" but everyone else just pays out on him - "Psi-Jerktor", "Re-Jector"...
  • The defunct Queer Nation (in which a pink meteor gives all homosexuals on the planet superpowers) had a gay, ditzy, male bartender with telepathic powers name himself "Cocktale", just because it was his favorite drink.
  • The villain of Van Von Hunter unintentionally gets himself dubbed "The Flaming Prince". It was supposed to be "The Prince of Flames" but his assistant hastily made the announcement before he was finished with his out-loud brainstorming. The villain's father visits and asks what the name is really supposed to mean, then the prince walks out to great him while on fire.
  • And the winner is: Lord Moldypants from the Sluggy Freelance parody of Harry Potter.
  • Poor Doctor Hitlerballs.
  • From El Goonish Shive, Elliot's super hero form was dubbed Cheerleadra by the internet.


Web Original

  • The Whateley Universe includes several mentions of them. The students are warned to be careful even with their non final name since it can stick even if you change it. Examples include Power Pork, the Flying Bulldozer, and Quickie. Quickie is a well-endowed girl speedster, who didn't get why everyone thought her codename was so funny her freshman year. After finding out what it meant, she ended up changing it to Go-Go. Jinn Sinclair's first choice of a codename was 'Clothes Ghost'. Her teammates made her change it. Like they have a lot of room to talk, since their team name is Team Kimba. Which, again, is Jade's fault. Traduce didn't know what her codename meant until after she got it finalized. It is very appropriate, though.
  • Homestar Runner has Firebert, The Cheat's commando name.
    • There's also Strong Bad's short-lived attempt to get people to start calling him "The Lege" (as in "the legend"), until he realizes Homestar was right about it looking like it was pronounced "The Leg".
  • From a Cracked article deriding EA's purchase of the NFL license, "Cletus Fuckhat" of the "Dallas Zombies".
  • Legion of Nothing has Psy-Kick, a karate-wielding human stenograph whose choice of hero name is a source of great amusement to the protagonist (this gets him in trouble, since Psy-kick is also a telepath).
  • In his review of the video games based on the film Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Angry Video Game Nerd freaks out when he learns that one of the movie's producers is named "Fred Fuchs".[8]
  • Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum
  • Several of her fellow teenagers make dirty jokes at the expense of Banging, a teenaged supervillain from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, because of her name. She's only fourteen, though, and grew up a bit sheltered before running away. Itsy Bitsy, a shrinking superheroine from the same setting, gets made fun of a lot as well. Fey, an elven swordsman brought back to Earth from a mythical fairyland, can't understand why he's the butt of constant gay jokes. The first time the Superheroic trio Ready, Willing, and Able introduced themselves, the reaction they got was, "Are you for real, with that?"
  • Coyle Commander's cyborg assistant has the cool moniker of Annihilator. Unfortunately he's a parody of Destro, so it gets shortened to Anni.
  • Chicken Maker has Zitty NotCoolguy who exists as a parallel to the sites Shades McCoolguy


Western Animation

  • Danny Phantom had this in its series finale, with Jack having been in a band called the Skunks Punks:

 Headline: The Skunks Stink!

Jack: Yeah, we walked right into that one.

    • Also, Danny's name according to the media; Invis'o Bill
  • An episode of Freakazoid featured a hero originally named Lord Bravery having copyright issues and eventually ending up with the name "Lord Smoked Meats and Fishes." People then refused to get help from him.
  • Minoriteam had an entire episode devoted to Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain the Black Coq in a nonstop session of Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • Sea Man from the South Park episode "Super Best Friends." And his sidekick is a fish named Swallow.

 Narrator: Meanwhile, in the ocean depths, Semen seeks out water to mix with the concrete.

Sea Man: Sea Man! Look, Swallow, we should be able to divert the water with that pipe.

Narrator: And so, Semen and Swallow get to... get to work. *laughs*

    • The boys' school football team are the Cows.
    • Butters' real name, fitting for his Woobie status, is Leopold Stotch.
  • The Simpsons
    • "Homer to the Max": Homer's proposed new names for himself are not only idiotic -- "Rembrandt Q. Einstein" -- but, except for one (Max Power!), misspelled on his name-change application.
    • In one episode, Homer is banned from Moe's. Afterward, someone with Homer's hairstyle and looks, with a similar voice, seems to hesitate before giving his name as 'Guy Incognito'. Naturally, he's trashed and thrown out. Then Homer happens upon the stricken Mr Incognito.
    • And of course:

 Homer: See, I got this friend named...Joey Jo-Jo...Junior...Shabadoo --

Moe: That's the worst name I ever heard.

(A man leaves, weeping)

Barney: Hey, Joey Jo-Jo!

    • In another episode Homer tries to imitate Bart's secret identity "El-Barto". He decides to call himself "El-Homo".
    • Homer to Bart: "Do you want to change your name to Homer, Junior? The kids can call you Hoju!"
    • In "Little Orphan Millie," Bart encounters a man named Gaylord Q. Tinkledink. He later mentions his nephew: Nerdle Tobsy Pantibottom.
    • The one time that Bart's crank calls to Moe's actually backfired on him was when there actually was a guy by the name of Hugh Jass present in the tavern.
  • Deliberately and appropriately true of the Toilenator from Kids Next Door.
  • In an almost subversion of the trope, an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants features a group of villains who go under the acronym E.V.I.L. which is appropriate. However, the acronym stands for Every Villain Is Lemons.
  • In a G.I. Joe parody sketch on Robot Chicken a new member is inducted into the Joes. While trying to come up with a cool code-name he accidentally slips on a spilled drink and is summarily dubbed "Fumbles", much to his chagrin. He jumps over to Cobra to get revenge and is suggested an equally horrible code-name ("Trouser-Snake" because he's in Cobra and has cool pants) which he accepts resignedly. He turns out to be an incredibly Badass Cold Sniper who single-handedly destroys the Joes (save for Duke, who he leaves alive), with Cobra Commander nervously congratulating him:

 Cobra Commander: Uh, Good job, Trouser-Snake.

Fumbles: Fumbles. It was always Fumbles.

  • Most supervillain names on The Venture Brothers. Seriously, Phantom Limb? Doctor Girlfriend?
    • Then you have names of minor villains, like "Intangible Fancy," "White Noise," "Mr. Monday," and how about "Tigerrific?"
  • One poor kid from Sealab 2021 had the name "Fatass McBlobicus", which Quinn initially assumed was just a teasing nickname.
  • Lard Nar runs into this problem in Invader Zim when, while scrambling to decide the name of his resistance movement before hailing the Irken armada, he finally settles on his crewmate Spleenk's suggestion...

 Lard Nar: We are... the Resisty! We have come to strike...

Almight Tallest Red: Whoa whoa whoa! Did you say "the Resisty"?

Lard Nar: Yes, yes, the Resisty! Anyhow, we have come...

Almight Tallest Purple: That's a stupid name.

Lard Nar (to his crew): See, I told you it was stupid! Why do I keep listening to you!?

Spleenk: I don't know.

  • Dorkus on Jimmy Two-Shoes
  • Changed Daily in The Secret Show gets a ridiculous name every day, much to the amusement of whoever hears it whenever it's announced.
  • In the third Jimmy Timmy Power Hour, Jimmy and Timmy created a villain and named him "Shirley".
  • Totally Spies: Jerry's Evil Twin created a team of villains and named it League Aiming to Menace and Overthrow the Spies and even had t-shirts with the acronym before someone pointed out it's L.A.M.O.S.
  • In a similar vein, the League of Super Evil (LOSE)and Uniform Neighborhood Code of Orderly Living (UNCOOL).
  • Regular Show Rigby legally changed his name into Trash Boat, by taking an advice from a rock star named The Urge. But The Urge later attacks Rigby because his stupid name overshadowed his band.


Real Life

  • A historical atlas of New York City described the turfs of gangs in the early 1900s -- Post "Gangs of New York", but pre-Prohibition. One of the gangs was named "The Pansy Gang".
    • There is a still-active gang in Chicago called the Gaylords.
    • In a similar vein, University of Hawaii's sports teams used to all be called The Rainbows, which couldn't have helped their win/loss record at all. After all, nobody wants to get their asses whipped by a team named "The Rainbows." It was partly because of this that men's teams were eventually allowed to choose their own nicknames.
  • In an attempt to cut down on gang activity, the Fullerton, California city council changed the name of a neighborhood from "Bakerstreet" to "Iris Court". As for whether it worked or not? This was about 10 years ago, and overall gang activity in the city is down. Hard to say if that particular street name change had any effect.
  • B.A.D.D. Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons
  • B.A.A.D.D. Beale Airmen Against Drunk Driving at the Beale Air Force Base. "We're looking for a few more B.A.A.D.D. drivers."
  • The former CINCUS (Commander in Chief, United States Fleet), pronounced "sink us".
  • The leading organization for the preservation of traditional marriage in the USA is the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM. They don't seem to mind the acronym.
    • One of their campaigns was called "Two Million For Marriage", which they abbreviated "2M4M"[9].
  • There was a motorcycle gang in the '80s called the Cupcakes. When they were involved in drug dealing, newscasters often had to preface stories about them by saying things like, "Don't let their name fool you--they're dangerous."
  • Canada's Reform party for a brief time was named the Canadian Reform Alliance Party, but you can just call them CRAP. Their full name was the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, but the extra initial just meant it could be construed as "See? Crap!" Which was really no better. To nobody's surprise, this name was the brainchild of its first leader, Stockwell Day.
  • Similarly, the USA had "the Committee to Re-Elect the President" during the Nixon years. Technically CREP, but critics had little trouble turning it into CREEP.
  • One obscure, and fairly recently-devised first name is pronounced "Absidy" but spelled... wait for it... Abcde.
  • I guess this is quite possibly one reason why the other white supremacist group, The Knights of the White Camellia, didn't last long.
  • When the US Tea Party movement was in its infancy, some members actually called themselves "Teabaggers", in reference to the early protests involving things like mailing massive numbers of tea bags to members of Congress. This stopped when someone found out what teabagging was. Using the name now, or bringing this up, is generally not recommended, and is used in a derogatory manner by critics of the movement. This derogatory was ushered in by a Hurricane of Puns mockery by then-MSNBC commentator David Shuster.
  • Amateur video game designer Matthew Dickie, who claims he wears his name as a badge of pride despite having since legally changed his name.
  • Lev Romanov was a promising Soviet politician in the 1980s and, as the Leningrad party boss, was near the top of the Communist Party hierarchy. But one thing kept him from going any higher, and caused Mikhail Gorbachev to become the General Secretary in 1985. No-one in the Soviet Union wanted to be led by someone with the name of the family deposed by the Bolsheviks. The Communists probably regretted not going with him a few years later.
  • Renault (or some variation) is a fairly common name in France. Some people aren't pleased at all with the automaker's tendency to name its cars after girls' names.
    • For example, their legal troubles with the parents of a girl named Mégane Renaud made local headlines for a while. They're also accused of killing the use of Clio as a girls' name, and Zoé might now be in danger as well.
  • Russian soccer player Yuri Zhirkov ("zheer-kov," often mispronounced Jerkoff)
  • Actress Mimi Rogers' real name is Miriam Spickler. You can see why she changed it.
  • There was a man in the North Carolina Coast Guard (Oak Island) named Ernest Sprey, at one point was at the rank of Seaman. For almost a year his title was Seaman Sprey (much ridicule followed)
  • In Fort Wayne, in 2011 the citizens voted to name their new government building after beloved former mayor Harry Baals.
  • Hermione Granger's Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW) in Harry Potter was actually named for a real-life Victorian feminist society in England, the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women... which eventually had to rename itself the Society for Promoting the Training of Women (SPTW) because of its amusing acronym.
  • The Fudge Town Mafia Crips
  • Hyman George Rickover had to be a rough name to grow up with. Maybe it had something to do with him becoming a four-star admiral in the United States Navy and the "Father of the Nuclear Navy".
  • In late 2007, the South-Lake Union community in Seattle, Washington was pleased to be the home of the first new rail line in the city in 30 years. Residents just couldn't wait to ride the South-Lake Union Trolley! It was quickly re-christened a "streetcar".
  • The Wisconsin Tourism Federation...think about it.
  • By the same token, the World Taekwondo Federation, the international governing body of Olympic and Olympic-recognized Taekwondo.
  • The first owner of the Miami Marlins was *this* close to naming the then-debuting franchise the "Florida Flamingos" (with pink jerseys and all) before being talked out of it by the design director of MLB Properties.
  • M.I.L.F. - Moro Islamic Liberation Front (yes, really).
  • The Rank of Petty Officer in the Navy is a bit demeaning for some, even though its equal to the rank of Sergeant.

Notes

  1. Given his origin, why the hell didn't he call himself the Mongoose? "Let the snakes among men beware!"
  2. Actually, Blistik is a brand of lip balm.
  3. Spoofed in one The Simpsons comic, which had Apu, Flanders, and Comic Book Guy team up to fight crime as the Better Business Battalion. The cover had them rejecting Homer Simpson, in costume as Fatter-Eater Lad.
  4. A rather silly car made by the Ford motor company for the British market. For those of you familiar with Harry Potter, it's along similar lines to the Ford Anglia
  5. a type of Clam, pronounced GOO-ee-duck
  6. Though this is not exactly accurate, the first World Cup they qualified for is actually in Spain on 1982.
  7. Renaming the hockey team seems to have worked, however: that same year, they won the Stanley Cup, and have been contenders in most seasons ever since.
  8. Silly, "Fuchs" is just German for "fox".
  9. (a personals-ad abbreviation for "two men seeking additional man for threesome")
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