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Two characters are being introduced to each other for the first time. However the first introductee has a really wacky name; for example, he is a businessman called "Mr. Moneygrabs". The other character feels compelled to laugh, thinking that it is a joke. However, it is not. It is, as it is pointed out, a long running and respectable family name.

(This often happens in Real Life to people who happen to share a name with a famous person.)

May overlap with It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY". See also Who's on First? Compare Mistaken for An Imposter.

Examples of Real Joke Name include:


  • A commercial for A&W Root Beer had a prospective employee repeatedly referring to his prospective boss as "Dumbass." At the end, we see the name placard on Mr. DuMass's desk, and he leans over and informs him "It's pronounced 'Du-moss'".
  • A late-Nineties commercial for AT&T featured a woman getting a call from a guy who says his name is "Pizzeria," and that she had left her wallet in his cab. She's understandably confused, but a quick call to directory assistance reveals that the cabbie's name is actually Pete Zorria, from Brooklyn.


  • In Hot Fuzz, Sargent Nicholas Angel receives a rather odd call:

 Caller: [on the phone, politely] Morning, the swan's escaped.

Angel: [looking around the office, certain it is a prank] The swan's escaped. Right, and where has the swan escaped from, exactly?

Caller: The castle.

Angel: Oh yeah, and who might you be?

Caller: Mr. Staker. Mr. Peter Ian Staker.

Angel: [annoyed] P.I. Staker? Right, PISSTAKER! COME ON!!

[Gilligan Cut to Angel, standing outside a castle in front of Mr. Staker]

Angel: Yes Mr. Staker, we'll do everything we can.

  • The plot of the infamous movie Burn Hollywood Burn is that a director can't use the Alan Smithee pseudonym because his name is Alan Smithee.
  • Life of Brian has a side-splittingly hilarious scene[1] where the Roman guards, thinking that Brian's given name for his father, Naughtius Maximus, is a joke name, try to explain the concept to Pontius Pilate by giving examples of other joke names like "Biggus Dickus", only for Pilate to say that he knows someone by the name of Biggus Dickus. He's not kidding.

  He has a wife, you know. Her name is Incontinentia...Incontinentia Buttux.

  • Played with in Juno, where the titular character's full name in Juno Macguff. This causes a lot of people to think she's using a fake name, or think she's 'Juneau Macguff,' like the city in Alaska.
  • In David Fincher's Se7en, the detectives think that the name used on the serial killer's library card, "Jon Doe", is an obvious fake. However, they later find out that his legal name actually is "Jonathan Doe" -- several unfilmed scenes from the script elaborate that he was an orphan raised in a parochial school, hence the made-up last name.


  • Callahans Crosstime Saloon featured a couple originally named Les Moore and Merry Glueham (pronounced "gloom"). When they got married, they swapped last names.
  • The book Patient Zero give us the name of Sergeant Harvey Rabbit, a.k.a. Bunny Rabbit. (Also certainly a reference to Harvey, a film and play about a possibly imaginary rabbit.

Live Action TV

  • Liz assumes Tracy has finally cracked in 30 Rock when he starts going on about seeing Dr Spaceman. Dr Spa-chem-in became one of the most hilarious recurring characters on the show.
    • 30 Rock is fond of this sort of name, from Jeffrey Weinerslav to Colon O. Scopy, to NBC Broadcast Standards Chief Gaylord Felcher.
  • How I Met Your Mother has Ted do this to poor Cook Poo. Twice.
  • An episode of The Golden Girls had Dorothy (teaching some kind of adult education class) reading out a class register that included the name "Jim Shu" and thinking it's a joke (Gym Shoe). Turns out there actually is an Asian gentleman by that name in the class.
    • In a bit of a variant on this trope, in one episode the group is looking through Blanche Devereaux's old diaries to see if she slept with Rose's traveling salesman husband many years ago. At first they are shocked that Blanche has given them a large list of everyone she's ever slept with, because the journal is titled "BED". Blanche casually explains that her full name is "Blanche Elizabeth Devereaux", and her initials just happen to spell "bed".
  • The Man Show had men with actual names like "Dick Hertz" and "Mike Hunt."
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had a few:

 Bounder: Ah good morning. I'm Bounder of Adventure

Tourist: My name is Smoke-too-much

Bounder: Well you'd better cut down a little then

Tourist: What?

Bounder: You'd better cut down a little then

Tourist: Oh I see! Cut down a little then.....

Bounder: Yes...I expect you get people making jokes about your name all the time?

Tourist: No, no actually it never struck me before. Smoke...too...much....laughs

 Inspector Tiger: Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Inspector Tiger.

All: Tiger?

Inspector Tiger: jumping Where? Where? What? Ah. Me, Tiger.


Lookout: I'm Chief Superintendent Lookout.

Lady Velloper: Look out?

Lookout: jumping What, where, oh, me, Lookout. Lookout of the Yard.

Lady Velloper: Why, what would we see?

Lookout: I'm sorry?

Lady Velloper: What would we see if we look out of the yard?

Lookout: ... I'm afraid I don't follow that at all.


Theresamanbehindyer: I'm Assistant Chief Constable Theresamanbehindyer.

All: Theresamanbehindyer?

Theresamanbehindyer: Ah, you're not going to catch me with an old one like that.

    • "John Stokes, this is A Sniveling Little Rat Faced Git." [...] "This is my wife, Dreary Fat Boring Old [Git]".

  And the kids are no better: only last week Dirty Lying Little Two-Faced came running home from school, sobbing his eyes out, and their youngest, Ghastly Spotty Horrible Vicious Little is just at the age when taunts like 'she's a git' really hurt.

  • A Saturday Night Live skit from the early 1990s, with Nicolas Cage as guest host, had a bizarre variation on joke names with Cage playing an expecting father not being happy with any of the names his wife comes up with for their child, always finding a nasty, teasing nickname kids can come up with from it. The punchline comes when a man comes to their door with a message for Mr. and Mrs. Asswipe Johnson, to which the father, frustrated, informs him that his name is pronounced ah-ZWEE-pay.
  • Veronica Mars: Mr. Happy Fists is actually named ... Mr. Happy Fists. Word of God: one of the writer's favorite jokes.
  • Jay Leno does a Tonight Show segment on these showing up in newspaper ads.
  • Played with in Community, when Jeff makes up a class and teacher that he names "Professor Professorson," insisting, "It's Dutch! I think it means Professor!"
    • And later on, when we meet this supposed Professor:

 Dean Pelton: (disbelievingly) Your real name is Professor Professorson?

"Professor Professorson": My family name was Professorburg, but we changed it when we were fleeing from the Nazis.

      • Ultimately subverted in that Proffessorson is really a theatre professor named Sean Garity.
  • Played with in The Colbert Report. The crawl on the bottom of the screen showing donors to Colbert's Super PAC apparently included a "Suq Madiq", who apparently has a father named Liqa Madiq and a mother named Munchma Quchi. Colbert proceeded to break character and laugh uncontrollably.
    • Colbert referred to Suq Madiq and Munchma Quchi again in the April 4, 2012 episode along with other donors Harry Balsac and Apoop Mapanz.
  • A 2002 The Daily Show episode had a field day out of the fact that the head of security for the FIFA World Cup (held in South Korea) was called "Han Dong-Suk"

 Dong-Suk: {{[[[Gag Dub]] Voice Of Translator}}] Every precaution has been taken. Ok, stop laughing! I come from a long line of Dong-Suks! You can't go anywhere in this country without running into a Dong-Suk! STOP IT! Hey, do you know what "Mike Williams" means here? It's a LOT worse than "Dong-Suk", I can tell you THAT!

    • The episode right after Osama bin Laden was killed said that Abbottabad, where he was living, sounds like a name some New Yorker might make up as a fictional place where they want to kill Bin Laden:

 You give me a gun, you drop me into "Abadabad" or whatever they call their cities over there, I'll give him a shot, I'll go to Abadabad and I'll shoot him in has Abadabadabingos, you know what I'm talking about?

 Miley: Officer- [Sees traffic officer's badge] -Diaria (she pronounced it as diarrhea)?

Officer:It's 'DI-YAR-YUH'!

Stand Up Comedy

  • Lewis Black has an entire routine consisting of real life examples that he has encountered. These include Shithead (pronouced Shi-thade), Asshole (pronounced A-shola), and Abcde (pronounced Absiday).
    • He claims you can trust him that these are real, because he's not clever enough to turn Asshole into a name.


  • Rowan Atkinson did a sketch once based on a teacher reading a register full of these, although the comedy there came from the utterly deadpan delivery (he clearly knew they were the real names) and the side comments he made to the kids as he read out the names. (link)
    • There's a variation where the names are outright obscene ("Yourprick" is one of them), and the humor comes from his utterly deadpan Double Entendre delivery.


Western Animation

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

Moe: Homer, that's the worst name I ever heard.

  • Random guy at bar begins to cry and runs out*

Barney: Hey, Joey Joe Joe, come back, he didn't mean it!

    • There was another instance of this on The Simpsons. In the episode, "Flaming Moe's," Bart attempted one of his frequent prank calls on Moe's Tavern, asking for "Hugh Jass" (Huge Ass). Unfortunately, for once the bar was crowded, and thus by sheer coincidence there was an actual Hugh Jass present to whom Moe passes the phone, which takes Bart completely by surprise. Bart ends up confessing to Mr. Jass that this was a prank gone wrong. Mr. Jass doesn't seem to be offended by it.
    • In one episode, Homer gets kicked out of Moe's Tavern. Shortly afterward, someone who looks exactly like Homer, but with a suit, hat, fake mustache, and ridiculous accent walks into the bar and claims to be named "Guy Incognito". He gets thrown out of the bar, only for Homer to walk by, surprised to find a man who is is exact double.
    • This came back to bite Moe one episode, when he offended Fat Tony when he was calling for his Russian contact Yuri Nator. Tony complained that he yelled at him like "he was some prank calling kid".
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Beak", there was a villain named Khaka Peu Peu (pronounced kaka poo poo) whose name apparently means "the strong fist" or "that strong fist".
  • In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Mr. Krabs offers Spongebob and Squidward a Caribbean vacation as a prize to whoever can be the friendliest employee. Spongebob, already friendly with all the regular customers, seems to be winning. But Squidward spots a new customer, and asks him his name. The customer rudely replies "What's it to ya?!" and angrily storms out. Squidward chases him all over Bikini Bottom, causing a fair amount of damage along the way, but finally catches up to him. Squidward yanks the wallet from the customer's pants, looks at his driver's license, and the customer's name is...Whatzit Tooya. Squidward is then imprisoned for the aformentioned city damage, but it's all right with him, because once he's out, he's got a Caribbean vacation to look forward to! That is, until Mr. Krabs visits him in jail and says the contest was for the brochure describing the vacation, not the vacation itself.
    • When Mr. Krabbs tries to steal back a million dollar #1 hat from Spongebob, he makes up a ghost that "wants his hat back." Spongebob asks his name, but the surprised Krabbs can only string together syllables in a name he thinks can't possibly exist: Smitty Werbenjaegermanjensen. Turns out there was such a man, so Spongebob buries the hat in his tomb.
  • An episode of Beavis and Butthead had Buzzcut trying to make the titular morons laugh. He starts calling attendance, with names like Butkus and Gaylord. Naturally, they're all actual students.

Real Life

  • The Dutch actually didn't use last names until the 19th century, when they were conquered by Napoleon and he forced them to take on last names for administrative reasons. In defiance, however, the Dutch mockingly chose absurd-sounding last names including Naaktgeboren (born naked), Spring int Veld (jump in the field), and Piest (pisses). These surnames have persisted to the present day.
  • Monsieur L. Lamperouge is a CBC producer(not sure if he still is now) and advocate for Quebec separation. His name is Luc for those who are wondering, but he did watch Code Geass and can consider a change.
  • Sean Connery once got stopped by a constable named James Bond. Also, his name means 'This is bullshit' in French.
    • When you consider that Ian Fleming named his character after a real-life ornithologist, this isn't too remarkable.
  • There was an actual South African white supremacist named Eugene Terreblanche. (He was murdered in March 2010)
  • There is a Chinese offical named Cao Gaochao. His surname Cao means fuck in Chinese, and Gaochao means climax.
  • When a fan mentions Benedict Cumberbatch to somebody who has never heard his name before, this will most likely be their reaction.
  • Several Moral Guardian groups complained about the "intentionally shocking title" of Meet the Fockers. One wonders whether they ever take a plane.
  • Jaime Cardinal Sin, former Archbishop of Manila. Who used to refer to his home as "The House of Sin."
  • Not quite as punny, but there was once a Cardinal Casanova. No word on if it was appropriate.
  • Henry Seagrave died in a boat.
  • Retired army captain Rick Roll.
  • Newspaper reporters have sometimes fallen for the Heywood Jablome gag.
  • Also, Mike Litoris.
  • Former American football player Mike Hunt.
  • Colin Powell (would be innocuous if it weren't pronounced like "colon").
  • Various Cockburns, including the real name of actress Olivia Wilde.
  • A Japanese city and some of its inhabitants are called Gasuko. It means "my grandson".
  • Unfortunate Names for Their Jobs
  • Justin Beiber, a 30 something year old who gets insane amount of fanmail and kicked off of every social networking site he signs under his own name for copying the other Bieber.
  • Neel Kashkari, indeed pronounced "cash carry," who drew up plans to bail out the nation's largest banks during the 2008 financial crisis for the Bush administration.
  • Hazard Construction, which has been around for decades and has a respectable name (ironically).
  • Accent Dental is apparently an actual thing.
  • The name John Smith is so common anyone who introduces themselves as such would immediately be assumed to be faking. Must be annoying for people who actually are named John Smith...
  • People named Harry Potter, among others.
  • Ima Hogg. When The Other Wiki put her article on the front page on April 1, a number of people complained about such an obvious fake.
  • JRR Tolkien once received a letter from one Sam Gamgee who wondered why his name suddenly became so well known. In a later letter Tolkien feared that someone named S.Gollum would write an angrier letter to him.


  1. (a scene in which everyone genuinely struggled not to break on-camera; Michael Palin manages to sneak a smile while his face is turned.)
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