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"My child, if you use that pseudonym everyone will know that I am not just the father of a composer but also the father of an imbecile."—Johann Sebastian Mastropiero's father's response after he started to compose music under the name of Johann Severo Mastropiano
"Malik Blishtar is actually Marik Ishtar?"
A character, engaged in "covert ops" of the more comedic kind, is asked for their name. They never prepared one before hand, and don't have time to come up with a Line-of-Sight Name. Without thinking, they begin to blurt out their real name, only to cover it up with some painful pronunciation twisting and a quick stammer.
- In one Taco Bell commercial, a man named Phillip Ontakos is working at cubicle 399. It was advertising their $3.99 Taco special.
Anime and Manga
- In Ranma ½, Ranma (as a girl) is about to introduce himself to his mother for the first time. While saying the first syllable of his name, he sees her grip her sword and changes his name to "Ranko".
- In the Pokémon episode "Showdown in Dark City," Ash Ketchum starts to give his real name as "Ash...Ketchup..." before changing it to "Tom Ato". Following his example, Misty and Brock introduce themselves as "Ann Chovie" and "Caesar Salad", respectively. The reason they had the pseudonyms at all was to avoid being recognized as Pokemon trainers.
- "We're from Cafe Mew Mew in Tokyo -- mmph!" "Do you want to give us away?" Needless to say, they keep the name.
- In Detective Conan Conan nearly did this at the very beginning, before he came up with Conan Edogawa, he nearly said "Shinichi." He's lucky that Conan can be rendered in Japanese. Imagine if it was some name with L's everywhere.
- Not only that, but many times when Conan and Heiji meet up for a case, Heiji (unintentionally or otherwise) slips and calls him "Kudo" in front of the girls, always covering it up with another word that sort of might sound a little bit like it (a homonym.)
- Excel Saga parodies this trope along with everything else in existence - in one episode Excel uses the alias Pseudonym Undercover. On another occasion she actually does use "Sue Donym".
- In Kuragehime, Wholesome Crossdresser Kuranosuke has been hanging out with a group of female otaku, only one of which knows he's a guy. After one of them calls him by the nickname "Meat" once too often, he starts to retort, "I have a name, and it's Kurano-" before realizing he's standing right in front of the sign at their boarding house that states "No boys allowed." He quickly changes his sentence and tells them his name is "Kurako," and is shocked that the others actually bought it.
- Usui in Kaichou wa Maid-sama likes to trick
Those Two GuysYukimura with a foreign accent and the name "Usui Janai" - literally "Not Usui." It works.
- In Batman, a favorite alias of the Joker is "Joe Kerr". Ingenious! As one might expect, this habit was largely confined to the Silver Age, but it still comes up every once in a while as a Mythology Gag.
- Amusingly, one of the main writers on Batman the Brave And The Bold is Joseph Kuhr.
- Other examples of alias used by the Joker include; Mr. White and Jack Napier, the latter of which may be his real name if the first Batman movie is to believed.
- And in Jack Kirby's Eternals, the Eternal Ikaris sometimes used "Ike Harris". Neil Gaiman made sure to revive this when he did his run on Eternals.
- In Cable and Deadpool, Steve Rogers, the Star-Spangled Man with the Plan, being the ingenious "Master of Disguise" that he is, infiltrated Cable's island Providence as an immigrant with the name Roger Stevens. Not only that, but his idea of hiding his signature blond hair is to wear a Brooklyn Dogers baseball cap.
- In Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, when he goes to a suspect's dinner party, he starts to give his real name (not out of desperation but more ignorance). His date stops him and gives the name "Tom Ace".
- A variation occurs in the The Nutty Professor (both the 1963 and 1996 versions), wherein another character refers to the titular character as "buddy" while he is under the influence of his transformation drug, prompting him to adopt "Buddy Love" as the name of his alternate personality.
- In Batman: The Movie, Batman calls up the US Navy to find out how the Penguin acquired a pre-atomic submarine. Turns out he just bought it, after giving his name as P.N. Guinn.
- In A View to a Kill, James Bond at one point poses as a Financial Times reporter named "James Stock."
- In Leap Year, when Anna and Declan have to pretend to be married and are asked about their surname, they both blurt out their own surnames (Brady and O'Callaghan, respectively), before finally settling on O'Bradycallaghan.
- While posing as a substitute teacher, Drillbit Taylor quickly introduces himself as Dr. Illbit.
- The movie Harry and the Hendersons (also titled Bigfoot And The Hendersons internationally), is about Bigfoot moving in with a suburban family named Henderson. When a news reporter attempts to track down Bigfoot, calling it a vicious creature, the father of the family defends it, claiming that it's a gentle giant. When the reporter asks his name, he gets as far as "Hen" before realizing that would be a bad idea. The reporter refers to him as "The mysterious Mr. Hen" through the rest of the movie.
- In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins introduces himself to the trolls as "a bur- a hobbit." ("Bur" = "burglar", the profession designated to him by Gandalf.) To them, he's a "burrahobbit."
- In one of Donald Westlake's stories about John Dortmunder, John stammers out "John D-- Diddums." From then on, despite realizing that it doesn't sound like a real name ("It's Welsh," he'll frequently explain), whenever he needs an alias on short notice he panics and can't think of anything but "John Diddums."
- Partially a Line-of-Sight Name, but in the Warlock of Gramaraye book A Wizard in Absentia, a very hung over Magnus tries to come up with a pseudonym. He start's out with "Mmma", but quickly realizes it and turns it into a groan. Before he subconsciously sees the E.D.G.A.R. patch on the guard's arm, and gives his name as Ed Gar.
- In Sharyn McCrumb's books Bimbos of the Death Sun and Zombies of the Gene Pool, the main character is an engineering professor, James Owen Mega, who writes science fiction under the name Jay Omega... and is shocked when one of his students sees through the pseudonym.
- In Maximum Ride, when Fang is taken to the hospital Max begins to say his name but quickly ends with "Nick". Iggy later calls Fang "Fnick".
- In American Gods: Low-Key Lyesmith = Loki Lie-Smith.
- Which only works if you pronounce it in the English way, and not the proper Norse/Icelandic way.
- Since it's revealed that the American analogues have little connection to the originals, the only proper way to pronounce it is in American English.
- Which only works if you pronounce it in the English way, and not the proper Norse/Icelandic way.
- In one story by Marion Zimmer Bradley, girl Romilly ran away from home. When asked for her name then, she starts "Rom-", coughs, thinks for a moment about using her brother's name, then answers "Rumal".
- In Rowan Hood, Rosemary, while disguised as a boy, is asked for her name and unthinkingly responds with her nickname, Ro. She quickly adds that it's short for Rowan.
- X Wing Series: Face is disguised as an enemy bridge crewman and speaking to a planetary official, when he turns to address his squadmate Jesmin, who happens to be the niece of the famous Admiral Ackbar. So he starts off with "Ensign Ack-", coughs, and finishes it as "Ackran".
- In the James Bond short story For Your Eyes Only, Bond meets up with a Canadian contact to obtain information for an off-the-books mission. When Bond introduces himself as 'Mr. James', his contact eyes him suspiciously and then says that James can call him 'Colonel Johns'.
Live Action TV
- In Nebulous, the eponymous professor is infiltrating a brainwashing camp. When asked his name, he quickly replies "Professor Neb-Neb".
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy is investigating her mother's new boyfriend, one of his co-workers ask who she is. She says "Bu...Linda. Belinda."
- Doctor Who: The Doctor's pseudonym "John Smith" is a Line-of-Sight Name, but that he's Doctor John Smith fits the trope. Also, the Master's various "disguised" names, which are almost always anagrams, synonyms or translations of the name Master. In the new series, Mister Saxon was even an (unintended) anagram of Master No. Six - which (depending on whether you count The Other Darrins separately) he was.
- After Monica of Friends finds her credit card stolen, she meets the culprit, but not wanting to give her name away, calls herself "Monana". Apparently it's Dutch - I mean Pennsylvania Dutch.
- Also averted in an episode where Rachel expresses disbelief that anyone would introduce themselves in bars under an assumed name only to have Joey and Phoebe do a little dialogue with identities they've apparently been using for years when they don't want to use their own name.
- Kenan and Kel has this. Not out of pretending not to be himself, but simply by being star struck when he meets the president Kenan gets the name "Kiki". Kel is also starstruck but ends up with the name Sharona because he stammers "M, m, my... Sharona".
- Another more straight example is when they enter a TV show to win a house and when a woman ask their names:
Kenan: I'm Kenan Rock...ers..tain..ber...nerson.
Woman: Mr. and Mrs. Rockerstainbernerson...
- On Top Gear, the presenters are pretending to be 17-year-olds to get insurance quotes. James May gives his real name before quickly correcting himself and using "Adam Smith" instead. Yes, that Adam Smith.
- In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Aunts Hilda and Zelda are aged down to teenagers and Sabrina introduces them as her cousins, Hillary and... Zellery. "Your parents were hippies".
- In 3rd Rock from the Sun, when Dick pretends to be a woman, he quickly invents the name "Dicky-Jo".
- In the Spanish and Argentinian soap opera Lalola, Lalo picks a new name this way after he's been turned into a woman.
Lalo: Lalo!... Lalo... La-lo-la. Lola! Lola Padilla.
- Drake and Josh: Drake realises his new girlfriend is the daughter of one of his teachers and quickly says that her name is "E...Liza Jum...Jumbal..aya. Liza Jumbalya!"
- Several episodes of Scrubs have the Janitor pretending to be a doctor. Every time he dons the name "Dr. Ján Ĩtor." This is but one of almost countless Crowning Moments Of Awesome Neil Flynn dished out over the series long run.
- In an episode of Home Improvement, Tim wants to impress Bob Villa, who is guest starring on Tool Time to answer viewer questions. Tim tells Jill to call and ask a difficult question for him to answer, and when he answers the phone, her response is "Hello! This is Jill...een. Uh, uh, Jilleen!"
- Monty Python's Flying Circus provides us with Mr. Hilter, standing for Parliament in a by-election on the National Bocialist ticket in Minehead.
- Dramatic example: David Banner always used his first name and a last name that started with "B". If the name was common enough (David Brown, for example) he would use it multiple times.
- On The X-Files, Mulder wasn't under any pressure but still didn't bother to come up with a good pseudonym.
Max Fenig: ...I read your article in OMNI about the Gulf Breeze sightings.
Mulder: I published that under a pseudonym.
Max Fenig: M.F. Luder. I know. M.F. Luder's an anagram for F. Mulder. You really didn't think that would fool us, did you?
Mulder: I didn't think anybody was paying attention.
Max Fenig: Somebody's always paying attention, Mr Mulder.
- The Pretender always had Jarod doing one of two things when developing an identity for his "pretend" - either he would use the name of a famous person from the same field (Jarod Earp, U.S. Marshal, Jarod Patton, U.S. Army) or occasionally use a name with a more subtle connection (such as Jarod Marley during Christmas time)
- Family Matters had an example when for some reason Urkel and his buddies had to infiltrate a convent while dressed as women. Pressed for a name, Urkel blurts out "Steee---fanie." Not Stephanie, Steefanie. He claims it's Lithuanian.
- Sophia does this once on The Golden Girls". "Sophia Pe...Hawkins. Sophia Pe-Hawkins."
- In Saga Frontier during Red's quest he attempts to investigate a fighting tournament dressed in his superhero outfit. When asked his name at the sign-up counter he stammers part of his real name a few times, and winds up entered in as "Rerere".
- In Chrono Trigger, Marle does this in the Japanese version. Her real name there is "Marledia", and she gives her name as "Marl". The English version changed her real name to "Nadia", thus making her cover name a bit more clever.
- Nearly happened in Metal Gear Solid 2, when Raiden encounters Solid Snake, undercover as Iroquois Pliskin, Snake starts introducing himself as "S...", before he realizes and corrects himself. Bear in mind Snake is a super soldier and former CIA agent.
- In StarTropics when Mike is disguised as a girl in order to gain access to Shecola, the Queen asks for his name, he then stutters: "Michael, I mean... Mich, Michelle! Michelle is my name!"
- In Trilby's Notes, the ex-Gentleman Thief Trilby (whose real name is never given) uses the name Terrance Railby while he's undercover. One character sees through the ruse, and makes fun of him for expecting to not be noticed.
- The Legion secret agent Vulpes Inculta in Fallout: New Vegas simply translates his name from the Latin.
His contact's diary: Just now I was approached by a rather intense young man calling himself "Mr. Fox." (Yeah, right.)
- The Wotch has Evan, with his habit of turning into a four-year-old and, inadvertently, female on his time off: the tyke is "Lil' E" -> Lilly. When this inevitably goes awry and (s)he ends up an adult in a dress, the result is dubbed "Miss E" -> Missy.
"Missy": I'm Lil.. er... Ev.. er.. Miss...
Rick: Lilerevermiss? Original, for sure.
- Subverted in this strip of Brawl in the Family.
- ~8-bit Theater~: The first time the
heroes protagonistsmain characters disguise themselves as women, they hurriedly identify themselves as Thiefica, Fighterina, Black Magica, and... Deborah. Yes, Red Mage had a female identity prepared beforehand. Interpret as you will.
- The Mega Crossover fancomic Roommates has an example bordering on Louis Cypher with a dash of Mr. Smith. Der Erlkönig uses the name "Lord Errol King" or "Mr. King" for short in his human disguise (which is a pretty convincing Glamour in itself).
- Used in Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series when Marik Ishtar is trying to avoid suspicion:
Joey: You seem like a swell dude. What's your name, pal?
Marik: [thinking] Crap in a bucket! I didn't plan for this! Think of a fake name, think of a fake name! [Speaking] Um, my name is uh, um, Mmmmmmmmalik.
Joey: Malik, huh? That sounds kinda like Marik, the guy we're trying to defeat in this season.
Marik: Yeah, I get that a lot.
- Crosses over with Mythology Gag since Malik is his name in the original Japanese anime. However, he later introduces himself as "Malik Blishtar"...
- Metal Gear Solid 2 The Sons of Abridgerty lampshades Snake's near-mistake in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty with him deciding on the inconspicuous cover Sudonimm McPhayckneighm (Pseodonym McFakename for those who don't get it)
- Coach Z believes himself to be superhero Damp Towel Man, and his mild-mannered alter ego Dan Towelman.
Strong Sad: Coach Z, you have a real sucky imagination.
- In Futurama, when Leela subscribes for the army, she is pushed for a name. Quickly she replies "Lee... la... man. La... man. Lemon! Lee Lemon!".
- In the first broadcast episode of The Simpsons, "Simpsons Roasting On an Open Fire", Homer, working as a Mall Santa, almost gives himself away when his son is the next kid in line: "What's your name, Bart...ner? Partner?
- In "Fear of Flying", he gives his name as Guy Incognito to enter Moe's in disguise. Subverted in that it turns out it wasn't Homer after all.
- Yin Yang Yo's Carl does this many times.
- In the Fairly Oddparents episode The Boy Who Would Be Queen, Timmy (as a girl) says his name is "Tim... mantha?".
- When she inexplicably needed to hide her non-human status, Babs on Tiny Toon Adventures came up with "Babs Bun..awalksi..oversmith"
- SpongeBob SquarePants. In "Fear of a Krabby Patty", Plankton gives his name as "Peter Lankton". It is later shortened to "P. Lankton".
- Hey, wait a second... is this a prank call?
- An episode of The Tick had the Tick, going undercover, blurt out his name as "Nick Soapdish". He is immediately called out on this.
The Tick: It's...uh...French!
Minion: That's funny. It sounds more made up to me.
- In Fish Hooks, Milo and Oscar do this while sneaking in to a girls' slumber party.
- In A Year Without A Santa Claus, Santa Claus mispronounces his surname when passing among the people of Southtown, calling himself "Mr. 'Clows.'"
- In Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Millions", the impovershed Joker is living in a cheap apartment due to money issues. When heading in, he's addressed at the front desk as a "Mr. Ker" implying he signed his name as "Joe Ker" when renting the place.
- Duckman N. Disguise.
- One Les Luthiers routine has the composer Johann Sebastian Mastropiero composing under the name Johann Severo Mastropiano, to save his family the shame of people knowing they raised a musician.
- One of the people who routinely set the New Scientist's weekly puzzles is called, apparently for real, "Sue Denham".
- Similarly, 1970s & 80s SF author P.S. Nim.
- The main male cast of Tales of Symphonia do this in the drama CD Maid in Altamira, where they dressed up as maids in a Maid Cafe. Lloyd becomes Lloydie, Zelos Zelda, Genis Ginny, Regal Regala, and Kratos Kratty. Of course, the names don't keep them from running off the customers.
- TV Tropes has a troper named Suedenim.