Do Not Call Me "Paul"

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Noah Bennet: Calm down, Gabriel.
Gabriel Gray: MY NAME IS SYLAR!


This person does not like their birth name; if you call them by it, they will either correct you or ignore you. This could be for a number of reasons. They might feel that you are assuming too much familiarity with them. They might find their real name embarrassing (though their alias is not always much better). They could want to reinvent themselves. Or it might be that no one calls them by that name besides their parents.

Unfortunately for them, it does not always stick; someone will always call them by their old name, much to their chagrin. This person is not only known by their nickname, despite his best efforts. The person who calls them by his real name might be trying to mock them or threaten them, or perhaps is unaware that they feel this way.

The name comes from the fact that the professional wrestlers Triple H [Paul Levesque] and The Big Show [Paul Wight] both have told fans who refer to them by their birth names that since all their friends and even their wives refer to them by their ring names, as far as they are concerned, those are their real names. This trope is hardly limited to people named Paul, however. Raven [Scott Levy] is well known for his insistence on being called Raven by everyone. As noted in one of his many shoot interviews, the only people who can call him Scotty are those who first knew him as Scotty the Body.

Could be related to Embarrassing First Name, but that is more about an annoyance. This one is more prideful and dramatic.

For obvious reasons, this is very common with transgender characters. There's a specific name to identify this context: "deadnaming" is addressing someone by a name which they abandoned when they transitioned, while "misgendering" is addressing someone by the wrong pronouns. Both are to be avoided at all costs.[1]

And then there's porn, where performers would understandably want to keep their legal names and their stage names very separate.

Some entertainers invert this trope when they want to put their personas behind them (often because their work has become an Old Shame to them), refusing to answer to their Stage Names.

May also be related to That Man Is Dead and Becoming the Mask. Compare My Name Is Not Durwood, Insistent Terminology, They Call Me Mister Tibbs.

Also compare Embarrassing Nickname - someone dubbed them something insulting, and it stuck like a venereal disease.

Examples of Do Not Call Me "Paul" include:

Anime and Manga

  • The main character of Steins;Gate prefers Hououin Kyouma to Okabe Rintarou.
  • In Princess Resurrection, the real name of Hime is Liliane, but she doesn't like to be called that. Two of her brothers, Emil and Severin, call her that, however. The latter did it under dramatic circumstances—a duel between him and Hime where we learn the background of the name:

Severin: Don't be so cold, Liliane! It's a good name. I gave you the name of the cat I used to own.
Hime (Liliane): The cat you were rough with and killed. Severin!

  • Annie from Cowboy Bebop; her full first name is Anastasia but she claims that only two people have the right to call her by that name—Spike, apparently, is not one of them, at least not since he "died".
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Albireo Imma adopted the name "Ku:Nel Sanders" for the Mahora Budokai, and liked it so much that every appearance of his afterwards, he refused to reply to his real name. (In Japanese, "Ku-neru" is a combination verb for "eat" and "sleep," plus the added "Sanders" and every time his name is said in its entirety you see the KFC Guy...)
    • Then there's Fate Averruncus, who apparently loathes his real name: "Tertium".
  • Yamato of Naruto Shippuden dislikes being called by his real name of Tenzo, telling Kakashi that he prefers his codename.
  • Gai Daigoji Martian Successor Nadesico very much dislikes being addressed by his real name "Jiro Yamada" because he's thinks it's too boring.

Gai: Jiro Yamada is just the boring old name my mother gave me. Gai Daigoji is the name that belongs to my soul!!!

  • Son Goku of Dragon Ball will always insist "My name isn't Kakarotto! I am Son Goku!!". Although in Goku's case, while "Kakarotto" is indeed his birth name, he was unaware of his Saiyan heritage until his mid 20s, so...
    • He does eventually accept Vegeta calling him this, probably because he knows Vegeta is too stubborn to stop if asked. Indeed, Vegeta makes something of a point of always calling him "Kakarotto", as he feels that Goku should be proud of his Saiyan heritage.
  • Yusaku Godai of Maison Ikkoku is only ever called by his first name by his parents and his grandmother in the original Japanese (some translations change this). The only time someone else used his first name, it was schoolgirl stalker, Ibuki Yagami (when he insisted she stop calling him Godai-sensei, since he wasn't her teacher anymore, she says, "I understand, Yusaku-san.") Poor guy looked like it gave him hives.
  • Played straight and inverted in Tekkaman Blade. At the beginning of the series, Blade claims to have forgotten his name, which leads to Noal nicknaming him D-Boy. About 20 episodes later, when the crew finds out his given name (Aiba Takaya), he insists that his name is D-boy (For about half an episode anyway before spilling the beans.) It becomes an inversion toward the end of the series when he "forgets that the Space Knights have nicknamed him "D-boy" and insists that they call him his given name" Played straight again when after defeating his brother, he sheds his birthname and nickname, claiming that he is Tekkaman Blade

"D-boy and Aiba Takaya are dead. I am Tekkaman Blade!"

  • Reina from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
  • Zera, the Litchi Hikari Club's self proclaimed "Emperor of Ruin", becomes rather irate when addressed as Tsunegawa, his family name.
    • "Is my blood Tsunegawa? No. Is my flesh Tsunegawa? No. Tsunegawa is vague and intangible. According to the Hikari Club, I am designated as Zera."
  • Papillion Mask from Buso Renkin proclaimed that the only person allowed to call him by his real name (Kousaku) is the protagonist Kazuki.

Comic Books

  • Rorschach from Watchmen, a.k.a. Walter Kovacs: "You keep calling me Walter. I don't like you."
  • Archie Comics: "Jughead" Jones would prefer that you just call him "Jughead" and not "Forsythe".
  • Averted in Invincible, with Mark's friend William who doesn't want to be called by any nickname, but only by his full name, and has problems getting this done.
  • Kal-El would prefer Superman or Clark, thank you. Interesting variation in that sometimes he will call himself Kal-El and it is never, ever a good thing - it signifies that he is turning his back on his humanity. That's bad.
    • Subverted in that his fellow superheroes often avoid calling him Clark, so may actually call him "Kal" to call him something like a normal name. Wonder Woman and Supergirl are more likely to do this.
  • Calling The Hulk "Bruce" is a good way to end up on the receiving end of the worst beat down of your life. Justified, though, as they really are separate personalities inhabiting the same body. And they do not like each other.
    • Same goes for his archfoe The Leader. He hates it when people refer to him by Samuel Sterns.
  • Wanna piss off minor Spidey villain/Frightful Four member The Trapster? Just refer to his past as the laughably named "Paste-Pot Pete", and see what happens.
  • The Fox McCloud of the Nintendo Power Star FOX comic does NOT like being called "Junior."
  • Cassidy the vampire from Preacher really doesn't like his first name (Proinsias), and hasn't used it since 1916. He accidentally lets slip of it to Jesse, who ends up using it later to insult him after the two of them have a fall-out.

Fan Works


Calvin: Well, where's the humor in that?

  • Fanfic Author Meowth Rocket (a.k.a. Meowth's Toon Dragon) has this subverted slightly. He's not that uneasy about people he knows and even strangers calling him by his real first name (at times).[3] But he's very secretive on what his last name is, not as much out of privacy but more out of embarrassment. People have asked him if the name in his email address is his full name and he's flat-out refused to answer, only telling his closest friends his full name. An old profile supposedly has his full name, but he's refused to tell if that's genuine or if it's an alias.
  • Played for Laughs in Annals of Arithmancy, the sequel to the Harry Potter fic The Arithmancer. Once she gets her doctorate, Hermione Granger keeps telling people just to call her "The Doctor"; to her intense disappointment, almost no one does.
  • The protagonist of Magical Girl Noir Quest Chiaki Matsuda, who has identity issues (on account of amnesia) objects to being called by her past names or alternate names. The strength of her objection depends on the name she is being called and who is saying it. She really wanted to object to Hazuki calling her Nameless One, but she was too paralyzed with fear. She seems particularly opposed to "Nameless One" and "Akemi Homura". She probably hates being called those names even more than being called Ol Noodles. The name/nickname she has renounced least strongly is Murderface (both out of futility and that she hasn't fully renounced that identity).


  • In The Wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson gets rather upset when the name badge he's given at his day job has his given name, Robin, and not his ring name, which he usually uses.
  • In the third Resident Evil movie, a character is called "K-Mart" by the band of people who found her abandoned in a K-Mart because she does not like her given name.
  • Agent Smith of The Matrix coolly tells our hero "Goodbye, Mr. Anderson" as he holds our hero in a deadlock, in front of an arriving express train. As his ultimate gesture of rejecting his past as a slave, Thomas Anderson proudly shouts "My name is Neo!!" and proceeds to kick the evil programme's ass.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy hates being called "Junior" by his father. This is both because he hates the name and he doesn't want anyone to realize his birth name is actually Henry Jones, Jr. It's not until the end that his father uses his preferred nickname to show that he's really serious.

Henry Jones, Sr: We named the dog "Indiana."
Marcus Brody: May we go home, please?
Sallah: Dog? You are named after the dog?! (laughs)
Henry Jones, Jr: I've got a lot of fond memories of that dog...


Life Magazine publisher Henry Luce: Now, I want them all to meet my people who will write their true stories, Naturally these stories will appear in Life magazine under their own bylines: For example, "by Betty Grissom", or "by Virgil I. Grissom", or...
Gus Grissom: Gus!
Henry Luce: What was that?
Gus Grissom: Gus. Nobody calls me by... that other name.
Henry Luce: Gus? An astronaut named "Gus"? What's your middle name?
Gus Grissom: Ivan.
Henry Luce: Ivan... ahem... well. Maybe Gus isn't so bad. Might be something there... All right, all right. You can be Gus.

  • In Mystery Men, Mr. Furious's name is Roy. He finally admits it to keep his new girlfriend from writing him off.
  • The protagonist in Boogie Nights asks to be called his Stage Name, Dirk Diggler, off the set.
  • Spoofed in You Don't Mess With the Zohan with The Phantom, born Fatush.
  • In the fake rockumentary Hard Core Logo, the singer is Joe Dick (not Joe Mulgrew), the lead guitarist is Billy Tallent (not Bill Boise), and the drummer is Pipefitter (who may have forgotten his original name). The other member is John Oxenberger, who could never find a good nickname. In the credits, it is revealed that with his new band, John is known as "The Ox".
  • Despicable Me: "It's Vector. Victor was my nerd name."
    • And not even Vector calls Gru by his actual name, "Felonious". Nor does his wife, the Minions, his brother, his adoptive daughters, even his mother. (Who calls him "son".) Clearly he hates his name.
  • Stripes: One of the soldiers introduces himself as nicknamed "Psycho". "If you call me Francis, I'll kill you."
  • Darth Vader initially plays this trope straight in Return of the Jedi. When Luke addresses him as 'Anakin', he responds, "That name no longer has any meaning for me!"
  • In the X Men movies, Mystique especially despises her human name. Understandable, since her parents were apparently jerks.
  • One of the bullies in Hocus Pocus, Ice, hates being called "Ernie." This is presented as a fairly pathetic effort to seem cooler.
  • Ajax Francis, in Deadpool.


  • An inversion in Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys: Fat Charlie wishes people would use his birth name.
  • Harry Potter has a few examples:
    • Tonks, first name Nymphadora.
    • Voldemort counts too. Dumbledore (and later Harry too) continues calling him by his real name of Tom Riddle in the face after the name switch.
    • Ginevra "Ginny" Weasley
      • In fact, her full first name isn't even revealed in the books until Auntie Muriel is heard using it in the last book[4]
  • In Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, Clement Koudelka and Ludmilla Droushnakovi prefer to be called Kou and Drou.
    • Bujold's other series, Chalion, has Lupe "Caz" Cazaril. His love interest thinks that Lupe is a nice name, but he tells her that as a child, his old brothers drove him crazy by pretending to howl like wolves.
  • Ruth Nancy Blackett of Swallows and Amazons. She refuses to be called Ruth because she's an Amazon, and they're ruthless.
  • Singe in the Dragon Below trilogy flinches and corrects them every time someone mentions his family name.
  • Senna Wales in Everworld. Senna isn't her real name, though this isn't revealed to the reader until Inside the Illusion, the ninth book in the twelve-volume series. (Her real name is Senda, which means "Pathway.") During the "family reunion", Senna's mother calls her by her birth name, provoking Senna to politely correct her. Later in the conversation, she does it again, and Senna explodes in anger and screams at her mother not to call her that.
  • Agent Pendergast demands to be called by his last name only, or Special Agent, depending on the situation. His wife preferred her first.

Pendergast: I'd rather you didn't "sir" me, Jason. The name's Pendergast. And this is my wife, Helen. She prefers to be called by her first name, I by my last."

  • In The Wheel of Time, all of the Forsaken got new names when they turned evil and generally get angry (sometimes threatening murder) when their birth name is used.
    • Most notably Lanfear (born Meiren). Ishmael just gets a That Man Is Dead in the prologue of the first book when his birth name is used, and Asmodean voluntarily offers his birth name.
  • In Rivers of London Tyburn insists on being called Lady Ty, leading to a minor CMOA when Peter Grant not only calls her Tyburn and uses a Precision F-Strike to do so, during a World of Cardboard Speech.
  • Leslie Thomas' detective Dangerous Davies in The Last Detective. His actual first name is never revealed.
  • Inverted in Dune. His name really is Paul, and he likes being called Paul, but all the Fremen call him Muad'Dib. As an act of reserving his identity as an Atreides as well as his acceptance into their culture, he requests to be called Paul-Muad'dib.
    • ... and Usul and Mahdi, others call him Kwisatz Hadderach. The man has more names than stillsuits.
  • In Anne of Avonlea, one of Anne's students introduces himself on the first day of school as "Jacob." Only later does Anne learn that he's actually named St. Clair, and his mother is very insistent that Anne call him by that name. Anne and her student soon reach a compromise: she, as his teacher, is allowed to call him St. Clair - but if any of his classmates uses the name, he'll beat them up.
  • In the book of Lark Rise to Candleford, this is mentioned regarding the Pratt sisters, Pearl (nee Prudence) and Ruby (nee Ruth). In the TV series, a whole episode was devoted to the way Dorcas Lane found this out, and was therefore able to deliver some letters from their father, which she had previously put to one side as undeliverable.
  • In The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by Thornton W. Burgess, Peter Rabbit decides that his name is too lame, and tries to get everyone to call him "Peter Cottontail." He refuses to hear anyone using his old name. Eventually, he is taught a lesson, as various friends try to inform him that Reddy Fox is behind the bush up ahead.
  • In Ender's Game, Ender doesn't like to be called Andrew.

Live Action TV

  • The second season of WMAC Masters introduced Tracy Swedom who always insisted on being called by his key symbol Tracer. Since he was a Jerkass, everyone called him Tracy; of course, his name was a Significant Anagram (Destroy WMAC).
  • Recurring villain Ari Haswari from NCIS responds to "Haswari" (his Arab name), but not "Ari" (his Jewish name).
  • Star Trek: Voyager's Seven of Nine was born Annika Hansen, but resists being called that.
  • In Heroes, Sylar insists on being called by his new nickname, as opposed to his birth name Gabriel, which is part of his discarded, "normal" identity.
  • In The X Files, Agent Mulder prefers not to be addressed by his given name of Fox, claiming that even his parents call him Mulder, which they don't.
  • In Happy Days, only Mrs. Cunningham can call the Fonz "Arthur."
  • Subverted in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when the crew travels back in time and meets Mark Twain, who insists on being called by his real name of Samuel Clemens.
  • Walt Junior on Breaking Bad will now only respond to "Flynn".
    • He gave up on this around the same time that Skyler (his mother) kicked Walt, Sr. out for that whole breaking bad thing. Once he started idealizing his father and resenting his mother, he went back to Walt Jr.
  • Andy from The Office tries this for about five minutes after returning from anger management with the new name "Drew" as part of a reinvention, but Jim continues to call him Andy to irritate him and he eventually gives up on it.
  • Rodney McKay of Stargate Atlantis tried to hide the fact that his first name is actually only got out because of his sister, who persistently calls him by it.
    • There's one episode where he meets an alternate version of himself known as Rod. McKay complains that he was never able to get anyone to call him Rod.
  • Adam Klaus in Jonathan Creek. The only person who ever uses the name Chester is his sister Kitty, and he really wishes she wouldn't. (Surprisingly, though, no-one else picks up on it to annoy him. Nor do they ask why Kitty's Scottish when he's supposed to be American.)
    • Because Adam explains in that episode that she's his half sister, they have the same father, Adam's Mother was American, Kitty's was Scottish, Adam was raised in America.
  • Bubbles, from Trailer Park Boys, insists that Ricky doesn't refer to his friend, 'Shitty Bill,' by that name, as he finds that nickname offensive. When the next scene cuts in, Bubbles addresses him with a pleasant, 'Can I do the gears, Shitty?'
  • Adam (born Gracie) Torres from Degrassi is a typical example of a transgender person changing their name.
  • Cindy Mackenzie of Veronica Mars much prefers her nickname, Mac.
  • In an episode of Doctor Who, one-year-old baby Alfie prefers the name Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All. Being a baby, he can't exactly tell his parents this; the Doctor finds this out because he speaks Baby.
  • On The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane Smith is very clear that she prefers to go by "Sarah Jane". The Doctor gets away with calling her "Sarah," though.
  • Benjamin "Coach" Wade on Survivor. "If anyone calls me Benjamin to my face, I'm gonna go nuts."
  • The West Wing:
    • Josiah Edward Bartlet, better known as Jed to his best friend and his wife. To everyone else on planet Earth, he's "Mr. President".
    • Claudia Jean Cregg is universally known as C.J.
  • One season of Hell's Kitchen had a contestant named Robert; when Chef Ramsay called him "Bobby" once, he got surprisingly angry. As he later explained in the Confession Cam (and to Ramsay after the service), Bobby was the name of his father, a cruel man who told Robert that he would never amount to anything, making it obvious why the name offended him. After hearing the explanation, Ramsay apologized and promised not to use that name anymore.
  • Angela is like this on Bones. She renamed herself because she hated her birth name. We can guess how bad it was by how her dad tried to name Angela's son Staccato Mamba. (the Staccato part did make a middle name, though.)
    • In the episode "Mayhem On A Cross", members of various metal groups refuse to give either their birth name or another members birth name.
  • Around the Las Vegas Crime Lab on CSI, no one calls Supervisor Russell Dienbenkorn, as he tells new old colleague Finn. It's D.B. Russell.
    • And Finn herself is actually Julie-D.B. is the one person who still calls her Julie, and her writing 'Diebenkorn' on the envelope she left him was her way of getting back at him for it.
  • In ALF, the title character's actual name is Gordon Shumway, but he doesn't seem to like it much, preferring to go by the acronym (Alien Life Form) Willie gives him.


  • There's always the "Boy Named Sue," immortalized in song by Johnny Cash (and others). He still hates that name...
  • Paul Daniel Frehley, better known as the former guitarist for KISS Ace Frehley. He'd been known as Ace since before KISS but they decided to go with Ace because they didn't want two Pauls, so now even today everyone calls him Ace, in interviews.
  • Alice Cooper. There is an article about him where the interviewer called him Vincent, and Cooper replied "My mother calls me Vincent." Sorry Alice.
    • Justified Trope. He legally changed his name to Alice Cooper in 1975. This was most likely done to ensure he could still use "Alice Cooper" for his solo project, despite it originally being the name of the band, which had just broken up at that time.
  • Ozzy Osbourne has said that if someone calls him John (his real name) he'll ignore them. His first wife, Theresa, still refers to him by that name.
  • Guitarist Buckethead didn't even allow Ozzy, the Prince of Fucking Darkness himself, to call him Brian, retorting that only his mother calls him Brian.
  • Every member of Rammstein. Paul Landers' birth name is Heiko Paul Hiersche. He took his (now divorced) wife's surname and ignored his real first name, making an interesting case where you should call him Paul. Flake Lorenz doesn't like his given name, Christian, and has pretty much declared that Flake is his name. Richard's birth name is Sven Kruspe, the only remnant of that is his middle initial, Z (for Zven). Christoph Schneider usually goes by either "Doom" or his last name. And Oliver Riedel just goes by Ollie. The singer, Till Lindemann, also invokes this trope; his full first name is Dietrich.
  • Prince changed his (legal) name to a symbol as part of a contract dispute with Warner Bros. When people settled on calling him "the artist formerly known as Prince," he decided he didn't like that, and changed it again to "The Artist." When the dust finally cleared, he went back to "Prince," which is his actual first name by birth.
  • Bob Dylan sometimes gets annoyed when you call him Robert or Bob Zimmerman. It depends on his mood and how much he likes you. He once wrote a song with an entire stanza of variations on, "You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy..." Apparently Barack Obama is on the shortlist for people who can call him "Zimmy" to his face.
  • It is highly recommended that you not address Lady Gaga as Stefani. Lady Gaga is Lady Gaga; Stefani sang for No Doubt.
  • Yusuf Islam, far better known as (but no longer answering to) "Cat Stevens". Before that, born Steven Georgiou.
  • Lights. You can use her last name and call her 'Lights Poxleitner', but whatever you do, you should NOT call her Valerie.
  • Rock singer Meat Loaf strongly dislikes his birth name, "Marvin". He had his first name legally changed to "Michael" to avoid having to use it at all, has the songs he's written credited to "Meat Loaf Aday", and generally prefers just to be addressed as "Meat".
  • A good way to prematurely end any interview with electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos is to refer to her as Walter.
  • Don't call Tori Amos "Myra Ellen" if you want to be her friend. She makes an exception for her family, who calls her Ellen.
  • Five Iron Frenzy and Brave Saint Saturn's lead singer, Reese Roper's actual name is Michael Reese Roper. But as the lyrics of one of his songs, All the Hype, says: "My name is Reese, don't call me Mike".
  • "Commander B. Hawkins", the keyboardist and songwriter for The Protomen, claims in interviews that even his mother calls him "Commander" these days. Given that the Protomen as a whole are prone to extreme flights of fancy, this may or may not actually be true.
  • Dirk Dierickx, known by the artist names Push, M.I.K.E., or DJ Mike, changed his legal name to Mike Dierickx in 2000.
  • Sting hates it when you call him Gordon, to the point of simply pretending he was never named Gordon Sumner in the first place.
  • Former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett, later in life, would refuse to answer to "Syd," his nickname, instead preferring his birth name, "Roger."
  • Emilie Autumn insists her her legal name is "Emilie Autumn Liddel", despite fans buying merchandise and receiving them from "Emily Fritzges". On her website, the words "Emily" and "Fritzges" are filtered out and discussion of this name is grounds for a banning.
  • Paul McCartney's first name is James, but he'd rather be called by his middle one - possibly because his father is also called James (and Paul gave a son this name as well).
  • Bono from U2. Incidentally, his birth name is Paul (David Hewson). The Other Wiki states, however, that everyone - even his wife and the other band members - calls him "Bono." Also ironic is that he hated the nickname at first.

Newspaper Comics

  • Jon does this a lot in Garfield by calling his brother "Doc Boy."

Professional Wrestling

  • Pro wrestling locker room etiquette demands that new wrestlers must introduce themselves to the older wrestlers, and then call them whatever the older wrestler introduces himself as.
  • Quite frequent. Despite what some smarks think, the names you hear on TV are what they are called in real life. This was spoofed on Celebrity Deathmatch where a demon mocked The Undertaker by calling him Mark. It was also alluded to during the Ministry of Darkness angle when Vince McMahon said that "Mark" had begun to think his gimmick was real.
    • Averted in a non-Deadman angle with Undertaker in 2002 involving his wife and a woman who claimed to have had an affair with him (and later confessed to being paid off by nemesis Paul Heyman to tell that lie); both women referred to him as "Mark" throughout the storyline.
      • Also averted when Vince had a set collapse on him in the summer of 2008. Despite being an obvious storyline, as he was being helped from the rubble you clearly hear him say "Paul....Paul....I can't feel my legs!" referring to HHH.
    • It is interesting to note that wrestling name conventions stick for a long time. For example, The Undertaker is ALWAYS Undertaker or 'Taker. Unless, of course, you're Ric Flair, who met him during his 'Mean' Mark Callous days. Flair still calls him Mark. It extends on most of the time, though there are exceptions. Lance Storm, for example, refers to Shane Helms as The Hurricane, even though he met him during the Shane Helms days.
  • As Sabu and Rob Van Dam can atest, The Sheik would never break-character, going so far as refusing to answer the phone if someone called an asked to speak to "Ed" (his given name).
  • Layla El and Kelly Kelly poked fun at this in an interview as Layla referred to Kelly as "Barbie" (her real name, believe it or not) and Kelly jokingly corrected her.
  • Edge once mentioned in an interview that the reason he doesn't like to be called his real name by fans is that the fans only know Edge, the wrestling character. They aren't familiar with Adam Copeland, the person who portrays said character.
  • CM Punk has said in an interview of his own that, since he's been called "Punk" from his early teens, "Phil Brooks" is not a desired name while in the wrestling business.
  • Notable that part-Trope Namer The Big Show actually did wrestle under his real name for a while when he made his WWF debut in 1999, before phasing it out.
  • Inverted: Dwayne Johnson has started to distance himself from his wrestling nickname The Rock, even going to the point of having it removed from his film credits. Reason is the same that Edge says, insisting that "The Rock" is a seperate character from Dwayne.
    • Johnson made his return on the 2/14/11 episode of Raw and was in full Rock mode. However it was interesting to note that at one point he went so far as to say "let me speak to you as Dwayne." The WWE website is listing him as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.....should be interesting to see if the announcers actually use his real name or go with The Rock.
    • In several promos leading to the eventual Wrestlemania XXVIII match between The Rock and John Cena, Cena has referred to the Rock as Dwayne to make a separation between Johnson's wrestling career and his acting one.
    • CM Punk appears to make it a point to refer to the Brahma Bull as "Dwayne" in most, if not all mentions.
  • And again: in a TV interview not long after leaving WWE Rena Mero said, "I am not Sable. Sable is a character I played. My name is Rena Mero."
  • The Ultimate Warrior actually legally changed his name to "Warrior" (a step up, to be sure, from "James Hellwig"). But this was by many accounts for trademark-related reasons and not personal ones.
    • The same goes for "Ravishing Rick Rude".
  • Used during a storyline where Eric Bischoff was being put on trial to see if he could remain RAW GM. "the Masterpiece" Chris Masters was called in to testify on behalf of Bischoff, but Vince was able to discredit his testimony by proving he committed perjury, as his name isn't really Chris Masters, but Chris Mordetzky.
  • In most of his professional life, Chris Jericho goes by his nickname. However, for one night on "Dancing With the Stars", he subverted this by being announced by his real name Chris Irvine, as he was honoring his late mother by dancing to her favorite song. Aww.

Religion and Mythology

  • No, do call him Paul, don't call Saul.
    • Acts 13:9 should make it clear that Paul is his a.k.a.; no passage states that he or God changed his name. The only thing is that "Saul" doesn't appear past that point.
      • "Saul" is his name in Hebrew and "Paul" is his name in Greek. It's just a different translation. (Similar to "Michael" "Miguel" "Mikhail" etc. all being the same.) As his focus shifted from Jews to Gentiles, his name shifted with the language he used to communicate.
    • Also, many Jews and some Christian denominations believe God does not like to be called 'God', preferring 'The Lord.' And many more Jews will get quite annoyed if you try to guess his real name and call him "Yahweh" or "Jehovah".
      • Ironically, this is the exact opposite of Jehovah's Witnesses, who believed God DOES like to be called by name, whether that be "Yahweh" or "Jehovah", and are slightly annoyed by the overabundant use of 'The Lord' and such.

Video Games

  • In Devil May Cry, Lady's name is actually Mary, but she tells Dante that she "doesn't have a name" because she hates her father, so Dante begins to refer to her as Lady.
    • Later:

"Mary died a long time ago. My name is Lady."


Cole: Your middle name is Jedediah?
Zeke: Only my mama gets to call me Jedediah.

  • Magoichi from Sengoku Basara was originally called Sayaka, but threw it away when she took on the name and title of her predecessor. No matter how many times she tells him this, Motochika still uses her old name.
  • Cecilia of Rune Factory prefers to be called "Ceci". She never really says why.
  • Bernie Crane in Grand Theft Auto IV doesn't like to be called by his old name, Florian Cravic.
  • Team Fortress 2: According to the Engineer update comic, BLU Engineer prefers to be called Dell. Mr. Conagher is his father.
  • Even after receiving the codename Big Boss, Jack insists on being called Naked Snake. At least until the end of Peace Walker, where he accepted the title.
  • Literally in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future with Don Paolo. He doesn't go crazy, but it's preferred he be called don paolo instead of Paul. Probably a villain thing.

Visual Novels

Web Comics

  • From El Goonish Shive, Tiffany Susan Pompoms ONLY goes by her middle name... she really, REALLY doesn't like her first name, mostly because it's a bit too "happy" for her image.
  • Larson of Venus Envy has good reason for his birth name being a Berserk Button; he's a trans man and his original name was "Marie". "DON'T CALL ME THAT! I HATE THAT NAME!"
    • Zoe, on the other hand, is only mildly annoyed at being called "Alex," especially by her mother, with whom she's fairly close.
  • In Dumnestor's Heroes, the Dark Lordess Tyfnee explains that Tyfnee is her middle name; she never really liked "Atrocia"
  • Sprite artist Akuma The Hedgehog at The Middle Ground comics recently revealed his age, name and picture for charity after ten years of complete anonymity. He still insists that you call him by his online name, however.
  • In The Specialists, inverted by Baron Crossbones. Who submits to that ridiculous code name only in propaganda—his secretary must call him by his real title.
  • At the end of the Multiplex parody of Watchmen, Kurt (who is dressed as Rorschach for the premiere) fills out his incident report about breaking a rude customer's finger in character. When his boss admonishes him for it, he quotes the movie.

Neil: Fill out a real incident report, Kurt.
Kurt: You keep calling me Kurt. I don't like you.


Western Animation

  • Code Lyoko: The Alpha Bitch of the show hates her first name, Élisabeth, and prefers to be called by her nickname, Sissi.
  • On an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh One is transported to a future where he has a son named Shirly who wants to be known as Vego. Nigel tells him to stick with Shirly.
  • He may have been called 'Astronomonov,' but his parents named him 'Susan.' We know him by a different name.
  • Animaniacs: Recurring Character Charlton Woodchuck. If you call him Baynart, he'll put your name on his list and make a point to not like you when he's famous.
    • "Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Bana Fana Bo Besca the Third. But you can call me Dot. Call me Dotty and you die."
  • Matrix from ReBoot is the grown-up form of Enzo Matrix. Just don't call him "Enzo", anymore...
    • This comes in handy later on when Mainframe is rebooted, complete with a copy of young Enzo.
  • Frankie from Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends introduces herself to the main characters with "Whatever the rabbit says is wrong. The name's Frankie, not Frances."
  • Tails in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog expresses his dislike for his real name, Miles. Sonic sometimes takes advantage of this by blackmailing him out of a dangerous situation.
  • In Total Drama Action, Izzy does this several times, going from Kaleidoscope to E-Scope to Explosivo. In this case, it indicates that she's kind of insane and possibly possesses multiple personalities.
  • There was a whole episode devoted to Spinelli's deep hatred of her first name, Ashley, in Recess.
    • Although that episode was about how any girl with the first name Ashley has no choice but to join the clique of Alpha Bitches the Ashleys. Spinelli kept her first name hidden because she didn't want to be associated with them.
  • Inverted in Batman Beyond where outside of costume or in private, Terry doesn't mind being called by his given name but he has to remind his friend Max to not call him Terry when he's on the job as Batman.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, Babs Bunny despises her whole name Barbara Ann. Buster calls her this twice, once in the show and the other in the straight-to-video film Tiny Toon Adventures How I Spent My Vacation. Her response: "Don't call me that!"
  • Frankie Dutweiler, the bully in Wish Kid, would beat up anyone who called him Francis.
  • On Rocket Power, Twister doesn't like to be called by his real name "Maurice." It embarrasses him...of course, other characters use that fact to their advantage several times in-series.

Web Original

  • Shadow of the Templar 's Jeremy Archer gets annoyed with Simon when the FBI agent jokingly calls him Jeremiah. Turns out Jeremy's birth name was Jeremiah Harbottle, a name he gave up when he gave up his life on the streets and became a high level thief.
  • Let's Player Roahm Mythril generally uses that instead of his real name. The reason being that he was named after a relative who committed suicide for an outlandishly stupid reason.
  • Midget Apple from The Annoying Orange insists his name is "little apple", but he's almost never called that.
  • Played with and played straight with Stone of the Global Guardians prefers to be called "Stone", to the point that he rarely tells people his first name and refuses to give it to people when asked. After he responded to the question with "Just Stone" one too many times, his teammates began telling other people his first name was "Just". While this annoyed him at first, eventually he started intentionally telling people that "Just" was his first name. His actual first name is "Wendell".
  • Done by The Nostalgia Chick to punish Maven for annoying her when she's (the Chick) still not awake yet. Maven stops her in the hallway, calling her Lindsay and asking her to hold a toy duck. The Chick throws the duck at her and storms off, saying she hates being called Chick. Maven is understandably confused.
  • In the Whateley Universe, Aqueous gets mad when Phase (in an attempt to be friendly) calls him by his real first name. Aqueous explains: he's a mutant who no longer looks human and he was named for his uncle... who hates mutants.
  • Church from Red vs. Blue might technically be named Epsilon, but he much prefers to simply be called Church, as it's what he thinks of himself as. He gets rather upset when he finds out the Reds and Blues have been calling Wash "Church" while Church was trapped in the memory unit.

Real Life

  • When Cassius Clay converted to Islam and took the Muslim name Muhammad Ali, Ernie Terrell and Floyd Patterson continued to call him Cassius Clay to annoy him. In the ring, Ali taunted Terrell by shouting "What's my name?" en route to victory.
  • Toshiie Maeda, retainer of Oda Nobunaga, had the birth name "Inuchiyo"; his colleagues often teased him by calling him "Inu" (i.e., "Dog") even after he came of age.
  • Jon Stewart, known for The Daily Show, was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz; he dropped his surname because of issues with his father. He has said that there are still people who "take great pleasure in calling me by my given name".
  • Stan Lee. He didn't get mad if you called him Stanley Lieber, he just did his best to impress upon you that it wasn't his name anymore.
  • The same goes for Betty Jean Ward, who prefers to go by B.J. professionally.
  • Met fans like to heckle Atlanta Braves player Chipper Jones with his real name, Larry.
  • Comic Book writer Christopher Priest doesn't talk about why he changed his birth name of James Owsley. But we can. When he got divorced, the terms of the settlement were that his now-ex-wife was entitled to and would receive half the income "Jim Owsley" made. So Jim Owsley stopped working in comics, and Christopher Priest began.
  • Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation fame doesn't like being called Ben by his fans because they come across as overly familiar despite being strangers. Matt, a friend of his, said in a podcast that only his parents call him Ben anymore.
  • Clive Staples Lewis, as a child, told his parents one day that he would only answer to 'Jack' - and stuck with that. He is now famous as CS Lewis, with most people having no idea what the 'CS' stands for.
  • P. G. Wodehouse. His names are Pelham and Grenville, the surnames of two British prime ministers. His friends called him "Plum".
  • Inverted by Vic Reeves, who goes from being Vic on set to Jim (Moir) off it and prefers people to call him that in Real Life (in reality, he's well enough known as Vic that many interviewers can't do it). Indeed, as Jim's father was also called Jim, he says that his family call him (his middle name) Rod, his friends call him Jim and his fans call him Vic. When he appeared with his wife on the UK version of I'm a Celebrity! Get Me Out of Here!, it was a bit odd for fans to hear her referring to him as Jim when the voting lines and show presenters all called him Vic. You can also very occasionally hear Bob Mortimer accidentally call him Jim when they're performing, although he will immediately corrects himself.
  • The vast majority of trans people, for very good reasons.
  • The writers of OAFEnet prefer to be called by the names they use on the site, and even call each other those names, despite having worked together for years.
  • Furry performer Matthew Davis, aka 2 the Ranting Gryphon, says that even his own mom calls him 2.
  • Sylvester Stallone, who prefers to be called 'Sly'.
  • Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope. There are several different stories as to why he changed it, but one can imagine that being called "Hopelessly" and "Hopeless" as a child had something to do with it. (As a child fresh from England, he introduced himself in his first American school in the British fashion -- "Hope, Leslie" -- giving rise to the nicknames.) He didn't entirely abandon his original name, though -- eulogies and tributes after his death referred to him as "Robert Leslie Hope".
  • Glen Beaudin Kolbach, who played Malcolm Frink in Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, prefers to be called G, and has even his first name written as G in his passport, as he says that being called Glen feels like his father is in his room or someone is trying to collect a bill.
  • John, James, George and doesn't have the same ring as John, Paul, George and Ringo, does it? Not to mention, Eddie Izzard's joke about Pope names wouldn't work.
  • Neurobiologist and scienceblogger PZ Myers is almost a literal invocation of this trope—PZ is short for Paul Zachary, but the only time anyone ever seems to call him "Paul" is when someone's slagging him on a creationist or evangelical site.
  • Legendary college basketball coach Bobby Knight hated it when Indiana University students called him "Bobby". He insisted on being called "Coach" or "Coach Knight".
  • Marilyn Manson is, in case you couldn't tell, not his real name. Yet, even his dad calls him Manson. For those who are wondering, he was born Brian Hugh Warner. Originally all of the members of the band took stage names that were combinations of (female) sex symbols and serial killers, but none of the others is so well known as Marilyn, so most people never caught on.
  • Inverted by Paul Muni, whose birth name was Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund. His friends and close associates called him "Muni," an Austrian diminutive of Meshilem, which he had been called since birth. Strangers called him Mr. Muni. Only those who were trying to act like they were close (such as meddling executives) called him Paul.
  • Zigzagged with John Wayne. People either called him Duke or Marion (his birth name). If you called him "John", it took him a minute to figure out who the hell you were talking to.
  • Nobody—except their immediate birth family and their co-star Margaret Dumont—ever called Adolf (later Arthur), Leo or Julie Marx by their birth names.
  • Inverted with many married or middle-aged adults, who may often prefer to be called by their first names instead of Mr. or Mrs. (or Ms.) Something-Or-Other by everyone but their own children, especially by younger people; their reasoning is that they still want to think of themselves as young, and terms like "Mr." imply adulthood. Example: David Silverman, lead animator for The Simpsons, was once greeted as "Mr. Silverman" by a young boy at a film festival - and his response was "Please, call me Dave. Mr. Silverman is my father."
    • Could also be an emerging generational preference, with referring to one another as Mr. or Mrs. Siht in social settings, particularly in cases when the speakers already know one another as opposed to being introduced or meeting for the first time, being seen as stodgy and old-fashioned.
  • Teller was born under the name Raymond Joseph Teller, but has had it legally changed and now answers only to Teller.
  • Stormy Daniels, pornographic film director and performer, was identified by legal name in much of the media coverage of a Donald Trump political scandal in which he was revealed to be using money and lawyers to silence his victims. She was not amused.
  • Over the years some people have gone by their middle names instead of the first names, dropping their first names entirely when being referred to, such as Stephen Grover Cleveland, Clinton Richard Dawkins, and Willard Mitt Romney. No word on whether any of these examples get mad if referred to by their first or full names, but they still seem to prefer their middle ones.
  • The fan author Megazone legally changed his name to the nickname he acquired in college and which his Author Avatar uses in the Mega Crossover fan fic Undocumented Features.
  1. For legal and medical reasons, this is not followed whenever it relates to critical health treatment and medical information from their their birth name is referred to, and this can not be used to dodge legal responsibilities for crime, as legal name changes are documented and crimes committed under one name will follow the succeeding name, unless they have been expunged.
  2. His real first name is Frank.
  3. His birth name is Joshua.
  4. At least in-story. J.K. Rowling had revealed Ginny's full name years prior, to counter rampant Fanon that "Ginny" was short for "Virginia" rather than "Ginevra," which is the Italian variant of Guenever and so goes nicely with "Arthur" and "Percival."