Bob is a Funny Name
Use of the name Bob for humorous effect. NOT A LIST OF EVERY CHARACTER NAMED BOB.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-09-01 08:28:19 sponsor: Routerie edited by: cander0000 (last reply: 2013-07-02 13:25:17)

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We used to have a page called Everythings Better With Bob. It listed every character named Bob that readers could think of. That is not a trope.

A TRS discussion voted to cut it and YKTTW Bob Is A Funny Name for cases where the name Bob is being specifically used for humorous effect. So, here it is.

Bob is a common name that seems to show up any time somebody needs a funny name. Apparently, it's just an Inherently Funny Name. This is at least partially because it's so aggressively mundane to Western ears that using it in a fantastic or unusual context comes off as humorous. Using such a mismatch for humor is related to the concept of Bathos.

Seems like Bob is almost always an accountant (the most aggressively mundane job) and/or somebody's uncle (due to a UK idiom).

It helps that the name is very short (one recognized characteristic of Inherently Funny Words) and a palindrome.

Compare Alice and Bob, Aerith and Bob. Subtrope of Inherently Funny Words.

Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
  • In Full Metal Panic!, during the "Toybox" arc of the first season, there is a part where Gauron is shown massacring a bunch of Mithril soldiers. One of the soldiers is heard to be screaming, "Bob! BOB!! Damn him! How dare he hurt Bob?!" Originally meant to be dramatic and scary, most of the feedback and comments on this part were of people laughing at how Narmtacular it was, since they apparently couldn't take it seriously when the guy was named "Bob". Let's face it -- Bob is just a funny name to a lot of people. It probably doesn't help that it sounded like "Bobo" in Japanese, either.
  • In Pokémon 2000, Ash Ketchum must save the world because a prophecy says that if The Chosen One named Ash doesn't, then the world will be destroyed. At that time, he wishes that his mother named him "Bob" instead.
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[[folder:Film]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • In the Bruce Coville story "My Little Brother Is A Monster", part of the Bruce Coville's Book Of Monsters anthology, it's mentioned that in the secret language of monsters, Bob means 'the sound of a large dog puking.'
  • Harry Dresden "inherits" a powerful knowledge spirit bound inside an ancient skull from his adopted father. Out of dozens of masters over hundreds of years, Harry is the first person to give the spirit a name. His name? Bob the Skull.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • The Fan Nickname for Benton Fraser's father in Due South is dead!Bob.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - graveyard scene in "The Zeppo":
    Giles: There's something... different about this... menace, something in the air... The stench of death.
    Xander: Yeah, I think it's Bob.
  • Bob Bishop from Heroes. He always introduced himself (or was introduced) as the head of the Company, followed by "I'm Bob."
  • In Friends Phoebe decides to name the rat that keeps coming to her apartment Bob. When she finds out he's a girl, she says she likes Bob as a girl's name.
  • Nick At Nite's 1993 Marathon of The Bob Newhart Show -- Better Living Through Bob
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[[folder:Music]]
  • Arrogant Worms: "I once had a dog named Bob/Now Bob's a funny name for a dog/If you ever have a dog don't name him Bob"
    • Don't forget Jesus' Brother Bob:
    Jesus' brother Bob, Jesus' brother Bob
    A nobody relative of the son of God
    If only I'd been born just a little sooner
    I'd be more than the brother of God Junior
  • The Jimmy Buffett song "Bob Roberts Society Band"
  • Sparks have a song called "Here Comes Bob" about a man who crashes his car to meet new people.
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[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
  • Used constantly in Pearls Before Swine.
    • In commentary Stephen Pastis wrote, "Bob is a funny word. It has two b's (b is a funny-sounding letter), it's a palindrome, and it's a verb".
    • Not to mention "Bob" is short and easily fits into the ever shrinking panels of Newspaper Comics.
  • At one time, Garfield befriended three mice who were squatting in his house. Two of them were named after their forebears, but the third, Bob, was named for "the sound his head makes when he runs into the wall".
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[[folder:Stand Up Comedy]]
  • In a stand-up routine back in the 60's, Bill Cosby insisted that all gas station attendants have their name, "Bob", on their uniform name-tag.
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[[folder:Theater]]
  • The Reduced Shakespeare Company's performance of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) involves one of the actors calling the lighting manager 'Bob' because '2/3rds of lighting managers are named Bob' and calling every one of the audience members called up to participate 'Bob'.
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[[folder:Video Games]] [[/folder]]

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[[folder:Western Animation]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
  • Microsoft Bob, the annoying house-themed alternate-user-interface program that became a byword for software flops. It prominently featured "agents," which were the predecessors of the Microsoft Office Assistants. In this case, everything would probably have been better without Bob.
  • J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, pipe smoking icon of the Church of the Sub Genius.
  • In a game show parody on one of Cheech and Chong's albums, a guy named Bob has to guess his own name.
  • The name Bob is also used in the Bob campaign in the Netherlands and Belgium, to raise awareness against drunk driving. (people there would thereafter often call the designated driver The Bob)
  • When the eastern half of Canada's Northwest Territories was separated off into a new territory called Nunavut, there were some unofficial polls as to what to call the remainder. "Northwest Territories" was by far the favourite, but the runner-up was Bob.
  • Another Canadian example: The Edmonton Transit Service runs a series of ads about proper behavior on the bus called "It's All About Bob."
  • Inverted by Mitch Hedberg, who argued that since Thirteen Is Unlucky, so is the letter B, because it looks like a compressed number 13.
    "What's your name?"
    "Bob."
    "Get the fuck away!"
  • Deinterlacing videos can be a tricky process. There are several methods for performing it in software, one of the best being a combination of two methods called Bob and Weave according to this site.
  • The Bob Club
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