Some people, when allowed to be anonymous and unanswerable for their actions, will exhibit GIFT
and devolve into the cruellest, most callous monsters imaginable, and brag about it
. Other people, however, while equally repressed, react very differently to the same context. They will instead start acting wild, throwing jokes and puns everywhere, speak with eloquence and brilliant wit... but put them in front of a public, no matter how small, without any mask or persona to protect them, and they fall silent
... This effect can be achieved through a mask (regardless of whether it's magical or not), an internet handle, a stage persona... And they may or may not end up carrying over some of that newfound panache into their old identities... Or give up on them entirely.
- The Mask: Stanley Ipkiss tries his hardest to act subdued and submissive, and go though life unnoticed, but he's almost twitching with all the repressed energy and emotion... and The Mask will provide an outlet.
- Many incarnations of The Phantom of the Opera will have the Phantom being this Large Ham theatrical genius, and his "real" persona being a shy introvert.
- Elvis Presley, the flamboyant, hip-shaking King of Rock, was a very shy, introverted person offstage... The Discworld version sovles this problem by being given an invisible mask that they can't remove, thus literally Becoming the Mask.
- In Watchmen, something like this is what happens to Owlman and Silk Spectre: it's only when they put on a costume and go heroing that they can really feel like themselves...
- In Code Geass, Lelouch practially does a 180º when putting on the Zero persona, possibly becoming the largest ham that ever hammed. It's debatable whether it's simply a calculated act, or a repressed aspect of his personality that can finally express itself: there's a very strong hammy streak in his family (and the setting).
- In many, many Giant Robot anime, it is common for the pilot to exhibit levels of Hot Blood and hammy shoutiness while in the cockpit that they never show elsewhere... The same holds true of Henshin Hero types, including but not limited to Power Rangers.