->''"As you know, the entertainer once known as Music/{{Prince}} has decided to be known only by this symbol, which combines the symbol of man and woman. I guess he's just as confused as we are."''
--> --'''Julene Renee''', ''Series/{{Roundhouse}}''

A type of StockShoutOut and parody of an event from the 90s.

In 1993, Warner Bros. Records legally prevented the musician Music/{{Prince}} Rogers Nelson from recording under his legal first name "[[OnlyOneName Prince]]". As part of a TakeThat, he changed his name to an unpronounceable, and then-untypeable [[LuckyCharmsTitle "love symbol"]], which resembles a mix of the symbols for male and female. [[labelnote:O(+>]] is an ASCII art approximation of this symbol, and Warner Bros. was forced to supply the print media with a new font containing the symbol.[[/labelnote]] In response, the phrase "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" was [[MemeticMutation coined by]] a public that had no idea what else to call him, and quickly became a very popular target for parody. Seven years later, his contract with that recording company expired and he went back to being known as simply Prince, making him [[ShapedLikeItself the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince]], if you're being technical.

Not to be confused with Administrivia/RenamedTropes.


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Used in the ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable'' strip "A Character With No Name" where Dave refuses to name his new character, and eventually ends up creating an unpronounceable symbol to designate the character. B.A. eventually tires of the whole thing and has the character smote by the gods.
-->"Will 'The Character Formerly Known as the Man With No Name' and now associated with this symbol please be advised that he has inexplicably attracted the unbridled wrath of the Gawds and has just been turned into a newt!!"
* Also used in ''ComicBook/GoldDigger'', though it might have been topical when it was printed. Galford, a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, after getting some augmentations, changes his name to "大死". His boss's reaction:
-->'''Lord Talon:''' So now you're "The ninja formerly known as Galford?"
** Averted -- his new name, ''[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyfast Daishi]]'', stuck once it was actually pronounced/written in Roman characters!
* The Superbuddies - Formerly Known As [[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League America]].

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* One ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' fanfic featured several Princes. One was called "The Prince Formerly Known as Artist", probably referencing the theatre adaptation mentioned below.

* In ''Film/ShriekIfYouKnowWhatIDidLastFridayTheThirteenth'':
-->"Dawson, let me introduce you to the principal. Sorry, The Administrator-Formerly-Known-as-Principal."
* ''Film/{{Garfield}}: A Tale of Two Kitties'':
-->'''[=McBunny=]:''' Well, obviously, that feline is not Prince, you idiots!
-->'''Preston:''' He's not even a cat formerly known as Prince.
* ''Cindrella: The Sillicious Musical'': The Artist Formerly Known as The Prince. TAFKATP
* In ''Film/AnInconvenientTruth'', a slowly-melting glacier park is referred to as 'The Park Formerly Known as Glacier.'
* Long before the Prince situation, in ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'', The Knights Who Say Ni demand... [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment a shrubbery]]! When King Arthur and co. bring a shrubbery back...
-->'''Head Knight''': We are now... no longer The Knights Who Say Ni.
-->'''Random Knight''': Ni!
-->'''Head Knight''': Shh. We are now The Knights Who Say... Ekky-ekky-ekky-ekky-pi''kang''-zoom-Boing-z'nourrrwringmm.
-->'''Random Knight''': Ni!
-->'''Head Knight''':Therefore, we must give you a test.
-->'''King Arthur''':What is this test, O Knights Of - Knights Who Till Recently Said Ni?
* From ''Anime/DigimonTheMovie'':
-->'''Kari''': (narrating) ...And Matt's trying to make it as a rock star! His stage name is the Digidestined Formerly Known As Matt.
* In ''WesternAnimation/Shrek2'' during the ''Far Far Away Idol'' bonus film, Prince Charming sings "I'm Too Sexy" which is a performance so bad the group of judges ejects him off stage leading to a remark from Simon.
-->'''Simon''': That was The Artist Formerly Known as Prince ''Charming''!

* In the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' novels ''The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonian Singh'', Roberta Lincoln calls Khan "The Artist Formerly Known As Noon."
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', Ax always calls the leader of the group Prince Jake. (Ax is an Andalite, and 'Prince' is a military title.) During one issue where only the pair of them were left, Jake tells Ax that there aren't enough people around, so he should be called The Jake Formerly Known As Prince. Later, when the group is back together, the two go through their RunningGag ("Don't call me Prince." "Yes, Prince Jake") and Ax says, instead, "I will call you The Jake Formerly Known As Prince."
--->'''Marco:''' Now he's telling jokes. Bad, ''bad'' jokes.
** When Rachel [[BluffTheImpostor tests Marco]] by saying "You know you're a toad, right?" his answer is:
--->'''Marco:''' "Kiss me and I'll become a prince. I'll be the Prince Formerly Known As Toad. You know you want me. You can't help it. After all, you're female, and I'm... well, I'm me."
* In the ''Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo'' series, Don Fernando, the Spanish king's younger brother, was in holy orders as the "cardinal-infante" ("infante" is Spanish for "prince who's not heir to the throne"). Then he got a dispensation to give up being a cardinal. From that point on, there are occasional references to him as "the prince formerly known as cardinal-infante."
* In ''Creator/DaveBarry in Cyberspace'', an increasingly silly list of various versions of Microsoft Windows ends with "The Artist Formerly Known As Windows[[TradeSnark ®]]."

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''The Show Formerly Known as the Martin Short Show''
* On ''Series/{{Lost}}'', in between the point where Ben went by Henry Gale and where people started using his real name, Sawyer referred to him as "The Artist Formerly Known As Henry Gale".
* ''{{Series/Roundhouse}}''
** A ''Cinderella'' parody with TAFKAP as the Prince Charming. His name was announced as holding a cardboard sign with the symbol up and the sound effect of the first electronic riff plus 'uhn' in Prince's "Kiss". They started off calling him "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince And Now Represented By This Symbol" (holds sign up with riff playing) but skipped straight to holding up the sign with the riff.
** Back in season 2, when Prince's name-change was still recent, an ''Series/EntertainmentTonight'' parody reported on this and said that several other celebrities followed suit, such as Creator/StevenSpielberg (a combination of the symbols for money and bad taste; ''Film/JurassicPark'' was also recent at this time as well) and Creator/SylvesterStallone (the periodic symbol for iridium - the densest of the elements). This segment also provided the page quote.
* On an episode of ''Series/TheDrewCareyShow'' Ryan Stiles was pretending to be a frog: "The frog formerly known as Prince."
** He used that same gag at least once on ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway''.
** Speaking of ''Whose Line'', Colin Mochrie used this gag as the "top story" on Weird Newscasters.
--> '''Colin:''' Rock star Prince has changed his name once again. After changing long-distance carriers, Prince, [[ShapedLikeItself the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince]], will now be the artist who formerly phoned with Sprint.
* On ''Series/ThirtyRock'', one of Tracy Jordan's antics was to declare that he was now to be addressed as "the gentleman formerly known as Rectum".
* Music/{{Prince}} appeared on ''Series/MuppetsTonight'' during his 'Formerly Known As' phase. When introducing himself this way to Bobo the security bear during the NotOnTheList schtick, Bobo snarkily replies, "And I'm the bear currently known as unamused."
* Naturally the joke was played with on ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'', in the Russo-Finnish movie ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S06E17TheSwordAndTheDragon The Sword And The Dragon]]'':
-->'''Subject''': Oh radiant prince!\\
'''Servo''': That's 'The Artist Formerly Known as Radiant Prince'.
** They also used this joke in ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S08E16PrinceOfSpace Prince of Space]]'' ("Please, call me 'The Artist'"), and also in the short ''Film/WhatAboutJuvenileDelinquency'':
--->(A question mark floats toward the audience at the end of the short.)\\
'''Servo:''' It's Prince's new name, isn't it?\\
'''Crow:''' Naw, more like [[Series/{{Batman}} Frank Gorshin's]] new name.
* In a ''Series/KeyAndPeele'' sketch, which features a list of players for the East/West Collegiate Bowl, the second to last one is "The Player Formerly Known As Mousecop", complete with a symbol.
* ''Series/{{MADtv}}'' parodied this along with ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt'' in a sketch called, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin appropriately enough]], "The Artist Formerly Known as The Prince of Egypt".

* ''[[Music/Level80EliteTaurenChieftain Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain]]'' was called "[=TAFKAL80ETC=]" ("The Artists Formerly Known As Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain") during the ''Cataclysm'' expansion of ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''. During this time, they used a symbol that resembled Prince's glyph. For ''Mists of Pandaria'', they returned to their previous naming scheme (which included the maximum possible player level in WoW).

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/NonSequitur'' has referenced "[[PrinceCharmless the Prince formerly known as Charming]]."

* A stand-up comic once joked that if Prince could change his name to an unpronounceable symbol, then ''he'' could change his name to a scent, so that if people wanted to talk about him they'd have to carry around perfume bottles to spray on each other.
* In a promotional spot for ''Film/GoodBurger'', Keenan and Kel talked about how they're becoming big stars and that they'd like to known as "The artists formerly known as Keenan And Kel". Kel then shows their symbol: a white card with a black circle on it. Keenan takes a look and says "It's upside down." They then try to correct it.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/{{WCW}}, near the end, had The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukaea, which was former island boy Prince Iaukea now doing a parody Music/{{Prince}} gimmick. An angle that was dropped once the ''real'' Prince dropped the unpronounceable symbol shortly after the gimmick started. This led to a mock press conference to announce that "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukaea" was changing his name to "The Artist." For the record, no one really cared about Iaukea, real name Mike Haynor and no relation to Wrestling/KingCurtisIaukea, during either gimmick.
* Meanwhile, after Wrestling/{{Goldust}}'s HeelFaceTurn didn't go so well, Wrestling/{{WW|E}}F had him [[FaceHeelTurn turn back heel]], trade his black and gold for a red, black, and green outfit, and dub himself The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust.

* The subject of a game of 'Limerick' on ''Radio/ImSorryIHaventAClue'' (where the contestants are given an opening line and have to complete a limerick by supplying one line each in turn):
-->The artist formerly known as Prince,
-->On stage he would posture and mince,
-->Then just for a giggle,
-->He changed his name to a squiggle,
-->And nobody's heard of him since.
* At the time when Prince was 'the Artist Formerly Known as Prince', Tony Martin and Mick Molloy did a bit on the ''MartinMolloy'' radio show about how his close friends get to call him 'Formerly'. It was later included on one of their albums.
* In ''Music/MitchBenn's Crimes Against Music'', a song about people refused entrance to the US refers to Yusuf Islam as "the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens".

* From ''Theatre/{{Spamalot}}'': "the artists formerly known as the Knights Who Say Ni".
* In a stage adaptation of ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', one prince vying for Jasmine's affection is "The Prince formerly known as The Artist"
* In a concert version of ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' featuring Nathan Lane as the CowardlyLion, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iftj3w0hFUg he adlibbed a line in the song "King of the Forest"]]; "If I were King of the Forest, not queen, not duke, not prince--or the Artist Formerly Known as Prince."

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Videogame/FallenLondon'' occasionally mentions The Magazine Formerly Known as the London Magazine: apparently after London fell, the Masters of the Bazaar demanded that the London Magazine change its name, but the editors were not in a cooperative mood.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Ansom of ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'', after having his views on royalty changed by the events at Gobwin Knob, insists that he is "merely a warlord formerly known as Prince."
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'': After the gang learns that [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2003/02/25/episode-253-ive-been-waiting-a-long-time/ Thief is actually the prince of the elves:]]
-->'''[[TheDitz Fighter]]:''' Wait, LetMeGetThisStraight. So Thief is the elf formerly known as prince?\\
'''[[OmnicidalManiac Black Mage]]:''' [[LamePunReaction Killing you is going to be the greatest moment of my life.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'' during a usual squabble between [[VitriolicBestBuds God and Dragon]] -- "[[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2005-11-04 What are you, the artist formerly known as Buddha?]]"
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' has "[[http://www.sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/040910 demon once known as Riff]]".
* In ''Webcomic/{{Dissonance}}'', a mouse that really shouldn't be alive right now is referred to as "Lazarus," or "Lars" for short, because "the mouse formerly known as mangled carcass" was too long.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'', when Marzipan is dressed as Prince for Halloween:
-->'''Homestar Runner:''' Hey, the girlfriend formerly known as Marzipan. I think you missed a little bit when you were shaving. Right there, about the sideburns area.\\
'''Marzipan:''' More like [[NoAccountingForTaste the former girlfriend]] known as Marzipan.\\
'''Homestar Runner:''' Sounds like a plan!
* ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries '': "[[IHaveManyNames I have had many names.]] Once I was known as Pharaoh. Then I was the artist formerly known as Pharaoh."
* An episode of ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'' has the titular critic wonder why King Koopa from ''Series/TheSuperMarioBrosSuperShow'' isn't simply called "Bowser," or at least "The Artist Formerly Known as Bowser", cutting to a Koopa-fied Prince symbol.
* In the "Ray's Heist" episode of Creator/AchievementHunter's ''[[LetsPlay/AchievementHunterGrandTheftAutoSeries Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V]]'', Creator/RayNarvaezJr used the Fake AH Crew's actual middle names (or in the case of Ryan Haywood, first name) as their code names. However, the mastermind himself doesn't have a middle name, so he went as "The Artist Formerly Known as Ray" (or "TAFKAR" for short).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Used twice by ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''; one of the puppies in the ''101 Dalmatians'' parody is called "The Puppy Formerly Known as Prince", while "Lisa's Wedding" shows a list of arrested celebrities that includes "The Artist formerly known as [[http://z.about.com/d/altreligion/1/0/h/S/2/stafkap.jpg *unpronounceable symbol*]]" and "The Artist formerly known as Creator/BuddyHackett." One of the flashback episodes ("Lisa's Sax") is set during a time when "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince was currently known as Prince."
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/HouseOfMouse'' WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck tries to become a celebrity and changes his name to the "Duck Formerly Known as Donald." Mickey ended the episode by calling himself "The Mouse Currently Known As Mickey".
* ''WesternAnimation/HappilyEverAfterFairyTalesForEveryChild''
** In one episode, Mother Goose's decision to fly the coop leaves all the nursery rhyme characters in a muddle, and Humpty Dumpty starts referring to himself as "the egg formerly known as Dumpty."
** In another episode, "The Frog Princess," the title character entreats the prince to help her cook, and when he refuses on the grounds that he is a prince and thus can't cook, she sings him a song that includes the lyrics, "You could be the prince formerly known as helpless."
* "The Artist Formerly Known as Spot" from ''WesternAnimation/OneHundredAndOneDalmatiansTheSeries''.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyBravo'', Johnny accidentally becomes a famous artist, all the fame drives him nuts and at some point he makes a quick doodle and claims that's how his new artistic name is pronounced.
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfJimmyNeutronBoyGenius'' episode "Battle of the Bands" the group is nearly separated by a series of disagreements. At one point Carl begins to speak with a British accent and tells Jimmy and Sheen to refer to him as "The Artist Formerly Known as Carl".

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The artist formerly known as "The Artist Formerly Known as Music/{{Prince}}" is obviously the {{Trope Namer|s}}.
** Music website Rhapsody used a subversion of this trope as a TakeThat against Prince in one instance, referring to him as "[[TheNapoleon The Artist Never Known as Tall]]".
** From a certain perspective, Prince's decision to rename himself makes perfect sense: "Prince" was a trademarked identity that was actually owned by his record company of the time. By legally changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol, he was able to release material, and tour, when said record company did not approve - until their ownership of the "Prince" name lapsed and he was able to reclaim it.
** After Prince's death in 2016, some twisted individuals on the web began referring to him as "[[TooSoon The Artist Formerly Known As Alive]]. Or The Artist Formally Known as The Artist Formally Known as The Artist Formally Known as Prince. "
* Since UsefulNotes/{{Microsoft|Windows}} was blocked from using the name "Metro" for its Windows 8 UI system, some now call it [[http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/08/11/0051250/you-cant-bypass-the-ui-formerly-known-as-metro-on-windows-8 the UI Formerly Known As Metro]].
** [[http://www.theregister.co.uk Or]] TIFKAM, "The Interface Formerly Known As Metro".
* As a compromise with Greece, the United Nations in the 1990s admitted a new member country using the name "The former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia" (FYROM).
* Creator/AlanMoore is credited as "The Original Writer" on the 2010s Marvel reprint collections of his ''ComicBook/{{Miracleman}}'' run, due to his generally strained relationship with Marvel, and retrospective belief that he shouldn't morally have used the character because the original creator Mick Anglo had been cheated out of his rights.