An individual has a perfectly unremarkable name, until someone unrelated, but happening to share the same name, becomes well known. This can lead to the namesake basking in reflected glory or plunging into EmbarrassingMiddleName territory. Naturally averts the OneSteveLimit.

See also NamesTheSame.


* A series of ads for Creator/{{ESPN}} featured the daily life of a man named Michael Jordan. Every time he received a delivery, showed up for a reservation, got called in the doctor's office, there would be a disappointed "Oh" as soon as he identified himself as Michael Jordan.
* A series of Australian ads (can't remember what company) centred on the story of Cameron Diaz, an unfortunately named man.
* A 2014 Taco Bell ad found a bunch of men named [[UsefulNotes/McDonalds Ronald McDonald]] and got them to talk up their new menu item.
* Best Buy ran an ad where a customer suggested that Bill Gates should be their spokesman. And so Best Buy ''got'' Bill Gates --a rancher from Lufkin, Texas-- to plug their stores.

[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* Michael Bolton from ''Film/OfficeSpace'': "There ''was'' nothing wrong with it... until I was about twelve years old and that no-talent ass-clown started winning Grammys."
* The main character of the French film ''Camping'' shares his surname with former president Chirac. When asked why he doesn't change it, he replies "Why should I be the one to change my name?"
* The plot of ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' revolves around finding Private James Ryan and bringing him home to his mother. Midway through the movie, they find James Ryan...but it turns out he's a ''different'' James Ryan.
* The fact that there are two Jeff Lebowskis drives the whole plot of ''Film/TheBigLebowski''. One is an insanely rich paraplegic and the other, known as The Dude, is an [[StonerFlick unemployed stoner]] who likes White Russians.

* Taken to an art form in Bill Fitzhugh's ''Pest Control'', whose lead is named Bob Dillon, and was born a few years before Robert A. Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan, became famous. It didn't make for a happy childhood. He spends the entire book being confused with Bob Dylan, even by the CIA.
* Jennifer Lopez in ''Literature/JohnDiesAtTheEnd''.
* Basically the whole point of ''Will Grayson, Will Grayson'', where two teenagers in Chicago who share a name meet and then find their lives start to clash.
* Óscar de León, the main character in ''Literature/TheBriefWondrousLifeOfOscarWao'', has the name of a famous [[ salsa singer]]. This is, though, never mentioned in the book.
* John Sandford is fond of this trope. Minor characters named Bill Clinton, James Brown ("Not ''the'' James Brown?" "Why yes, I am. This is my disguise: keeps the groupies off."), and Henry Ford (a medical examiner: "doesn't know shit about cars") show up in the Prey and Virgil Flowers books.
* Another Bill Clinton shows up in Creator/TomClancy's ''Literature/TheSumOfAllFears''. Ironically, he's a Secret Service agent.
* ''Literature/BlackWidowers'': The mystery in "Second Best" involves a dying soldier who had the same name as a US President, but died before he could tell the guest what it was. The Widowers attempt to figure out which president from the cryptic clues the soldier dropped. [[spoiler:It was Grover Cleveland]].

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Elaine's boyfriend Joel Rifkin on ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'', whose name she tries to get him to change because it's the same as the serial killer's. Eventually she breaks up with him over it. (In a HilariousInHindsight moment, one of the names she suggests, while desperately flipping through ''Sports Illustrated'', is O.J. If you forget that there was a time before O.J. was a suspected murderer, this comes off as an intentional joke, and you wonder why the audience isn't laughing.)
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' episode "SWAK" has a Dr. Brad Pitt treating Tony for the pneumonic plague.
* ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' gave us George Michael, whose name is perfectly logical (he's named for his grandfather and his father respectively). Almost looks like it could be an AvertedTrope because it's only mentioned once in the whole series ("Are you sure it wasn't the other George Michael? You know; the singer songwriter?") but it's clear that the idea of a nerdy, self-conscious teenage kid who questions almost everything he does and thinks being lumbered with George Michael as a name is an intentional layer. He's also ''never'' called simply "George".\\
Season 4 finds him getting very tired of sharing a name with a man arrested for lewd acts in a public restroom and deciding to adopt the pseudonym "George Maharis." [[ Too bad he didn't know something about his new namesake.]]
* A sketch on an early episode of ''Series/AllThat'' had people making wishes before taking shots at a basketball hoop, and having them granted if they make the basket. Kenan Thompson then says, "If I make this shot, I'm gonna meet UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan!" He makes it, and in walks a very white plumber named Michael Jordan.
* On ''Series/{{JAG}}'', Harm persuades a witness to talk by offering to set him up for a date with Jennifer Lopez, not mentioning that he means his dental hygienist.
* In one episode of ''Series/TheVicarOfDibley'', the vicar gets Alice's cousin Reg Dwight, who she's not seen for years, but thinks became some sort of musician, to open the village fete. He turns out, of course, not to be ''[[Music/EltonJohn that]]'' Reg Dwight.
* On ''Series/{{Cheers}}'', Sam discovers that, while drunk, he had bet a stranger that he could marry Jacqueline Bisset within a year. On learning that the other party plans to hold him to that bet (and has a binding contract), he reads over the terms of the bet and realises that it doesn't specify Jacqueline Bisset the actress. He immediately sets out to find another woman of the same name to marry him.
* On ''Series/ThirtyRock'', Liz's "future husband" Wesley Snipes doesn't like that to be pointed out.
--> '''Wesley Snipes:''' It's insane that the actor Wesley Snipes has that name. If you saw a picture of him and a picture of me and you were asked who should be named Wesley Snipes, you'd pick the pale Englishman every time. Every time, Liz! Frankly, you should be having this conversation with him!
* On ''Series/SiflAndOlly'', a caller comes in complaining that people make fun of him because of his name and he's thinking of changing it. It's UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln.
* ''Series/{{Stella|UK}}'': Stella's new neighbour is called Michael Jackson. He will point this out on your first meeting "just to get it out of the way".
* We finally discover Mac's real name on ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' when he's handed a name badge at the gang's high school reunion: It's Ronald [=McDonald=].
* ''[[Series/YouMeAndTheApocalypse You, Me And The Apocalypse]]'': one of the characters, a thirtysomething male, is called ''Ariel''. "Like the Little F**king mermaid."

* The Scottish folk song "Leezie Lindsay" is about a peasant girl who is courted by, and marries, a chieftain. In at least one version, his name is Ronald [=MacDonald=]. Though the song probably predates the fast food chain by centuries, it's funny to hear the line "For she's to wed Ronald [=MacDonald=]."

* This can happen in ''{{VideoGame/Pharaoh}}'': At high popularity levels, one of the ratings is "Mothers name their children after you." At low levels, "Mothers use your name to frighten their children". And it's much easier to lose popularity than regain it...

* A variation in ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'': In the half-issue that started the comic, the titular doctor gets furious at [=McDonald's=] after they release "the [=McNinja=] Burger". His lawyer tells him that this isn't an unusual case, bringing up a huge protest made up of hundreds of people with the last name [=McDonald=] claiming their name was stolen (as well "one Robert Pizzahut").
* Another variation in ''Webcomic/{{Concerned}}'', a comic set in and around the events of ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', starring Gordon Frohman. Conversely, when Freeman actually does show up late in the comic, the first reaction to him shown in-comic includes someone mistaking him for Frohman. Other strips also have a man mistaking Frohman for [[Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff the Sausage King of Chicago]] and Frohman recounting the death of his UsefulNotes/WorldWarII veteran grandfather, Morgan Frohman.
* A comic of ''Webcomic/BobTheAngryFlower'' has Bob warning Osama bin Laden that he's been placed on the [=FBI=]'s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. The punchline is that he then exclaims "But I am not ''that'' Osama bin Laden!" ([[ Note this was written in 1998]].)
* In ''Webcomic/{{Consolers}}'', Tiger Telematics (who usually just goes by Tiger) gets mistaken for Tiger Electronics, another "Tiger" company who's more well-known. He's not happy about this.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses has brought up several times in his [[WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic Critic]] videos that he hates the cartoon series ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'' with a passion because he was tormented endlessly in school for having the same name. [[BerserkButton When it's brought up,]] [[UnstoppableRage bad things happen.]] It's almost as bad as the "[[Film/BatmanAndRobin Bat credit card]]".
* One ''Website/NotAlwaysRight'' [[ story]] tells the tale of a young Caucasian woman named Creator/MorganFreeman. Her customers [[TheyJustDontGetIt can't seem to grasp that she's not actually the actor or even claiming to be him]], and eventually refuse to do business with her because of this "dishonesty".
* InUniverse version with Subjects 5 and 6 in ''Roleplay/RubyQuest'', who are both named Tom. #5 is a normal patient, and #6 is well known as being highly dangerous and violent. Their names cause them to get mixed up by [[spoiler: the players, who assumed that the Tom who'd been Ruby's companion since near the beginning was Subject #5 and the raccoon they met later was Subject #6. It's really the other way around]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* A OneShotCharacter in ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' is a monster living in the Aqua Teens' attic named Willie Nelson, who has to repeatedly clarify he has no relation to [[Creator/WillieNelson the musician]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries'', when Hal Jordan hears about Guy Gardner's replacement on Earth, [[Franchise/GreenLantern John Stewart]], Hal's first reaction is [[Series/TheDailyShow "The fake news guy?"]] (this was spoken, so he couldn't tell that they were spelled differently).
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' is the TropeNamer, with Homer being first elated to discover that an over-the-top action hero is "named like my name", and then driven to change his name when "Homer Simpson, Police Cop" is {{Re Tool}}ed as bumbling comic relief.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Would 44th U.S. President UsefulNotes/BarackObama be on the EmbarrassingMiddleName page if a man named Hussein and a man named Osama hadn't been enemies of the United States and "Hussein" wasn't rare to the point of OneMarioLimit in America?
* Brig. Gen. Sir Michael Jackson, and the various other people sharing Music/MichaelJackson's name.
* Nancy Cartwright, author of ''How the Laws of Physics Lie''.
* Really, though, how many people have been embarrassed or received 15 minutes of [[strike: media obsession]] fame because they were named Harry Potter, Homer Simpson or Jennifer Lopez? Especially true of Spanish names, as there are [[ 10 extremely common surnames]] and a lot of chances for redundancy. Several stories involved Jennifer Lopezes having to prove they weren't identity thieves.
** There is a newscaster in the Dallas area named Jennifer Lopez, and the network even ran advertisements talking about how they had their "own star" in her.
** The Weather Channel also had a reporter named Jennifer Lopez.
** There is an Australian news reporter named Harry Potter. You can almost feel his "What did I do to deserve this?" when he signs off with "Harry Potter, 10 News."
* There is a mythology/religion author named Michael Jordan.
** Also, British auto racer Mike Jordan.
** And, of course, actor Michael B. Jordan, who uses his middle initial to avoid confusion (and because ''the'' Michael Jordan [[Film/SpaceJam made a foray into acting]] before his career began and therefore most likely got the initial-free SAG card).
** Former Marist point guard and Los Angeles Clippers draft pick Jared Jordan's father also shares a name with [[UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan His Airness]]. Like all of the above mentioned Michael Jordans except the actor, they're white.
* The name "Harry Palmer" is not all that rare, even with [[OneMarioLimit the presence of a certain actor named Michael Caine]].
* In France, there are a lot of people named François Pignon who do ''not'' like film director Francis Veber.
* How many Jareds are there on these boards? Now, how many have them have been associated with Subway restaurants and diamonds?
* And let's not forget the ''other'' apostle Jude. Getting anyone to pray to him was seen as a lost cause so the Roman Catholic Church [[LampshadeHanging made him the patron saint of lost causes]].
** Even the ''Gospel of John'' has to refer to him as "Judas (not Iscariot)" at one point.
** Not to mention all the [[Music/TheBeatles "na na nas"]] people named Jude inevitably get.
* There are probably lots of real people named [[Series/TheOfficeUK Michael Scott]]. God help any of them who are office managers.
** One of them is the author of ''Literature/TheSecretsOfTheImmortalNicholasFlamel''. And yes, there's a ''The Office'' joke on the book series' page about that.
* French car manufacturer [[TheAllegedCar Renault]] is being threatened with a lawsuit over the proposed name of its new model, the Zoe. Apparently the real [[ Zoe Renault is not amused]].
** ... But it'd be known as the "Renault Zoe", wouldn't it? [[CompletelyMissingThePoint So, no problem]].
** British rugby player Austin Healey already has this problem, although the Austin Healey car was named first and is no longer made.
** "Chevrolet" is a French surname, and "Ferrari" is pretty much the Italian equivalent of "Smith", so there are lots of Ferrari's in Italy.
*** "Honda" is a Japanese surname, though very few Westerners actually pronounce it as the surname is meant to be pronounced.
* There's a guy in Britain named Slobodan Milosevic.
* Anyone with the same name as a hurricane. Actually, this only applies to one name, as there has never been a hurricane half as famous as Katrina.
** Hurricane Mitch in 1998 killed ten times as many people as Katrina did, but they mostly weren't Americans, so who cares? In fairness, "Mitch" is a much more common name than "Katrina" ("Catherine" and its other variants are common, but "Katrina" specifically isn't so much), which tends to diffuse the impact. Andrew, the hurricane holding the record for most property damage prior to Katrina, is also common enough as a name that it doesn't stand out.
** Brings a whole new meaning to Katrina & The Waves...
* The Levi Strauss jean company. With everybody saying when they meet you, "Like the jeans?"
** Funny how they never say, "Like the French anthropologist?"
** Within Christianity and readers of the [[Literature/TheBible old testament]], the Israeli tribe of Levi can suffer this too..
* Brad Pitt was a guest on a Nickelodeon bump. No, not ''the'' Creator/BradPitt, just a guy who happened to be named Brad Pitt. He showed his driver's license to prove it. No, he had not changed his name.
* It's pretty tough to have two such common names as [[Literature/TheHistoryOfTomJonesAFoundling "Thomas" and "Jones"]].
** One is a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs (and previously, the New York Jets).
* Tom Kruse, inventor of the Hoveround.
* In 2010, an Indo-American lawyer named Kamala Harris was elected Attorney General of California. This may have caused some confusion/amusement to ProfessionalWrestling fans, as 400-pound wrestler James Harris is best known for having used the gimmick of a "Ugandan Headhunter" named Kamala.
* There have been news anchormen called James Brown. They're white, and not very funky.
* Richard Tracy would have been fine, if he hadn't gone into police work, eventually working his way up to Detective.
* There's a man in Florida named Justin Bieber. No, not ''the'' Music/JustinBieber, just some guy who happens to have the same name. He actually had his Website/{{Facebook}} account ''shut down'' on accusations of being an impostor. To say nothing of the {{fangirl}}s.
** Much like that, there's a British office worker who shares a name with Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. She got kicked off Facebook, too.
** Or an even bigger example: A lawyer named Mark Zuckerberg got the boot off Facebook because he was apparently trying to impersonate Facebook's creator.
** There's a Michigan college student named Ashley Tisdale who had two accounts shut down for "impersonating a celebrity."
* One of the producers on ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'' is Adam Sandler. No, not that Creator/AdamSandler, though it's hilarious considering his onscreen brawl with Bob Barker in ''Film/HappyGilmore''.
* There's a nurse in Northampton, England, named Yassar Arafat. He spells his first name with an A, but still.
* Jonathan L. Woodward, co-author of TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} TabletopGame/{{Banestorm}}, shares his name with Jonathan M. Woodward, frequent guest star in Creator/JossWhedon projects.
* There is an economics professor named Steven Landsburg. Not the ''exact'' same name as SteveLandesberg, but they could easily get confused, especially in conversation.
* An early editor of ''Magazine/DragonMagazine'' once ran a fan's letter in the [[AprilFoolsDay April issue's]] editor's column, which praised his work in the ''Film/JamesBond'' films. He didn't have the heart to tell the fan that he wasn't ''that'' Creator/RogerMoore.
* [[ A Los Angeles resident named Adam Levine]] just happened to have his number listed in the phone book, which was no problem until Music/{{Maroon 5}}, fronted by another Adam Levine and also hailing from Los Angeles, became popular. For a while, he was retaliating by posting mp3s of some of the more embarrassingly fangirl-ish voicemail he'd been getting; now that the calls have died down and he's made his point, the messages have been taken offline and the site is no longer updated.
* Sir Peter Parker, former head of British Rail.
* Gerhard Schröder is a very common combination of names in Germany. It includes at least three politicians of note in the Federal Republic, including its third foreign minister (a Christian Democrat) and its sixth chancellor (a Social Democrat).
* The creator of the cochlear implant was [[Series/{{House}} Dr. House]], though his first name was William, not Gregory. He also performed ear surgery on astronaut Alan Shepard which allowed him to fly again and command Apollo 14. Google shows there are a few other doctors named House out there as well.
* Try living in the United States with the name Joaquin and not having the actor come up once a month.
** or, if you live in California, [[Film/TheMaskOfZorro "JOAQUIIIIIIIIIIN!"]]
* The name "Ralph Macchio" is shared by the lead actor from ''Film/TheKarateKid'' and a long-time editor at Creator/MarvelComics.
* Speaking of Marvel, [[ComicBook/XMen Shadowcat]] was named "Kitty Pride" after a real life person who, underestimating the popularity the character would have, authorized it. To avoid being compared to the character, she officially changed her name to "K.P."
* When phonebooks still existed, there was a guy named "George Jetson" in the British Columbia Lower Mainland White Pages.
* Don Arden, who was the manager of ELO and Black Sabbath and the father of Sharon Osborne, can easily be confused with Donn Arden, a stage producer known for creating the modern Vegas "showgirl" show.
* Robert Altman is a filmmaker ''and'' a photographer, but they are not the same person.
* Take two of the most common names in English: "John" and "Williams". Put them together, and it's only natural that you'd share the name with a multitude of celebrities from musicians to athletes. See NamesTheSame for a list.
* John Roberts in 2005. One anchored the CBS evening news on the weekends, the other was sworn in as the Chief Justice in the U.S. Supreme Court. Not to mention that "John" and "Roberts" are an ordinary first name and surname, respectively, in the English-speaking world. You'll find a handful of them.
* If you work in a profession where you have a lot of contact with the general public, you will run across ordinary people with the same names as celebrities. For example, just in Ontario, there is a furnace technician named Music/JimSteinman; a farm fuel delivery driver named Creator/JerryLewis who got a call from a farmer named Creator/DeanMartin; and a vet customer named Creator/MarilynMonroe (she spelled it "Munro").
* The commanding officer of the first [[ next generation US destroyer]] is named [[Franchise/StarTrek James Kirk]] (A. instead of T., though).
* The wrestling booking simulator ''VideoGame/TotalExtremeWrestling'' has a fictional wrestler named Jack Bruce who works a rock star gimmick and shares a name with the late Music/{{Cream}} bassist.
* Philippine Wrestling Revolution wrestler John Sebastian. You know, like the guy who sang for the Lovin' Spoonful and did the theme to ''Series/WelcomeBackKotter'' and the ''Franchise/CareBears'' cartoon.
* In the early 1950s, two women named Creator/PattyMaloney were living in the UsefulNotes/{{Orlando}} area. The ''other'' one wrote for the ''Orlando Evening Star'', but they're not known to have met each other.