Who knows how the idea got started that, when making The Parody
, it is innately funny to replace each character's original name with a silly one that rhymes or sounds similar. But get started it did.
This does make sense from a certain vantage point. After all, if — for copyright and/or trademark reasons — a publisher can't use the characters' real names, they might as well replace them with something funny. However, some writers make the mistake of thinking that doing this makes their parody automatically funny. It doesn't. It may also be done to make it absolutely clear just what
is being parodied since Viewers Are Morons
. At its very worst, this is done when the writers don't know what they're parodying
and thus making fun of the characters' names is the only joke they can think of.
Can be combined with Parallel Porn Titles
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Anime & Manga
- Reimagined Enterprise: An exaggerated version of the canon show's Jonathan Archernote called Abner Bowman appears as the captain of the USS Dauntless. Abner being a relative and colleague of Jonathan in The Bible and bowman being another word for archer.
- In Mel Brooks' Spaceballs (which parodies, among other sci-fi franchises, Star Wars), Yoda becomes "Yoghurt" and the Force becomes "The Schwartz". Stop, you're killing me. (Okay, it is a funny movie, but that's certainly the lamest part of it.)
- Not to mention Pizza the Hutt (really stupid). Or "Dark Helmet" (Darth Vader), for that matter.
- Pizza the Hutt is really more of an incredibly bad pun, given that he is a living blob of pizza toppings.
- The Austin Powers series is packed with these.
- "Alotta Fagina" is derived from Pussy Galore in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. This one is actually making fun of something about the original name, not just going for similar-but-silly.
- "Goldmember" appears in the third Austin Powers movie (and its title).
- "Random Task", who's a parody of Oddjob.
- Austin's sidekick in Austinpussy, Dixie Normous.
- The Finnish Star Trek spoof film series Star Wreck gives parody names to all its characters, including James B. Pirk (James T. Kirk), Fukov (Chekov), Spökö/Spook (Spock), Plingons (Klingons), Vulgars (Vulcans), Shitty (Scotty), Dwarf (Worf) and Info (Data). The feature-length film introduces Babylon 5 parodies such as Sherrypie (Sheridan) and the genuinely hilarious Karigrandi (Garibaldi - Garybrandy in the English version).
- A number of pornographic parodies of big-name movies have done this, to both the title and the character names borrowed from the original source.
- Muffy the Vampire Layer, anyone?
- An American Carol has "Rosie O'Connell," "Michael Malone" (Michael Moore), and a composite character called "George Mulrooney." Do they have something against the Irish or something?
- Probably just incidental, since Mulrooney sounds like it's filling in for Clooney.
- The 1978 Star Wars parody Hardware Wars has names such as Fluke Starbucker, Augie 'Ben' Doggie, Ham Salad, Darph Nader and Artie Deco.
- Star Wars also got this from Thumb Wars, including such characters as Loke Groundrunner, Beboobeep (R2-D2), and Oobedoob Benubi (Obi Wan).
- Done throughout the Scary Movie series. The main character's name, Cindy Campbell, is relatively subtle, playing on Scream's Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell).
- Seltzer and Friedberg have a habit of taking this trope and running it into the ground.
- Nigel Tufnel is actually a very subtle one of these, being formed on the same template as Eric Clapton: "boring first name + place in London."
- Occasionally used in the Carry On series; for instance in the Foreign Legion spoof Carry On, Follow That Camel, the equivalent of Cigarette in Under Two Flags is called Corktip, and in Carry On, Don't Lose Your Head, the counterpart of The Scarlet Pimpernel is The Black Fingernail.
- Michael Gerber's Barry Trotter (a parody of Harry Potter) features such winners as "Muddle" for Muggle, "Philosopher's Scone" for Philosopher's Stone, "Hogwash" for Hogwarts, "Lord Valumart" for Lord Voldemort, "Earth Eaters" for Death Eaters and "Measlys" for Weasleys.
- In Bored of the Rings, The Harvard Lampoon's parody of The Lord of the Rings, Wizards Gandalf and Saruman become "Goodgulf" and "Serutan." The parody tale starts in "The Stye" (The Shire), home to the "boggies" (hobbits), four of which are named "Frito" (Frodo), "Spam" (Sam), "Moxie" (Merry) and "Pepsi" (Pippin). Minas Tirith becomes "Minas Troney," and the equivalent of Mordor is the post-industrial wasteland of "Fordor," ruled by "Sorhed" (Sauron). Bilbo Baggins becomes "Dildo Bugger", not a case of Getting Crap Past the Radar so much as hoping it won't be switched on at all.
- Doctor Whom, by Adam Roberts, was a parody of both Doctor Who and the punctuation manual Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Parody names included "Prose Tailor" (Rose Tyler), "The TARDY" (The TARDIS), "Garleks" (Daleks), "Cydermen" (Cybermen), "Stavros" (Davros), "Master Debater" (The Master) and "Time Gentlemen" (Time Lords).
- Adam Roberts has done several other parody books under variations of his name.The Soddit and The Sellamillion as A.R.R.R. Roberts, The Va Dinci Cod as Don Brine, Star Bores as A3R Roberts, The McAtrix Derided as the Robertski Brothers, and The Dragon With the Girl Tatto (as, surprisingly, Adam Roberts and not Adiem Robertsson or something). Naturally, all of these are filled with Parody Names.
- The Legendary Ram in Buggery, a parody of you know what, made extensive use of these. As can probably be inferred from the title.
- Star Wreck (the 1990s book series, not the Finnish film series) had James T. Smirk and Mr Smock on board the USS Endocrine plus Commander Zulu, Ensign Checkout, etc, etc. Also their new replacements on the Endocrine-D: Jean-Lucy Ricardo, Commander Piker, Counselor Dee Troit, etc, etc, etc...
- And in the later books they were all joined by the crew of Station Geek Space Nine: Bungeeman Crisco, Constable Dodo, Major Vera, etc, etc, etc, etc...
- Discworld novels don't have much of this stuff, but Gimlet, the dwarf with famously piercing eyes who runs a deli on Cable Street, may be intended as a reference to Gimli, son of Glóin.
- It's not as rare as you think; this is the same guy who gave us Cohen the Barbarian. Ghengiz Cohen, in fact.
- Most Discworld parody names are Genius Bonuses; Salzella, the music director in Maskerade is a play on Antonio Salieri, whose surname means "seller of salt". Less esoteric is that "gimlet" is also the name of a cocktail.
- The original pun deserves explanation. A brief Running Gag was for a character to describe some supernatural or otherwise creepy person as having "Eyes... Like Gimlets!". To which another character would respond "...You mean the Dwarf what runs the-" "I mean he has bloody creepy eyes that's what!". Eventually Gimlet and his delicatessen appeared in a later book.
- The Samurai Cat series of novels does this as a cover for all the copyrighted characters it parodies, although it's rarely so much funny as it is a simple aversion. During the Star Trek section of "Samurai Cat Goes to the Movies" (a mashup-parody anthology, in which the crew is attacked by Xenomorphs, a parody Predator, and a "Terminationer" that's been dogging the main characters for a few chapters), for example, Sulu becomes Sununu, and Chekov becomes Tolstoy. Not quite as clever as how the Terminationer was sent back from an alternate future in which the main character had never existed, "It's a Wonderful Life" style.
- The Hunger Pains is another book by the Harvard Lampoon, which parodies The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. You have Kantkiss Neverclean, skilled archer, Effu Poorpeople (Effie Trinket), Pita Malarkey, and so on and so forth. Some names are obviously made up for the book, while others (namely, Carol Handsomestein) aren't as obvious to figure out, to most.note
Live Action TV
- Some of the more obscure Muppets on Sesame Street had such names, including Sherlock Hemlock, Plácido Flamingo and Meryl Sheep (probably meant as Parental Bonus).
- Plus Monsterpiece Theater, with Alistair Cookie!
- Along with Pat Playjacks, Velma Blank, Ross Parrot, and Vincent Twice.
- The Electric Company had Julia Grownup and J. Arthur Crank.
- Really 80% of the jokes of the German "Funny Movie" series.
- Since the program only had the rights to Spider-Man himself, in an episode of Spidey Super Stories, Spidey watches himself fight the Green Globlin in a movie.
- Saturday Night Live parodies MacGyver as MacGruber. (The sketch is having less and less to do with MacGyver as it goes along, however. Oringally, it made fun of MacGyvering, but later the joke turned to the title character being a slovenly Jerk Ass with a host of personal problems.)
- Most Extreme Elimination Challenge usually uses these for the names of the contestants when they're based on real people/characters ("Country Music Superstars vs. The World of James Bond" had "Girth Brooks", "Codger Moore", and "Timothy B. Dalton" among others). Since the show is an example of Rapid-Fire Comedy, this isn't too painful.
- Muppets Tonight had Spamela Hamderson and David Hoggselhoff, the stars of Bay Of Pigs Watch.
- An episode of Life With Derek focused on the controversy surrounding the game Babe Raider.
- Boy Meets World did a Self-Parody in one episode in the form of a Show Within a Show called Kid Gets Acquainted With the Universe, in which Cory became Rory, Shawn became Shane and Eric became Derek. Ben Savage, the actor who played Cory in real life, became "Ben Sandwich", and Rider (Strong), who played Shawn, became "Schnieder". However, the most punny name came when they mentioned that Ben Sandwich has a brother named "Bread Sandwich", a reference to Ben Savage's brother Fred Savage.
- The Revolution Will Be Televised does this with most of its characters, such as having the far right, politically incorrect journalist be named "Dale Mailey", a pretty blatant Take That to the Daily Mail. Others include Raffe van der Koont, the sex-obsessed, Camp Gay host of "Double Fist TV".
- Any opera by P.D.Q. Bach is likely to have several Parody Names based on characters from Mozart's operas. Donald Giovanni and Schleporello from The Abduction of Figaro and Don Octave and Il Commendatoreador from The Stoned Guest are all named after characters in Don Giovanni.
- Bobby Pickett (of "Monster Mash" fame) also recorded Star Dreck, a parody of a certain well-known TV show. Characters included Captain Jerk, Mr. Schlock, Chief Engineer Snotty, Helmsman Mr. Lulu, Lt. Manure-a, and a Negative Space Wedgie.
Jerk: Into the elevator, Mr. Schlock, let's beam down to the planet's surface so I can find an alien to fall in love with before the program's over."
Schlock: (Wearily) You usually do.
Jerk: (Chuckles) Ain't I somethin'?
- Anything by Allan Sherman ("The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas," "Pop Hates The Beatles," etc.) and his latter-day disciple, "Weird Al" Yankovic.
- The BBC Radio 4 comedy series The Wordsmiths at Gorsemere applies this trope to Romantic poets. The main characters are William Wordsmith, his sister Dorothy Wordsmith, and their friend Samuel Taylor Choleric. Other characters included Percy Jelly, the rakish Lord Biro, the spooky William Bloke, Walter Spott, John Sheets, and so on. Gorsemere is a parody of Grassmere, the village the Lake Poets were based in.
- The BBC Radio 4 comedy series Gloomsbury, by the same writer, does the same thing for the Bloomsbury set. The main characters are Vera Sackcloth-Vest (Vita Sackville-West) and her it's-complicated Ginny Fox.
- Another Radio 4 comedy, Bleak Expectations, gives Dickens this treatment. Given how ridiculous Dickens' original names often are (Wackford Squeers, anyone?), they have to go pretty over the top to do so, so most characters' names are just two-word encapsulations of their entire personality (eg Miss Sweetly Delightful) or subversions of the same (eg the Big Bad, Mr. Gently Benevolent).
- Mutants & Masterminds, among other characters with names referencing famous superheroes and their writers, had a subtle multi-layered example in Police Commissioner Barbara Kane, a homage to police Commissioner Barbara Gordon from Batman Beyond... and a play on the name of Bob Kane, the writer who created Batman.
- Clare Boothe's play Kiss the Boys Good-bye involves people trying to produce The Film of the Book of an American Civil War romance glorifying the South, whose heroine is a Southern Belle named "Velvet O'Toole," who might have a few things in common with Scarlett O'Hara.
- College Wars, a Star Wars parody set in an Oxford college, features names such as "Qui-Gon Gin and Tonic", "Don Juan Kenobi" and "Ali G Jar Binks". And the spaceship, the Millennium Bug.
- Dream Girl has several mentions of a trashy but Critic-Proof historical romance novel called Always Opal, which is selling out at bookstores — a transparent reference to the contemporary bestseller Forever Amber.
- M Scramble, a hentai Dating Sim knockoff of Suzumiya Haruhi, is the story of Asamiya Haruka and her UFO-dan; the rest of the cast follows suit. Not only that, but the characters themselves are Palette Swaps of the Haruhi cast.
- The national leaders in Nuclear Wars (Exactly What It Says on the Tin which was both possible and popular in the late 80s) have names like Ronnie Raygun, Infidel Castro, Gorbachef, or Mao The Pun.
- Racing games released under the Magnetic Fields brand (Lotus series, Super Cars series) parodied the names of real-life race drivers: Ayrton Sendup, Alain Phosphate, Crashhard Banger, T. Hairy Bootson, Nijel Mainsail, M. Carburettor, Nelson Pickets, Rissole Brooks, Mickey Louder, Stag Bloomvest, James Haunt, Sterling Mess...
- The Codemasters computer game Rock Star Ate My Hamster had a plethora of music stars whose names were knock-offs of real musicians: Wacky Jacko, Maradona, Elvin Dwight, Rotton Johnny, Dick Knackered, Tina Turnoff and so on. (This also extended to the names of competing pop bands, like Bazoomarooma.) Some make sense in context, as you can see. But this is taken to extremes with Kylie Minogue's ersatz, who was baptized as Bimbo Baggins.
- Delta 4's text adventure games Bored of the Rings (not based on the book of the same name) and The Boggit applied this to character names.
- Irregular Webcomic! had a parody of xkcd titled "xkcq".
- El Goonish Shive has mentioned a popular comedy film called American Cake. Also Dragonliver.
- Sluggy Freelance featured a parody of Buffy called "Muffin the Vampire Baker". She was joined by characters such as Biles, Will-Os and Banter. Fair enough, as it seems that the character's names are all that the writer seemed to know about the show.
- That story was practically a parody of parodies in general... hopefully intentionally.
- The same comic has also done parodies of "Torg Potter and the Sorcerer's Nuts", "Torg Potter and the Chamberpot of Secretions", "Torg Potter and the President from Arkansas", "Torg Potter and the Giblets with Fiber"...
- There are so many parody names used in general that inevitably some end up being good and some others bad. A third class in this case is those that you just don't get.
- The Author has a running storyline parody of The Batman, aptly named "The Fatman". So far the Fat Knight has run across parodies of Batman antagonists like The Kidder, The Fiddler and Carmine Sockoni.
- The loser super hero, Samarium Skier, from Stubble Trouble.
- The Order of the Stick provides another Harry Potter parody with Larry Gardner studying at Warthog's academy.
- The Star Wars fan comic Diary of a Crazed Mimbanite, among other Parody Names, replaces "Skywalker" with "Nerfherder."
- In the early 2000s, an Italian Star Trek parody web comic had characters such as Long-Luc Dickhard, Master Beta, Doyouwanna Try, Whoref, Geordi TheLarge and Chestly Crusher.
- In Sinfest the burger chain is McDebbil's, where they ask for a donation of your soul.
- The short comic that led to The Adventures of Dr. McNinja and is now listed as its "chapter zero" was about how the titular Dr. McNinja got revenge on Ronald McDonald for creating and marketing a "McNinja burger," which was designed to cause flatulence. ("Silent but deadly, like a ninja.") Later, when writer Chris Hastings wanted to reintroduce the McNinja burger into the story, he retconned the name to Donald McBonald, citing the fact that it would be much more straightforward to get the comic published without having to deal with legal issues over the name and logo. But since the comic is ruled by Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny, the humor value of the parody name can't be overlooked.
- My Roommate Is an Elf has a recurring character named Fruita, who is a parody of Vegeta.
- In DAOA, instead of “Doormat”, we have “Dootmat”.
- In the Friendship is Witchcraft episode "Read It and Sleep", this happens In-Universe: Twilight has written a Ship Fic starring thinly-disguised versions of her friends named "Applesack" and "Charity."
- Taking a cue from MAD, The Editing Room always has one of those for the movie discussed (but usually not the characters, who go by the actor names). One is even a line on the movie (Argo Fuck Yourself).
- "Titragic", a parody of Titanic, does this with everything, from the characters to the ships to the diamond.
- The Filmation cartoon M-U-S-H from Uncle Croc's Block had pretty much no connection whatsoever to M*A*S*H, the series it was supposed to be parodying, other than the names of its characters.
- Johnny Test had one episode that featured Tinymon creatures, featuring such winners as "Blast Ketchup" for Ash Ketchum. There's also a Tinymon that parallels the Magikarp/Gyarados power jump.
- The former is especially humorous if you are aware of Pikachu's love for ketchup.
- The otherwise unmemorable 1970's cartoon series The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty featured in one episode a villain named "Ping of Pongo."
- The series title itself is a parody of James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
- The "Goodfeathers" segments of Animaniacs parody Robert De Niro's, Ray Liota's, and Joe Pesci's characters from GoodFellas as "Bobby", "Squit", and "Pesto."
- The Simpsons episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" features Shary Bobbins, an obvious clone of Mary Poppins. She claims she is not Mary, but an original creation, like Ricky Rouse or Monald Muck.
- In one episode, this is lampshaded when the Simpsons visit "SPRAWL * MART", with the slogan "not a parody of Wal-Mart".
- Also in the episode where the family goes to Ireland ("In the Name of the Grandfather"), when Lisa mentions how the country became home to many of the world's biggest technology companies, they pass by the offices of "Mick-rosoft", "Hewlett-Fitzpackard" and "Cisc O'Systems".
- The Fairly Oddparents: way too many to count, starting with Britney Britney.
- However, Titanic was mentioned by name in the first episode.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
- The Bob Clampett directed Looney Tunes short "A Tale of Two Kitties" featured the feline comedy duo of "Babitt" and "Catstello", a clear and unmistakable parody of the decidedly more human comedy duo Abbott and Costello.
- The children's series Arthur parodies a lot of kids' TV and toy crazes, almost every time one pops up. Some examples are "Dukemon" (possibly "Pukemon" because Pikachu was renamed Stinkachu), "Polly Locket" (a doll with a storage compartment in her face), "Henry Screever," and "Vegimorphs;" not to mention, TV series like "The Dark Bunny" and "Spooky-Poo."
- Stroker and Hoop:
C.A.R.R.: "On Dashiell, on Danzig, on Randolph, on Blitzkrieg, on other non-copyrighted names!"
- CARR itself is probably a parody of KITT, which twice featured an Evil Twin of the Trans-Am named K.A.R.R.. This doubles as Viewers Are Geniuses since CARR is a sociopath.
- Darkwing Duck: One minor villain's name, Taurus Bullba, was a Shout-Out to the novel and film Taras Bulba.
- The name of another villain, Tuskernini, is a parody of conductor Arturo Toscanini.
- Jay Ward was sued by (now pretty much all-but-forgotten) comedian Durwood Kurby when Rocky and Bullwinkle started a story arc involving the mystical hat the Kurwood Derby.
Ward (responding to the suit): Sue us. Please. We need the publicity!
- "Don't Touch That Dial," from Mighty Mouse The New Adventures, featured "The Jetstones," "Ringading, Where Are You," "The Adventures of Rocky and Hoodwinkle" and "The Real Gagbusters", among others.
- Special Agent Oso from Playhouse Disney (now, "Disney Junior") uses a James Bond parody for the name of every...single...episode (for example, "Gold Ringer").
- The Beets in Doug. Also, a big chunk of the ''Quailman "franchise". And if you look closely, you may discover the Worst Eastern hotel.
- Teamo Supremo had a few. Possibly the most prominent was teen singing sensation Tiffany Javelins.
- Earlier episodes of South Park did this, like HBC, Cartoon Central, and Okama Gamesphere.
- SpongeBob SquarePants gave us Dr. Kelp.
- A cafe inside a library named 'Starbooks'.