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An Alien Named "Bob"

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Even he thinks it's a funny name for an alien.

Robin: My whole life, I've been dying to meet a sapient, spacefaring alien up close, and you're telling me your name is ALAN?
Al-An: Is it not sufficient?

Aliens usually have names like Zartog or Zod. This is when aliens have names like Bob or Alice.

May overlap with Translation Convention if the audience hears the alien saying an earthly name, but the human characters don't. This is a subtrope of Special Person, Normal Name. Will sometimes cross over with Some Call Me "Tim" or My Nayme Is. Can cross over with Aerith and Bob if most of the other aliens have strange names and just a few have normal names.

Contrast Law of Alien Names. This is common in characters who were Raised by Humans. See also Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit".


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  • One of the Dairy Queen Lips ads features an alien named Phil trying one of Dairy Queen's milkshakes. The lips have them testing the drink to prove it's the "galaxy's greatest".

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bakugan: The vestals from New Vestroia are a race of human-like aliens. Some of them have normal names, like Mira and Gus.
  • Space Family Carlvinson is set in the year 4001 on a distant planet, but it is a Slice of Life work with no space battles or epic moments, so it makes sense that several aliens and robots have mundane names like Andy, Ken and John.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • A Norse god-powered alien cyborg named "Beta Ray" Bill. Just Bill, for short.
  • The alien Martian Manhunter's name is J'onn J'onzz, which just happens to be pronounced like "John Jones". Likewise, his Distaff Junior Counterpart, Miss Martian, is named M'gann M'orzz, which is pronounced "Megan Morse".
  • As a Running Gag, at least half the aliens in the Space Opera comic Nexus have perfectly normal-sounding human names like Tyrone, Sinclaire, Jil, etc. Dave of Thune's son Fred changed his name to Judah after converting to Judaism.
  • Superman:
    • Justified for Superman himself. He's an alien, and while his original name was Kal-El, he got renamed Clark by his adoptive parents. He's also sometimes called "Kal" by close friends, which can at least pass for a fairly normal human nickname.
    • Justified with Supergirl. She is an alien female named Kara Zor-El, but after being adopted she is renamed Linda Lee Danvers, Linda Lang, Linda Lee or Kara Danvers (depending on the continuity) by her adoptive family. Also, her original first name is not exotic sounding anymore.
    • Superman's clone, Superboy, originally had no name. However, Superman himself later gave him the name "Kon-El" in honor of a famous clone from Kryptonian legend. Superboy's friends in Young Justice began calling him "Kon", lampshading that it was "kind of a name" before he was adopted by Superman's foster parents and officially became "Conner Kent".
  • X-Men: Gladiator, a member of the Strontian race serving the Shi'ar Empire, is actually named "Kallark". This is because he is an expy of Superman, aka "Clark".

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Men in Black: Many of the aliens the agents encounter in the field have plain-sounding names like Frank or Bob. This even includes a gigantic, subway-dwelling, omnivorous worm called Jeff. Presumably these are all assumed names, and they would make sense for those aliens living as humans. No explanation for the giant worm, though.
  • The titular character of Paul is an alien. Justified because Tara named him after her dog after he accidentally killed him.

  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Frank is an alien, though his full name being Frank N. Furter is rather more unusual and the other Transylvanians have quite strange names.

  • One of the two main characters of Alien in a Small Town is a Starfish Alien with an unpronounceable name, who goes by "Paul Dwightson" on Earth. The name isn't arbitrary. He's the son of Ambassador Dwight (one of the first members of Paul's race to contact Earth people. Ironically, Dwight is female, but by the time the humans realized this, the name had stuck.). He took his first name from the Apostle Paul, for reasons that don't become apparent till halfway through the book.
  • Animorphs:
    • Comes up when the cast rescue an escaped alien Hork-Bajir, who tells them his name is Jara Hamee.
      Jake: He's kidding, right? He said his name is Jeremy?
    • While on Earth, Elfangor goes by Alan Fangor (shortened to Al) in his human morph.
    • Jara Hamee later names his daughter Toby. Justified because she's named after Tobias.
  • Captain Underpants: In the third book, the three aliens that come to Earth and disguise as cafeteria ladies are named Zorx, Klax, and Jennifer.
  • Carnival in a Fix: The Protagonist of the book is a little tailed humanoid alien girl who lives at Funfair Moon. Her name's Emily.
  • Galaxy Zack: Nebulites, the locals of Planet Nebulon, have very human names. From the first book alone there's Fred Stevens and Drake Taylor.
  • Parodied in every version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. One of the alien characters takes what he thinks is a perfectly normal Earth name, to better blend in on the planet. His problem is that he thinks cars are the dominant lifeform, not humans, so he winds up with the name Ford Prefect.
  • Rod Allbright Alien Adventures: Phil the sunflower-looking Plant Alien has the only human-sounding name among the alien crew of the Ferkel. That said, it's short for Philogenus esk Piemondum.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The series ALF has Gordon Shumway, who is the titular alien of the series. He actually prefers it if people call him ALF though.
  • Mork & Mindy: While most alien Orkans have unusual names, one of them is named Orson.
  • Stargate SG-1: Justified when it happens because most of the "aliens" are actually Transplanted Humans, and two of the actual nonhuman species passed themselves off as ancient pagan gods (the Asgard as the Norse gods, the Goa'uld as mainly the Greco-Roman and Egyptian pantheons). Special mention to Jonas Quinn, a human from Langara who replaces Daniel Jackson on SG-1 for season 6: his name has been joked about for sounding less alien to American ears than that of his actor Corin Nemec.
    • Spinoff series Stargate Atlantis has Wraith (vampiric aliens from another galaxy who've never been anywhere near Earth to their chagrin) with names such as Michael, Steve, and Todd. Naturally, these are more like nicknames applied by the human characters. However, a couple of the Wraith who've been given such names more or less adopt them, or at least respond to them in later encounters with the main characters.
  • In the Star Trek universe, aliens frequently have names that aren't exactly "Bob" — i.e. not standard Anglo-American names — but are actually not very obscure human names. (And not just due to Defictionalization either.) One of the best-known examples is Spock, who shared his name with a famous pediatrician of the period (to the point that non-fans often mistakenly call the character "Dr. Spock"). Similarly, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the first and last names of alien characters Kira Nerys and Jadzia Dax are all human names (Jadzia is a diminutive of the Polish name Jadwiga, for example, and Nerys is Welsh), as is Odo. Other alien characters with human names are Justified by being part-human (see below):
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Downplayed for Deanna Troi, who is half-Betazoid, and Alexander Rozhenko, who is three-quarters Klingon and was raised by his half-human, half-Klingon mother and human grandparents more than his fully-Klingon father.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Downplayed. The series features two alien hybrids, one of whom has the last name Torres (but the alien first name B'Elanna) and the second of whom has the completely human name Naomi Wildman. Late in the series, B'Elanna has a quarter-alien daughter, and while it's unknown what her first name will end up beingnote , she has her father's surname, Paris.
  • One recurring character on Star Trek: Discovery is a Saurian named Linus. Since his language is unpronounceable for humans, this may be a human-bestowed nickname.
  • Torchwood has a sewer-dwelling alien with gigantic fangs that the team captured. Captain Jack named it Janet, because "Barbara just never seemed right."
  • The Troop: In "Eris Returns", the Eris Fairy Cecillia's Psycho Ex-Boyfriend is a monstrous, multi-armed Vrog from Another Dimension... named Todd. Cecillia herself has a human name, which is in stark contrast to her sister's Unpronounceable name.
  • The Ultra Series does this with various of the Ultramen, where despite being set in the distant galaxy known as Nebula M-78, have several of their members having Earthling names. Such as Jack, Leo, or Max. Ultraman Taro and his son, Ultraman Taiga, both have common Japanese names, though their cases can be justified that they were both born after a handful of Ultras (in Taro's case) and later, dozens of them (in Taiga's case) had protected Earth and met people with those names.

    Video Games 
  • Awesomenauts runs the gamut, with some aliens named things like Derpl Zork or Qi'Tara, but others named Penny, Rocco, Leon, Vinnie, etc.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light picks names for random crewmembers out of a pool shared between species, so you get aliens with human names and humans with alien names. Specific named characters usually have names specific to their species like the Mantis thief Kazaaakplethkilik, with the notable exceptions of a rockwoman named Ariadne and a Mantis named Robert Smith who was raised by humans.
  • Metroid: The leader of the Space Pirate is a draconian alien named "Ridley". While not exactly a common name, it's still a real name of English origin. Made all the more jarring considering that the protagonist of the same series is named "Samus" which sounds far more alien despite her being human.
  • Perfect Dark has Protector 1, better known as "Elvis."
    Joanna Dark: I'm Agent Dark, or Joanna if you'd prefer.
    Elvis: Well, Joanna, I'm Protector 1, but you can call me: Elvis!
  • Star Ocean is full of this. On backwater planets that have no connection to the rest of the galaxy you'll meet aliens with names like Clair, Roger, Sarah and Celine. The fifth game has Fiore, which is Italian for flower. The third game has Nel which is one one l short of the name Nell.
  • Subnautica: Below Zero: Robin meets one of the ancient alien Precursor Architects. It gives itself a designation derived from Alterra's tentative name for his species and his "seed code", producing a surprisingly mundane name. She Lampshades it.
    Robin: My whole life, I've been dying to meet a sapient, spacefaring alien up close, and you're telling me your name is ALAN?
    Al-An: Is it insufficient?
    Robin: No, it's fine. It's perfect.

  • In Grrl Power, Frix, a large alien anthropomorphic canine, belongs to a species called Woof.
  • In El Goonish Shive, William and Gillian are shapeshifters whose species is called Uryuom. Of course, those two Uryuoms were born and raised in America, so they would naturally have normal sounding names.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has a hostile, action-figure sized alien warlord who identifies himself as "he who is known as Barry."

    Web Video 
  • Dad has a species of Human Aliens living on Kepler 22-B. The names we know from that planet include Andan, Emily, and Ella.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Alphablocks features an alien named Fred.
  • American Dad!: The alien living with the Smith family is named Roger. You might think that this is merely an easy way for Earthlings to reference him but several flashbacks to his time in space reveal that that is his actual name.
  • Creative Galaxy: Several of the aliens have normal names, such as Arty, Georgia, Annie, and Jackson.
  • The Fairly Oddparents has an alien named Mark Chang.
  • Four Eyes!: The main protagonist of the series is an alien named Emma.
  • In the Futurama episode "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?", (John) Zoidberg's crush is a lobster-like alien like him, but her name is Edna. Also, a hermit crab-like alien named Vinny briefly features. Another episode has a Neptunian woman called Heather.
  • One "U.S. Acres" segment of Garfield and Friends, "The Well Dweller," features a tiny blue alien named...Al. It's promptly lampshaded when Orson captures him and remarks that most aliens have odd names, and the creature simply shrugs and says that his name is just plain Al.
    • One "Garfield" segment features a sentient wishing well that has Reality Warper powers. It's revealed at the episode's end that it's actually a juvenile member of an alien race that happens to look like Earth wishing wells; this particular troublemaker is named Andrew.
  • Jelly Jamm: Mina and Rita are aliens from Jammbo. They also have the only normal names in the series.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series:
  • Martin Mystery has an alien named Billy.
  • Peg + Cat has an alien named Richard.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "The Chronicles of Meap" has an evil poacher alien named Mitch.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Downplayed with Jet, as his name is pretty rare, but he gave himself an "Earthie" name after he and his family moved from Bortron 7 to Earth. His other family members named themselves after vegetables (Carrot, Celery, etc).
  • Rick and Morty: Played with; Many Gromflomites have alien-sounding first names, paired with last names that sound like mundane human first names. Examples include Krombopulos Michael the assassin, and Cornvelious Daniel the interrogation agent.
  • R.O.B. the Robot: Downplayed with Ema the green alien. Her name is an unorthodox spelling of "Emma".
  • Solar Opposites: Two of the Shlorpians are named Terry and Jesse, whose names are in contrast to the other two named Korvo and Yumyulack so as to show that the former two like being on Earth while the latter two do not.