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Closet Geek

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What Montgomery said next was unimportant. She could have called him a "tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood!" She could have gone with the classic "scruffy-looking nerf-herder!" She might have chosen, appropriate to the situation, "gods-cursed TOASTER frakker!"
But in the end, it was unimportant what
exactly she said.
Because the entire population of Springfield High heard Montgomery use an insult so geeky, so extreme, that there was no doubt in any other stealth geek's mind what she was.

One of them.

This trope defines a character who is interested in fantasy, sci-fi, computer stuff, or other manner of geeky pastimes. The difference between this character and Proud to Be a Geek is their total lack of embracing their geeky nature. To a vast majority of the population, they would never guess their geeky nature.

Reasons for covering up their geekiness may stem from a perceived image of themselves they desire to maintain or running with a group of friends who aren't normally interested in that kind of stuff. Expect Freudian Slips when their topics of interest are discussed, and cries of ...Or So I Heard in a vain attempt to cover it up.

See also Public Hater, Private Fan which can overlap with this.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yukari in Ai Kora is secretly part of a doujin circle and loves to play video games.
  • Yua in Chaos;Head. Whilst appearing to be a normal honor student, she keeps up with the latest anime and starts to buy the collectible figures, whilst maintaining her flawless image. However, her geek side may be a ploy to earn Takumi's trust.
  • Kaoruko of Comic Girls passes out on her first day at school because she wants to hide her overtly otaku hobbies, but can't come up with something "normal" enough to answer her classmates' questions.
  • Salia from Cross Ange is secretly a Magical Girl aficionado and a Cosplay Otaku Girl, but does her hardest to conceal her hobby, going as far as threatening violence against anyone who may expose her.
  • Akina Shinozaki of Don't Become an Otaku, Shinozaki-san! is a Closet Geek. Or, it may be more accurate to say, she thinks she's a Closet Geek, as she tries very hard to hide her growing interest in otaku activities, but everyone in her class is fully aware of it and even regard her as the oddest of the three otaku in their class.
  • Closet otaku Kanji in Genshiken.
    • Ogiue takes this to rabid levels, telling everyone how she HATES otakus. Strangely enough, it's completely justified, complete with probably the most disturbingly realistic Freudian Excuse ever seen in manga.
  • The core of Himouto! Umaru-chan is that Umaru is the image of refined perfection in public (to the point that she tells people she's not even allowed to read manga), but she's really an anime and video game-obsessed Otaku in her private life, in addition to being a Lazy Bum. She does her best to ensure that none of her friends find out that she's really an otaku, and has actually invented two separate Secret Identities to cover up: when hanging out with Kirie she pretends to be her own younger sister "Komaru", and with Sylphinford she dons a Domino Mask and goes by "UMR-san".
  • How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?: Satomi Tachibana is a teacher who loves to cosplay professionally under the alias Yulia Riko, but does her best to keep this a secret since she likes to separate her professional and personal life. She often freaks out when she runs into her students at these events, fearing they may find her out.
  • I Love Yuri and I got Bodyswapped with a Fujoshi!: Unlike Hoshina, who is quite open about her love of Yaoi, Yoshida tends to keep his love of Yuri a secret.
  • Jotaro Kujo from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a stoic, tough-as-nails badass delinquent... who reads technical books about boats and planes for fun, developed his Genius Bruiser tendencies by obsessively watching Columbo, and whose favorite movie of all time is a nature film/fictionalized biopic about a guy studying caribou.
  • In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Yu Ishigami is an otaku for anime, manga, and video games, but does his best to keep people from finding out since he's already unpopular among his classmates as-is. In one chapter, he and Miyuki Shirogane discuss their favorite manga when the Student Council girls enter the room. Ishigami promptly throws his friend under the bus rather than admit to the hobby, which leads to Shirogane lecturing the rest of them about how there's no shame in being an otaku and gets them to admit that they like anime too.
  • Izumi Wakase, one of the post-anime characters from Lucky Star. Unlike the other Otaku characters who are very open about their hobbies, she tries to keep her otaku status a secret.
  • In Medaka Box, while fighting with a Kamen Rider Otaku, Akune admits that he prefers the Heisei-era Ridersnote  and, in the original manga, goes so far as to say that Kamen Rider Ryuki is his favorite.
  • Mikoshiba from Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun is a massive videogame otaku, who also collects bishojo figurines and helps Nozaki draw manga. He hides it from everyone except Sakura (who found out by accident) and Nozaki (who he plays games with sometimes, and lets him store his figures at his apartment) to maintain his "cool guy" image.
    • He temporarily switches to Proud to Be a Geek when Wakamatsu (who also helps Nozaki with manga) tries to offer solidarity, calling himself an otaku for reading shoujo manga, only for Mikoshiba to criticize him for daring to call himself an otaku at that level.
  • Jiro Kyoka from My Hero Academia compiles journals of notes like Midoriya does, only in regard to rock music rather than superheroes. She thinks it's unheroic and embarrassing, but her classmates are quick to encourage her when they decide to put on a rock concert for U.A.'s Culture Festival.
    • Katsuki Bakugo qualifies too. While he is more of a Jerk Jock and mostly bullies Izuku Midoriya and derisively refers to him and a lot of his peers as "nerds", he himself is quite the geek. Midoriya as a child hero worshipped All Might to the point of wanting to use a hero name that is some variation of the name "All Might", but in the present day decides against it, because they are big shoes to fill and because it'll be embarrassing. Bakugo, on the other hand, without a hint of embarrassment, adopts the hero name Great Explosion Murder God Dynamight, as a tribute to his idol.
  • Sana in Myself ; Yourself. He has an entire box full of anime stuff (including an AIR artbook) which he hides from his friends. He also plays visual novels on his laptop in his spare time.
  • Chisame from Negima! Magister Negi Magi is a huge otaku and an online Idol in secret, but denies all of this in the real world due to overwhelming embarrassment about her hobbies.
  • In No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!, Tomoko's middle school friend Yuu became one of these to fit in after entering high school.
  • According to the question corner of the 82nd volume of One Piece, the Bishounen and somewhat emo pirate captain Trafalgar Law collects commemorative coins in secret. In the manga proper, the Zou arc shows him being eager to meet a real ninja in person just like the rest of the (male) Straw Hats, and the Wano arc reveals that he read the comics that were based on Sanji's villainous family, and knows enough about the series that Usopp lampshades it.
  • Yayoi Kise from Smile PreCure! is an otaku who dreams of being a manga artist, but hides it for fear of being teased.
  • Kurisu from Steins;Gate. Daru and Okabe discover that she reads 2channel (or "@channel") when she accidentally references its memes.
  • Most of the main cast of Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku conceal their hobbies to some extent, except for Hirotaka who always has a handheld console on him and plays in every spare moment. Hanako and Tarou just keep quiet about it at work. Narumi is the most fanatical about it, even changing jobs when one ex-boyfriend outed her and broke up with her because of it.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Adventures: In Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet, Spider-Man attempts to make a Star Trek reference by declaring "Warp Factor 9, Mr. Spock!" only for Doctor Doom to correct him by stating that it's Sulu who sets the speed. Spidey then proceeds to mock Doom for outing himself as a Trekkie.
  • Spider-Man: In Avenging Spider-Man, Proud to Be a Geek Peter Parker is ecstatic to discover that Steve Rogers used to draw comic books, and Steve is less than happy to talk about it because he doesn't think it's very Captain America. He relents at the end, though, when he realizes this attitude has somewhat dented Spidey's view of him, and the story ends with him showing Peter some new comics he's drawn and asking what he thinks.

    Fan Works 
  • Anger Management: Downplayed. Lincoln is relatively open about his geeky habits, but still doesn't self-identify as a geek.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail has Chloe Cerise shown as a quiet loner who keeps to herself in the Pokémon world. When on the Infinity Train, she expresses a love of the macabre, a penchant for writing horror stories and a fondness of reciting very dark and morbid lyrics into casual conversation. She has to hide that side of herself because how everyone in her class mocks her for it and instead pressures her to follow in her father's footsteps.
  • Patchouli Knowledge in Monsters In Paradise is portrayed as this. Several of her library's bookcases are devoted entirely to stories that she enjoys reading whenever she isn't doing something magic-related, such as The Canterbury Tales, the works of Shakespeare... and Star Wars: Heir to the Empire.
  • Erina in Nouvelle reads shojo manga in her spare time and catches Soma's Dragon Ball reference in the first chapter.
  • Total Drama Voyage: Duncan's revealed to be a secret fan of mystery stories, which according to Gwen, he's always done a bad job of hiding. His time in prison caused his secret love for the genre to grow even moreso as reading mystery books was some of the only things he could do during his free time.
  • Universe Falls: It turns out that Pearl's extensive knowledge of strategy and military experience makes her the ideal Dungeons, Dungeons & More Dungeons player.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread: Thanks to several years of dating Cody, Heather will on occasion slip a movie or even video game reference. While not exactly ashamed of it, she does find it irritating at times.
  • Ars Goetia: Edelgard appears to secretly be one. After the first trip to Yggdrasil, she stayed up all night coming up with party names for the group. Most of the names she chose are parodies and shout-outs to the names of various teams from the Persona series:
    Edelgard: This is what I have: the Persona Strike Force; the Masked Circle; the New World Order; the Specialized Nobility Execution Squad, or 'S.N.E.S.' for short; the Investigation Team; the Phantom Strikers; the Shadow Knights; the Garreg Mach Four; Byleth Eisner and the Garreg Mach Three—
    Dimitri: You can’t be serious.
    Edelgard: Okay, what about the Garreg Mach Two?
    Sothis: Hey, isn't the math wrong on all of those? I'm not included in the tally!
    Edelgard: Hm? Oh. I guess I forgot to include you because you don't have a Persona.
    Sothis: You didn't have one when you came up with these!
    Byleth: Do you have an idea?
    Edelgard: Are-Are mine no good?
  • Shining and Sweet shows Piston Hondo to hide his interest in Sailor Moon from the other boxers out of embarrassment of liking a franchise aimed at young girls.

    Films — Animation 
  • Sam the weather girl in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is obsessed with meteorology, and becomes the weather girl to make it seem perfectly natural. Develops a habit of saying something really smart and then backing away from the statement to try not to sound too clever due to a history of being teased for her "nerdiness" as a child.
  • Turning Red: Tyler is secretly a fan of 4*Town, and The Stinger shows that Jin is one too.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Airheads, the LAPD digs up dirt on would-be rock star Chazz Darvey, who has taken a radio station hostage. SWAT team leader Carl Mace reveals to the crowd (that has come to cheer Chazz and his band on) that Chazz is actually Chester Oglivue. Chazz admits that he was a nerd in high school, and tells his girlfriend that he understands if she doesn't love him anymore. But members of the crowd start shouting that they were nerds in high school, too, and the FBI's gambit fails. To make things even funnier, one of those people is Lemmy from Motörhead.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: Taryn is a tough-talking girl who's fond of punk clothing, but she also plays a fantasy role-playing game with Will and Joey.
  • In Please Stand By, a cop played by Patton Oswalt speaks Klingon to get Wendy to turn herself in. When his partner asks him what language he was speaking, he becomes embarrassed and tries to avoid the question.
  • They Look Like People has a twist in Christian, a handsome, weight-lifting businessman who was a geek in school and has become deeply insecure with feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. Whenever he reminisces about the past, he hollowly laughs about what a total loser he used to be. One scene shows that he still has his old Magic: The Gathering cards stored in a box of mementos.

  • In the Aunt Dimity series, retiree George Wetherhead is initially presented as this over his model trains; he's so shy and retiring about his hobby that when Lori first comes to his door, he seizes her and pulls her inside his cottage so as to avoid having the impending train whistle blast audibly outside his home. Eventually, he is persuaded to show his collection to paying customers, first for a village festival and later on a scheduled basis.
  • Ben Clouseau of Full Metal Panic! is a secret anime nerd. He tries to keep his DVD stash a secret, but Kurtz finds them and sows havoc (read: extensively taunting him then corrupting the videos).
  • Haruka Nogizaka's Secret has Haruka Nogizaka. It's her secret, and rightfully so. Society in general looks down on Otaku as nothing more than disgusting and perverted freaks; and coming from a rich family, she has a certain image to maintain. She even got a Heroic BSoD back in elementary school over being discovered and ridiculed for being one of these. Worse, her strict father doesn't approve of this hobby either.
  • Eriri from How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend is a massive otaku and doujinshi artist, but due to past events hides it from the general public.
  • In the second book of the Into the Looking Glass series, the viewpoint US Marine character is this until outright asked about his knowledge of science fiction, it having been decided that such knowledge might be useful for the crew of humanity's first starship. The implication is that many of the personnel aboard the Vorpal Blade were closet geeks until they were thrown together.
  • Kirsty from the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy. In Only You Can Save Mankind, she's very cautious about admitting that, in the game, she calls herself Sigourney. And in Johnny and the Bomb she accidentally admits to having a shelf full of Star Trek videos, and immediately claims that "the programme happens to be an accurate reflection of late 20th-century social concerns, actually." When non-closeted geek Yo-less asks if she has a Starfleet uniform, she refuses to answer.
  • Kirino Kosaka from Oreimo. She's popular at school and even does part-time modeling, making her the last person one would expect the least to be a big fan of anime — much less, H-games.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On 30 Rock Jack had an impressive cookie jar collection, which he regularly displayed at conventions in upstate New York under a fake name. When he wants to become the head of GE, his PI convinces him to get rid of the collection, for fear that his colleagues will find out and think he's weird.
  • Lexi Reed from A.N.T. Farm. Her Attention Whore tendencies came to the fore in the Season Three premiere, when she felt so jealous that she applied for the ANT Farm boarding school; however, she still prefers to be the resident Lovable Alpha Bitch.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Penny is not the first season. But after spending time with the guys, she's slowly become one, able to recall Star Trek plots (and use them as metaphors), kick ass at video games, and quote Star Wars. But, of course, she's not going to admit there's a difference between Star Wars and Star Trek to her (very smart, but not into fandoms) friends Amy and Bernadette. Never mind that she saw the new Star Trek movie on her own and of her own accord before Sheldon did. She also admits having seen Game of Thrones on her own because it had "dragons...and people doing it". Although, granted, there's still a lot of fandoms she really genuinely does not have much interest in, like anything to do with comic books. The 6th season, though, has Penny not only get into comics but drag Bernadette and Amy down with her in a battle over the exact mechanics of Thor's hammer.
    • Also Leonard, who is usually a proud geek, attempted this once. It failed.
      Penny: What are you doing?
      Leonard: No, don't tell her
      Sheldon: Playing Klingon Boggle.
      Leonard: Ugh.
      Howard: Oh come on, like she doesn't know we're geeks.
    • Zack Johnson, Penny's muscular but not-too-bright ex-boyfriend, likes comic books, particularly Archie Comics. Sheldon claims that those belong "in the bedrooms of ten-year-old girls", but Zack's enough of a fanboy to know that there's way more to Archie than that.
  • Colin Fisher, one of the rotating set of interns on Bones, actually admitted to being a closet sci-fi geek. Given their line of work, however, did this really come as a shock to anyone?
    Fisher: Okay, I admit. I'm a geek.
    Brennan: You're Greek?
    Angela: No, geek, sweetie.
    Fisher: I love it all, Star Trek, Star Wars, Buffy, Xena, AKIRA. I even watch Fringe.
  • Buffyverse:
  • Clara Oswald from Doctor Who doesn't really come off as the geek type. Until the Doctor agrees to take her to meet Robin Hood (and she decides to go into full-out cosplay mode), and she totally geeks out about Jane Austen to the point of claiming to know more about her than the Doctor. Exaggerated after an Off Screen Moment Of Awesome where she not only met Jane but apparently snogged her, a fact that she can't resist boasting about to her students.
  • Downton Abbey: A fairly mild example, but it turns out that Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, of all people, has read and enjoyed a fair amount of contemporary science fiction. H. G. Wells and The Lost World (1912) get mentioned by name.
  • Freaks and Geeks has Alan, a bully who picks on Sam, Neil, and Bill; after hospitalizing Bill in a prank gone awry, he reveals that the reason he picks on them is that he secretly likes science-fiction and comic books. Bill even invites him to an upcoming convention, but Alan chooses not to go.
  • One bit in John Leguizamo's short-lived sketch comedy House of Buggin was a trio of Latino gangbangers who did movie reviews. One of them was particularly large and thuggish...and almost assaulted one of the others for insulting Captain Kirk. It got worse later...the movie they were reviewing was Generations.
  • House of the Dragon: As King, Viserys is expected to be a very public and nobility-pleasing persona, sponsoring bloodsports like the tourney and hunting, as any medieval king (both in fantasy and Real Life) is expected to do. In private, however, he seems to be far more occupied with the histories of the Targaryen dynasty and that of Old Valyria—as evidenced by Alicent's initial choice of entertainment for him (a history book), the fact that he spends a lot of time playing with a model of Old Valyria's capital city/citadel and dragon figurines, as well as spending time reflecting in front of the skull of Balerion.
  • In Law & Order: SVU, it's revealed that Finn is an avid gamer, much to the amusement of some of his fellow detectives. He explains that the hobby helps relieve stress. This is also Truth in Television. Rapper, Ice-T who plays the character, is a proud gamer, especially when it comes to multiplayer shooters and even has his own Call of Duty clan.
  • Mitch in Modern Family is openly gay, but a closeted geek. An episode in later seasons had him going for the first time to a science fiction convention with Proud to Be a Geek Phil.
  • Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s character on Psych, who, after being a not-so-closet geek in high school, has grown up to be, well, Freddie Prinze, Jr., but still has a secret room (even from his wife) of nerd paraphernalia. Naturally, they had to make a "closet nerd" joke when the room was first revealed. Also naturally, his wife turned out to be a closet geek as well.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Stargate SG-1: Jack O'Neill obfuscates stupidity about science, but he's an amateur astronomer; he denies liking "that sci-fi stuff" and claims to have never seen Star Wars. Yet it's him who suggests the name Enterprise for their first big ship, and on a mission in the X-302 he wants his code name to be Red Leader. Also, from Season 6's Episode "Redemption", while going through an X-302 Pre-Flight Checklist:
      Carter: Navigation?
      O'Neill: Check.
      Carter: Oxygen, pressure, temperature control?
      O'Neill: All check.
      Carter: Inertial Dampeners?
      O'Neill: Cool!... and check.
      Carter: Engines?
      O'Neill: All Check. Phasers?
      Carter: Sorry sir.
    • His teammate Teal'c is The Stoic and a Proud Warrior Race Guy, but Star Wars is his favorite movie. He's seen it so many times that even though he's read The Bible, the first virgin birth that comes to his mind is Darth Vader, not Jesus. He also catches a Die Hard reference that Daniel misses.
    • John Sheppard from Stargate Atlantis. He obfuscates stupidity like O'Neill and is a really laid-back guy, but he's also a Mensa-level mathematical genius who throws out pop culture references whenever he feels like it. At one point, he tries to use Reed Richards as an alias.
    • Also from Atlantis, we have Ronon Dex. At first, he doesn't get why someone would "watch a box" for fun, but after he's been exposed to enough Earth culture, he's making references to Jaws and Alien.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has an unexpected example in Captain Picard, diplomat, badass, and very serious man, who much to his officers' amusement had a huge geek-out over the realism of the "Dixon Hill" holodeck program. Picard also gets really excited about archaeology, and on the away team exploring an old ship, he behaved like a child in a chocolate factory. He's also pretty geeky about Shakespeare to the point where he keeps a treasured Complete Works of Shakespeare in his ready room, usually protected under glass the same way an action figure collector might display his treasures.
    • In a season one episode, they run a feed from Geordi's VISOR to the bridge view screen. Captain Picard sidetracks the mission for a few minutes watching in amazement and asking Geordi what several things are. It takes Commander Riker clearing his throat to remind Picard that they are there because of a distress signal.
  • Stranger Things: Lucas' sister Erica teases her brother and his friends for being nerds, but it turns out that she's a math whiz, very politically-savvy for a preteen, and a fan of My Little Pony. Dustin's pretty shocked when he realizes this, and she takes offense when he calls her a nerd over it. By the start of the fourth season, though, she's embraced her nerdy side and become quite the D&D player.
  • Supernatural's Dean Winchester. He teases Sam for being a geek, but he drops references to Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, The X-Files, amongst others. Especially apparent in LARP and the Real Girl, when Sam pulls up a video of the LARP group's activities, Dean comments it looks awesome but turns stoic when Sam turns to look at him.
  • Kano Nakamura, the main character of Tokusatsu GaGaGa, is an Office Lady who's secretly a huge fan of Toku shows. The series largely revolves around the way she relates her fandom to her daily adult life, while also keeping it hidden from the people around her.

  • In New Dynamic English, Max likes to play "Computer Soldier", which is most likely a Shout-Out to Counter-Strike, but hides it despite that he used to for a computer company and married a computer programmer (which supposedly removes the oddness of his geekiness).
    Larry: Actually, I was thinking I might give some of these computer games a try. Computer Soldier looks like a fun game.
    Max: That's a great game!! I play… I mean, my son plays it all the time.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Luna became close friends with Ivy when they were young due to a shared interest in anime and video games. Once she became embroiled in Nadine's gang, however, Luna cut off ties with Ivy and hid all of her geeky interests so that Nadine wouldn't find out.

    Video Games 
  • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! it's revealed that Moxxi is secretly a mechanical geek, just like both her children and the rest of her former bandit clan, the Hodunks. She threatens the player with death if they tell.
  • Disgaea:
    • Rozalin in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories is shown to be a Prism Rangers fangirl. She gets annoyed when the Rangers membership lacks all 7 colors of the rainbow and applauds them when filling the roster later on. Then she becomes jealous when Adell is dubbed 'Prism Black'.
    • Mao from Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice claims that all the manga, anime, and comics he consumes about superheroes is merely research so that he can discover the source of a hero's power and use it to overthrow his father, but really he's a much bigger fanboy than he lets on.
  • Cassandra Pentaghast, of all people, is revealed in Dragon Age: Inquisition to be a hopeless fangirl of Varric's writings, particularly of the ones he himself considers personal failures. After this is discovered, she keeps pestering him about obscure details of his books, much to his amusement.
  • Fake Happy End: During Aeri's date event, she runs away from the protagonist so that they don't discover her day job. She's actually a cosplaying employee at a net cafe.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony reveals that Ray Bulgarin, a human trafficker and The Don of the Russian Mafia is an avid collector of rock-and-roll memorabilia.
  • Victoria in Life Is Strange can be considered a closet geek. In episode 3, Max Caulfield finds a newly bought, glow-in-the-dark action figure of a character named "Blubery" inside Victoria's room to which she remarks "Victoria's Secret? She's a geek!"
  • In the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC for Mass Effect 2, Legion is revealed to be a gamer on its own time, having quite an extensive record of achievements.
  • In Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, it's revealed that crime boss Vinnie Gognitti is a huge Baseball Bat Boy fan and collects every piece of merchandise available. Vinnie tries defending his geek hobby to Payne by saying he's only collecting them for the money they might be worth in the future. Too bad this came back to haunt him.
  • Fuuka Yamagishi from Persona 3 is initially one of these, before the protagonist helps her accept this.
  • The Sith Inquisitor Player Character in Star Wars: The Old Republic spends a lot of time digging through tombs and looking for artifacts of ancient Jedi and Sith. Some dialogue options indicate they've come to enjoy it for its own sake, and not just as a route to personal power the way Sith usually view such things. This can be a point of bonding with their Endearingly Dorky Adventurer Archaeologist companion Talos Drellik.
  • Undyne in Undertale is head of the royal guard, and she is as tough as she looks. She also has a secret hobby, but you won't know about it unless you spared and befriended her. Turns out that she is a massive geek when it comes to anime, due to spending time with fellow fan Alphys and encountering such shows in the context of "human history". She'll even ask you if anime is real.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, hacking Maximilian Strauss' computer reveals that he — a centuries-old vampire warlock, regional leader of the Tremere Clan — plays the setting's version of World of Warcraft online with some friends.
  • Yakuza Kiwami 2: Shoko is a glamourous hostess at a high-end cabaret club by night, but by day she is a huge gag manga otaku, as well as an up-and-coming manga artist. Her character arc is focused around convincing her to let her geek flag fly and try to actually get her work published.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: Miles Edgeworth is a "closet" Steel Samurai fan, in the sense that nobody knows he's a fan. In truth, he makes barely any effort at all to hide it, even displaying some Steel Samurai merchandise in his office right out in the open. It's just that everyone assumes that someone with as much British Stuffiness as Edgeworth couldn't possibly like a kids' TV show, so they simply dismiss anything that suggests he does.
  • In Double Homework, who knew that Morgan, the former gang leader who spent a year in jail, was into fantasy and writes steampunk stories for fun?

  • Billie from Dumbing of Age might be a former cheerleader who likes to call people NERDS but she uses phrases like "life-force" in casual conversation. The glasses and somewhat chubby physique don't help either...
    Billie: (to Joyce) So who'd you play matchmaker with, my young padawan?
    Ruth: "Padawan"?
    Billie: Everyone's seen Star Wars, Ruth. It's not a nerd thing.
Billie later outs herself as "a dumb nerd who for several of my preteen years secretly ran a fanfiction blog dedicated to Kit Fisto."
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Mr. Verres If he's not into geeky things, he's at least extremely familiar with them in his role as the man behind covering up real-life SF & fantasy shenanigans. He's been stated to be familiar with the term "Delayed Blast Fireball". For example, when Grace wanted to wear some alien spandex for a workout.
      Mr. Verres: Okay, fine. But if anyone asks, you're cosplaying as an OC from your DC superheroes FF.
      Grace: I'm what?
    • Diane initially has an extremely negative idea of what a geek is, to the point she can't understand why anyone would claim Geek Pride. She doesn't particularly conceal that she's into video games, and novelisations of video games, she just doesn't see why there's a label to go with that. She eventually accepts that her new friends see things differently, and that by assuring them they weren't geeks she was actually offending them a bit, but she still doesn't get it.
  • Shanna from Fans! spends much of the early part of the series denying her geek-ness. Justified in this case because obsessive fangirl behavior was one of the early symptoms of her mother's mental breakdown; Shanna's afraid that her own fangirl tendencies are signs that she's going insane, too.
  • Colonel Badass Maxima shamefully admits to having been a gamer in Grrl Power. She also knows a lot about the Lord of The Rings.
  • Joe from It's Walky!. He acts like a macho man but hides an inner brainiac. His profile even calls him a closet nerd.
  • Amal from The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal. Here he is with his Starfleet uniform.
  • According to Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, all the references to They Live! and Alien made by Duke Nukem were not coincidental.
  • Questionable Content: The head of security for a Space Station housing a cutting-edge research installation has Marigold whisked off to a private room on arrival... because he noticed the romance mangas in her backpack and wants to share.
  • Colbie from Radio Silence. Colbie tries to play off his obsession with the Harry Potter franchise.
  • Nancy from Rhapsodies takes things very seriously, but she does like her science fiction.
  • Lily from Scalie Schoolie enjoys Magical Girls, cosplay, and anime figurines, all of which she tries to keep secret from her students.
  • Mark of Weregeek is literally the 'were'geek of the title. When the full moon rises, he gets more interested in geeky hobbies. He hides it from his co-workers and girlfriend for fear of being laughed at but gradually starts to feel interested in the geeky things on a more regular basis. Eventually, he is simply an outright closet geek rather than responding to the full moon.
  • In The Wotch, one of the Jerk Jocks that Anne transforms into the Cheer! Squad turns out to have been a closet geek, playing D&D with the local nerd-squad... who were sworn to secrecy on penalty of severe beatings. His new female form, Lita Harper, is somewhat more open and outgoing about her geeky interests, which includes both D&D and WoW.

    Web Original 
  • Ask That Guy with the Glasses makes constant references to geeky stuff, has written fanfiction, and prefers instead to mock the living hell out of nerds.
  • Carl Copenhagan from Demo Reel mocks Donnie and Uncle Yo for their dorky con bromance, but knows enough about Pokémon to make sexual puns about it to sexy cosplayers.
  • 4chan refers to this trope as "hiding your power level". The general opinion is that your power level must be hidden at all costs, and nobody must ever know that you have such "shameful" interests as anime, video games, comic books, etc. Overlaps with Even Nerds Have Standards, as many power level hiders look down on open/proud nerds, and think that if you aren't ashamed of having nerdy interests, then there must be something wrong with you.
  • Even though the mask slips ridiculously often, The Nostalgia Chick will never embrace the nerdy fangirl within.

    Western Animation 
  • In 6teen Chrissy is a big Star Wars geek but hides it from her popular friends, "The Clones", who are three Alpha Bitches who act and dress exactly the same. She'd always been the most independent of them.
  • Lana Kane of Archer is an Action Girl, Sassy Black Woman who is secretly (or not so secretly) a Covert Pervert, familiar with cosplay, likes dressing up, and going by her familiarity of Palpatine and even imitating Vader a big Star Wars fan.
  • On Daria, football jock Kevin Thompson is a fan of The X-Files and attended The Rocky Horror Picture Show with his girlfriend, Brittany. He's also apparently a fan of a comic book called Ratboy.
  • Trixie Tang from The Fairly OddParents! loves comic books, but hides it because the other popular kids would probably reject her if they knew and even goes as far as disguising herself as a boy whenever she visits the local comic store.
  • The Alpha Bitch Trina in Grojband is a closet math geek, who attends math competitions as a glasses-wearing nerd with a pencil in her hair and the nickname "Trigonometrina". During one of the competitions, Tina becomes real friends with her Number Two and fellow math geek Mina.
  • John Stewart's Justice League cartoon incarnation. As an adult, he's a no-nonsense former Marine, but as a kid, he was an avid comic book reader. When a dimension-hop allows him to meet his childhood heroes, he admits to a bemused Flash that if he hadn't had those stories as a kid he might not have ended up wearing the Green Lantern Ring. When he, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are changed into pre-teens, he uses the power ring to create giant mecha-armour for himself. He also used to wear glasses (making him look like Urkel), but change it into a stylish mask (resembling Kyle Rayner's in the comics).
  • In the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness episode "The Maltese Mantis", Master Shifu forbids Po from attending the Festival of Figurines, a convention for kung fu action-figure combat... out of fear that Po might see him there. Which, of course, Po does, and eventually persuades Shifu to embrace his inner geek.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode, "Read It and Weep", the ever-athletic Rainbow Dash discovers she enjoys reading and is both ashamed to admit it and ridiculously determined to secretly finish her first book by any means necessary - including breaking into a hospital to retrieve said book after it's accidentally left there. She grows out of it, later being shown going into long-winded discussions with Twilight in front of everyone else with no shame whatsoever.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • When attending a sci-fi/fantasy convention in "Nerds of a Feather", Candace cosplays as Ducky Momo in a full-body costume, as a means of hiding herself so that no one will know that she likes a show aimed at preschoolers.
    • Regardless of whatever so-called bully Buford says about being there to beat up nerds, the fact is that he was at that same convention. In Cosplay gear.
    • Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe reveals Candace's crush Jeremy is secretly into LARPing. He's so embarrassed about it that when Stacy stumbles upon his gear, he begs her not to tell Candace.
  • Ashley T. from Recess, one of an Identically Named Group of Alpha Bitches, is implied to be a closet fan of comic books. In "Chez Vince", she bribes T.J. by giving him one of her Senor Fusion comics.
  • Sierra, the Alpha Bitch on The Replacements, has a secret love of a Star Trek expy. This is how she ends up bonding with Todd, who's also a fan.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Egon is a fan of The Murray the Mantis Show. (So is Ray.) When Peter grills him on it, Egon hastily stammers, "It's a morality play. *clears throat* Full of complexities."
    • This is repeated in Extreme Ghostbusters when one episode reveals that Eduardo is a fan of J.N Kline's horror comics, which is an obvious take on J.L Giles and H. P. Lovecraft. It becomes a major factor in the plot, and Eduardo's knowledge of the comics is what helps the Ghostbusters defeat the Monster of the Week.
  • As an Actor Allusion, Raven in Teen Titans Go! turns out to be a closet fan of Pretty Pretty Pegasus (her voice actress is the main character of Friendship is Magic). After spending the duration of an episode trying to hide it, it turns out the other Titans (or at least Robin) are un-closeted fans of the show, with Robin being another Actor Allusion (this time to My Little Pony 'n Friends).

Alternative Title(s): Closet Otaku


Closet nerd

Dennis keeps up dudebro appearances by storing his nerd interests in secret rooms.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ClosetGeek

Media sources: