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Self-Applied Nickname

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Joey: It's like the end of an era! No more J-Man and Channy!
Chandler: Okay, I gotta ask, who calls us that?!

Bob has decided that he doesn't want to be called Bob anymore, so one day he starts referring to himself as B-Man.

A character really wants people to refer to them by a nickname they have given themselves, but nobody really bothers and instead calls them something completely different, whether it's a nickname they don't like or their real name. However, in some cases, they will get at least one person who will call them by their desired name, and the reason is often because that's what said person knows them by first. Whether they continue to call them by their Self-Applied Nickname or not depends on how much they like them.

There is also the chance they might force people to call them by their nickname by refusing to respond to anything else. Characters that do this often get on the nerves of their peers.

When the nickname is badass sounding (i.e like a Red Baron), it's also a way of showing off his high ego. Young characters with Chuunibyou usually are subject of this trope, getting a better (nick)name than the real one made by themselves. See also Do Not Call Me "Paul" when they insist on being called by the nickname. Also That Man Is Dead when they outright change their names.

Contrast Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep", where the other characters already call him by his nickname despite him not asking them too. Compare Insistent Terminology. See also, Accidental Misnaming and Malicious Misnaming. Compare Meaningful Rename which is usually much more significant. Compare and contrast Code Name and Screen Name, as those are often adopted to keep people from knowing who the person in question really is. This can be considered a Sub-Trope of Forced Meme.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish, Kumiko insists on being called Josee when Tsuneo decides to work as her caretaker. The name is taken from a character of Josee's favorite writer, Francoise Sagan.
  • In Love Live! Sunshine!!, Chuunibyou Yoshiko Tsushima often embraces a made-up persona as a fallen angel, and insists that people call her "Yohane" (she usually corrects people if they ever call her Yoshiko). She even goes so far as to cross out her real name in her introduction and replace it as such.
  • In Oreimo, "Kuroneko" is this, wearing Gothic Lolita dresses, threatening people with curses, and enjoying shows because they're hard to understand. It's a while before the audience even learns what her real name is.
  • In Ranma ˝, Tatewaki Kuno introduces himself to Ranma and states "My peers call me the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High"
    Student 1: We call him the Blue Thunder?
    Student 2: News to me...
  • Spy X Family: After obtaining a Steller Star for the first time, in imitation of Loid's own codename, Anya refers to herself as "Starlight Anya".
  • Okabe from Steins;Gate often refers to himself as Houoin Kyoma the Mad Scientist. He frequently insists the other characters call him Houoin when they call him by his real name, even making Kurisu cry in one instance because of this.
  • Unlike the rest of the cast of Wasteful Days of High School Girls, Utako "Hime" Nakamura's nickname was not given to her by Tanaka, but it's how Tanaka refers to her after she told her that this was her name. No one but Tanaka calls her that, and she's touched to the core when Tanaka calls her "Hime" once again.
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5, wannabe Intrepid Reporter Mika Masuko insists on being referred to as "Masukomi-ka", a play on "mass communication", but nobody else ever calls her that.

    Comic Books 
  • In Young Justice, Klarion briefly inserted a musical sting into his name, refusing to offer his help until addressed appropriately.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • One mini-arc has Calvin declare that from now on, he is to be referred to as Calvin the Bold:
      Calvin: I have an announcement. As of today, I will no longer respond to the name "Calvin". From now on, I wish to be addressed as "Calvin the Bold".
      Calvin's Mom: Calvin the Bold?
      Calvin: Right. That's my new name for the rest of my life.
      Calvin's Mom: How about Calvin the Deranged?
      Calvin: Also, Calvin the Bold will begin referring to himself in the third person.
      • He then tries this at school:
        Ms. Wormwood: Calvin, will you do the next problem, please? Calvin?
        Calvin: Who??
        Ms. Wormwood: YOU!
        Calvin: Calvin the Bold demands that he be addressed by his full title for any response.
        Principal: Back again, hmm, Calvin?
        Calvin: Who?
      • The final strip is his dad finding the best way to deal with it.
        Calvin's Dad: Calvin the Bold!
        Calvin: Yes?
        Calvin's Dad: Kneel.
        Calvin: Huh?? What? Kneel?
        Calvin's Dad: By the finite patience vested in me, I hereby dub thee "Mud". You may rise.
        Calvin: My name is MUD?!
        Calvin: Mr. Subtlety drives home another point.
    • In another strip, he asks his mom to start introducing him to people as "Calvin, Boy of DESTINY!", with a dramatic pause after "boy" and emphasis on the first syllable of "destiny"; he wishes they had a pair of cymbals to crash after it, while his mom says she's going to stop introducing him entirely. As in the earlier "Calvin the Bold" story, he carries this over to his schoolwork, to Miss Wormwood's disdain; she tells him to stop signing his work as "Calvin, Boy of Destiny" and that his time would be better spent studying than tweaking the design of his seal.

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: After hearing about Kami, Guru decides he want people to call him "Super Kami Guru". Nail chooses to just call him Guru, which he allows. In-universe, Guru is the only one to call himself "Super Kami Guru".
  • In Starlight Is For Always, Pizzazz's pompous daughter Desiree likes calling herself "Desire".
  • In What Is Written In Blood, Katsuo Rin insists upon being called Ghost. Angel takes this a step further, considering we never find out her real name.

    Film - Animated 
  • Ugly Dog from UglyDolls insists the nickname of his musical side-persona is "Slick Dog", despite the fact he's the only one to call himself that.
    Ugly Dog: Folks call me Ugly Dog...
    Wage: Because that's his name.
    Ugly Dog: ...But those close to me call me "Slick Dog"!
    Wage: Which is not his name.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Attack the Block, the two little boys are shown trying to join in with the older boys in their gang, and demand to be called Mayhem and Probs. The older boys at first don't take them seriously and tell them to run along home, but after one of the older boys, Biggz, gets trapped in a dumpster by an alien, and the little boys rescue him by spraying the alien with petrol and setting it on fire, Biggz starts calling them by their nicknames.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). In his introductory scene when facing off with Korath, Peter Quill calls himself Star Lord, only to find no-one's heard of him. Later we find out that nobody else uses the name apart from him; Dey keeps calling him Star Prince or something similar. It's actually in fact a nickname his mother used to call him. Fortunately Quill runs into Korath again who, only knowing Quill from their previous encounter, calls him Star Lord which pleases Quill immensely. The anger in the villain's tone as he snarls the name at the sight of him makes it all the better.
  • Pitch Perfect and its sequels has the character Fat Amy. She calls herself this so people wouldn't be able to do it behind her back, but there's more to it- as she later reveals, her real name is Patricia, making "Amy" just as much a nickname as the "Fat" part is.
  • The eponymous Lady Bird's real name is Christine McPherson but insists people call her the former.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow:
    • When Thea Queen joins Team Arrow at the end of Season 3, she wants to be called Red Arrow, only to find her brother Oliver has already told everyone to use her childhood nickname of Speedy. She eventually comes to like the name and refuses the offer of Cisco from Team Flash to think up a better one.
      Thea: Oh! I thought I told you guys to call me Red Arrow.
      Diggle: A red arrow just means you can't make a left turn.
    • Oliver has better luck getting people to stop calling him "The Hood" in favor of "The Arrow". In this case he gives the new name to Quentin Lance and it apparently filters through the police (and later the media) from him. Villains he's already acquainted with from Season One still tend to refer to him as The Hood though. Next time Oliver decides to change his moniker (posing as a new vigilante called "Green Arrow") he introduces himself to the entire city via a Do Not Adjust Your Set speech so they'll all get it right.
  • While training to be an astronaut in The Big Bang Theory, Howard wants to get a cool astronaut nickname, and settles on Rocket Man. He plans to have Raj call him during a conference call to NASA, with the Elton John song "Rocket Man" as the ringtone. Unfortunately, Howard's mother picks that time to call Howard to come eat his Froot Loops, and thus Howard's nickname becomes Froot Loops.
  • Caméra Café: Being a salesman, Paolo frequently introduces himself as "a man called Contract" but no one has ever called him "contract".
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Daryl, the owner of a law practice is 1/8 Native American and damn proud of it. When title character Rebecca joins the practice, Daryl mentions that people around the office call him "Chief". She innocently asks him who calls him that to which he replies that no one actually does and he'd really appreciate if she would get the ball rolling on that.
  • Doctor Who: In "Fugitive of the Judoon", Conspiracy Theorist barista Allan likes to prefix his name with "All Ears", but no one else is willing to go along with it.
  • In an episode of Frasier which was a partial reunion of the Cheers cast, a retiring Cliff Clavin laments to Frasier that nobody wished him well; no "See ya, Big Shooter", no "Best of luck, Big Shooter". At Frasier's baffled look, Cliff sheepishly admits, "It's a nickname I once gave myself."
  • Friends:
    • Joey comes up with a few nicknames for himself and Chandler but no one uses them.
      Joey: It's like the end of an era! No more J-Man and Channy!
      Chandler: Okay, I gotta ask, who calls us that?!
    • Chandler refers to himself as the Chan Chan Man but it doesn't catch on.
    • Ross comes up with the nickname Ross-A-Tron for himself but the rest of the gang hated it.
      Ross: Hey, y'know what nickname never caught on? The Ross-A-Tron! (Monica shakes her head in disgust.)
  • This trope is one the cardinal rules of The Jim Rome Show: Never "gloss" yourself. One of the sure-fire ways for a caller to get run is to give themselves a nickname that has not already been applied to them by Rome or other callers. This is as true on the TV version begun in 2018 as on his 25-year-old radio show.
  • Greg Sherman on Leverage insists that everyone calls him The Mako. Not only is it heavily implied that he's the one that started it, but a Running Gag through out the episode is various characters mixing it up with different fish. One FBI agent even lampshades it:
    "I hate guys who give themselves a nickname."
  • Little Britain had Denise DeVere, who insisted that everyone call her "Bubbles" because "everyone does, darling!" Of course, no one actually does; mostly she ends up going by Ms. DeVere whether she likes it or not.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Max, the second banana to Kinga Forrester, wishes to be known as "TV's Son of TV's Frank". Jonah's the only person who ever calls him that.
  • In Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, the titular character, hoping to get a nickname, like his friends, Cookie and Mose, spends an entire episode trying to make a nickname for himself. At first, he tries to be called Smash (because he smashes into lockers), then later, he tries riding on a moped in the hopes of being called Big Man. He does get a nickname in the end when he crashes the moped into a display board with a giant bee decoration, leading to his new nickname, Big Bee, which, incidentally, is his last name (Bigby).
  • In Red Dwarf, Rimmer attempts several times to attract a cool nickname, without success. In "Kryten", he claims that his nickname at school was "Ace"; Lister retorts that he doesn't believe anyone called Rimmer "Ace" unless they followed it with "hole". He's not happy to meet his Alternate Self from another timeline who is called 'Ace' Rimmer, because in his case he actually earned it.
  • On Seinfeld, George tries to get the nickname T-Bone at work by eating a T-bone steak during a meeting. Unfortunately, the conversation turns to the gorilla Koko, and that becomes George's new nickname.
  • Spin City: Paul refers to himself as "Big Daddy". Mike tells him that no matter how hard he tries, no one's ever going to call him that.
  • A boxing commentator on Sports Night insists on being called "Cut Man" - and blithely refuses to respond to anything else at any time.
  • Ted Lasso: While conversing with manager Jose Mourinho over the phone, Ted comments on Mourinho's nickname, "The Special One", asking how he got it. Mourinho says he gave it to himself. Lasso is impressed, and comments that in elementary school he tried to get his classmates to call him "Turbo". At the end of the call, Mourinho obliges Ted by calling him "Turbo".
  • Xena: Warrior Princess - Joxer calls himself "Joxer the Mighty" when he's really more just a Heroic Wannabe.

  • They Might Be Giants: "Doctor Worm" is not a real doctor, but he is a real worm, and in the bridge he hopes "Someday, somebody else besides me/Will call me by my stage name".

  • Discussed on The Ricky Gervais Show, when a fan asks them if they were ever given any cruel nicknames in school. Stephen Merchant mentions that he always wanted a nickname, and at one point tried to give himself one by telling his friend that everyone at school is calling him Spud, thinking it sounded like a tough gang member. It never caught on. Karl Pilkington, on the other hand, wanted to be completely renamed Brett, and his parents actually went along with it, but stopped because Karl kept forgetting that he was Brett.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: In the toon "79 Seconds Left", Strong Bad announces that he wishes to be known as "The Leg" (pronounced like "Ledge", short for "The Legend") from now on. It doesn't catch on. This name is classic Strong Bad, a poorly-thought-out attempt to seem awesome with obvious flaws.
    Strong Bad: (writing on a composition book) This book belongs to... The Ledge... Aw, crap! Homestar was right. This just spells "leg".
  • After two packs fight in Wolf Song: The Movie, Cobalt boasts about his side winning with this:
    Cobalt: "Did you see me? Did you see me in that fight? They call me 'the Grim Reaper' for a reason!"
    Off-Screen: "Nobody calls you that."
    Cobalt: "Shut up! Don't criticise me in front of them!"
  • In The Champions: Thomas Muller insists on being called Raumdeuter, which means Space Interpreter or Space Investigator.
  • CliffSide: Waylon frequently refers to himself as Two-Bit Jerry in an effort to sound badass. The only person to call him by his given nickname is Cordie, who became his first and only admirer when he stood up for her against a pterodactyl.

    Web Original 
  • In NFL Quarterbacks On Facebook there are a couple in-universe examples.
    • Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer calls himself Hoyer the Destroyer.
    • St. Louis Rams QB Austin Davis calls himself Tossin' Austin Davis.
  • In the Red Panda Adventures episode "The World Next Door", Harry Kelly, the youngest of the Red Panda's agents, claims the mystery man calls him "Eagle Eyes Kelly" because of his skills as a lookout. When asked if that's really true, Harry sheepishly admits it isn't. However, the adult agents humor the kid and the name ends up sticking over the course of the series. Towards the end of the series, when Harry himself is an adult, it even becomes half of his own superhero name, the Black Eagle.

    Western Animation 
  • Bojack Horseman: High school student Pete says that everyone calls him "Pete/Repeat" because of his Verbal Tic of repeating himself. Except no one does, and his verbal tic is obviously a Forced Meme as he frequently doesn't repeat himself, and even asks himself if he's repeated something.
  • Family Guy: In one episode, Peter calls himself "Electric Man" after discovering his new pajamas allows him to shock everyone with static.
  • In Gravity Falls, instead of wearing his usual news reporter attire, Toby Determined sports a punk rocker look during Weirdmageddon and insists on being referred to as "Bodacious T." Wendy instantly shoots down that notion, saying, "no one will ever call you that." After the events of Weirdmageddon, news reporter Shandra Jimenez actually refers to Toby as Bodacious T. during a televised news report.
  • LEGO City Adventures: Totally Radical Police Chief Wheeler is constantly trying to convince his officers to call him "Wheely." He even suggests someone name their daughter Wheely in his honor. They typically stick with "Chief," to his disappointment.
  • One episode of Regular Show revoled around Rigby legally changing his name to Trash Boat, because he thought it made him seem cooler. Not only does it not work, it almost gets him killed by time-travellers.
  • In Total Drama Action, Izzy decides she'll be called Kaleidoscope or E-Scope for short and insists everyone refer to her as such, even going so far as to not respond unless called by that name. Around the same time, Ezekiel starts referring to himself as "The Zeke".

    Real Life 
  • Fan convention attendees may choose their badge name to be different to their real name, usually something appropriate to what they plan on wearing/doing at the con. If their hall costume, masquerade entry, or participation in con events is memorable enough, they may become known to most of the membership by their badge name. They then usually retain the badge name at subsequent attendances, even if it has nothing to do with anything they're wearing/doing, and eventually become Only Known by Their Nickname.