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Small Name, Big Ego

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The Streetest Fighter... in his head.

Rhomann Dey: Peter Jason Quill. He's also known as "Star-Lord."
Garthan Saal: Who calls him that?
Rhomann Dey: Himself, mostly.

A (usually male) character with a comically over-inflated image of himself. He thinks he's smarter than everyone else, thinks he's a real ladies' man, thinks he's cool, thinks it's all about him, but both his fellow characters and the audience know that it's all in his mind.

Often occurs in conjunction with a Show Within a Show. If the TV Series runs long enough, the writers usually devote one episode to a Big Ego, Hidden Depths examination of the character.

Expect this guy to be a victim of Pride. Said characters often insult or look down on those who have far more to be proud of and who generally flaunt it less. When they are faced with such characters, whether in a competition or in a comparison of abilities, it tends to be humiliating, and might even be a much needed reality check. Also, don't expect these characters to handle criticism (either of them or of the abilities that they're egotistical about) very well.


If they are the main character on a show, we're dealing with a species of Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist. If the writers, not the character (though he can fit this trope, underscoring his unpopularity) think the character is amazing, we have the Creator's Pet.

If the character is a nerd and unaware of it, he's an Extraverted Nerd. If he makes a big deal of how heroic and badass he is, but runs at the first sign of real danger, he's a Miles Gloriosus. If he claims to be a genius, but is incredibly dim or just misinformed, he's the Know-Nothing Know-It-All. If he thinks he's a brilliant artist but is actually dire, he's Giftedly Bad. If he claims to kick ass only to get his own ass constantly kicked, he's a Boisterous Weakling. Contrast Insufferable Genius (where he actually has the skill to back himself up) or Almighty Janitor. Every Year They Fizzle Out and Fake Ultimate Hero, meanwhile, are when everyone else are the ones with a high opinion about the person in question. Often a Large Ham. In more serious works, he will often be the victim of Break the Haughty. The Smug Snake could be considered a villainous variation, and the Narcissist is this taken to the extreme. Might be a Paper Tiger or even a Dirty Coward.


The opposite of this trope is Heroic Self-Deprecation, where the hero actually does have many notable achievements, but doesn't believe or refuses to believe that he is loved by many, and mostly refers to himself in a negative manner. Also contrast Humble Hero, who achieved a lot, but is not nearly that big about it.

Contrast with the Jaded Washout, who knows only too well how pathetic he is. Not to be confused with the other kind of ego. Obviously, given that this is a very controversial trope, No Real Life Examples, Please!

Example subpages

    Comic Strips 
  • Even before he Took a Level in Dumbass, Roger Fox of FoxTrot had a seriously over-inflated self-image. Though obviously out of shape and clumsy, he felt that he was still in perfect health and capable of playing football with his older son; he also fancies himself a capable chess player, when he STILL loses games where he has 15 Queens and the computer has 15 Pawns. Later strips exaggerate this to the point where even his younger son kicks his tail in golf.
  • Rat from Pearls Before Swine has a very high opinion of himself and a low opinion of everyone else. While Pig follows this rather blindly, the others don't.
  • Earl Slackmozer from Knights of the Dinner Table, who thinks having had modules published by Hard 8 makes him the greatest gamemaster in Muncie. His condescension towards to BA is astounding.
  • Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes has a massively inflated opinion of himself (at one point calling himself the "acme of evolution"), thinks he deserves enormous praise just for doing mundane tasks like answering a math problem correctly (by accident), and is a huge Attention Whore on top of that. Keep in mind, this is coming from a six-year old who doesn't know what six plus five is and still thinks of himself as a super genius. Much humour arises from the fact nobody puts up with Calvin's ego.
    "Calvin the Bold. All stand up and hail / his humbleness now; may his wisdom prevail!" - Calvin "humbly" introducing himself at their club meetings.

Alternative Title(s): The Ted Baxter, Legend In His Own Mind


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