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Tom the Dark Lord

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George the Tyrannical and Justin the Bloodthirsty were busy.

"Yes, that's right, the most evil wizard of all time... Tom."
RiffTrax on the Trope Namer, Tom "Voldemort" Riddle of Harry Potter infamy

When a character that's evil doesn't have a particularly evil-sounding name. While generally Played for Laughs, this can also be used to chilling effect in combination with tropes such as From Nobody to Nightmare and/or Paranoia Fuel. Tom the Dark Lord sometimes goes hand in hand with Embarrassing First Name, but not always. Bonus points if it manages to be meaningful or ironic. Contrast with Names to Run Away from Really Fast, which is about evil people with Obviously Evil names. Also contrast Louis Cypher, which are names that indicate someone is a/the devil; these may include a normal first name (especially a variant of Lou/Lucy or Nick) but overall are not normal names because they're too much of a pun.

This is for the most part, a trope exclusive to fantastic settings. In a work set in a realistic human society, the bad guy will have a normal human name without intent of this trope being played as opposed to antagonists such as an Evil Sorcerer or Eldritch Abomination whom you wouldn't expect to be named Alex or Sam.

A common justification of this trope is that the villain used to be a regular human in the past. In this case they may end up picking a new name, as the Trope Namer did in Harry Potter. See also, Demon of Human Origin.

Subtrope of Ominous Mundanity. See also Fluffy the Terrible, which is about vicious animals and beasts with cutesy names. Compare Special Person, Normal Name. Not to be confused with Ron the Death Eater, although that can lead to this in fan works.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan's Isayama seems to be rather fond of these as the villains of each arc continue have more and more mundane names. The living legend known to have killed slaughtered over a hundred Military Policemen, the man who taught Levi how to fight, and the leader of the Anti-Human Suppression Squad goes by Kenny. His boss, the ruler of humanity and the man responsible for their enslavement within the walls is named Rod. The mastermind behind the collapse of the walls, Annie, Bertholt, and Reiner's superior, and the man plotting extinction of everyone within the walls is called Zeke. The final enemy that kickstarts the Rumbling? Eren. However, this is likely purposely done to humanize these characters, as their backgrounds show that they are not quite the monsters they appear to be.
  • Bastard!! (1988) has a Big Bad named Dark Schneider. There's also a male Dark Priest who went by the name Abigail.
  • Beastars has a sociopathic villain named "Melon", as in the fruit. He is introduced as an ivory trader in a world where animals are intelligent who lures his elephant victims in by working as a therapist before brutally murdering his victims, and he later takes over the lion yakuza and works to drive carnivores into a meat loving frenzy, which causes serious problems for a society where carnivores and herbivores can barely coexist at all. His mother claims that she named him this because he is a hybrid and melons have traits of both fruits and vegetables, but he realized she was lying and really named him this because of her desire to eat him, so he killed her remorselessly before she could do so.
  • In Code Geass, the Big Bad of the show was The Emperor of Britannia. His name was never mentioned in the first season, but we had met plenty of his children, who had cool and exotic names, mostly derived from French, Latin, and German. Then the second season rolled around, and in the second episode, we finally found the Emperor's name: the very normal Charles. Curiously, this doubles as Names to Run Away from Really Fast, since "Charles the Great" is another name for the Frankish emperor better known as Charlemagne.
  • Adam, known by his more feared nickname "the Millennium Earl" in D.Gray-Man.
  • Many villains from Dragon Ball have funny Punny Names, mostly after food.
    • Lampshaded by Lunch, when we learn about the Great Demon King named Piccolo (named after the small flute). We later learn that it's Namekian for "another world", so he was the "Great Demon King From Another World", which implies that he subconsciously was aware of his extraterrestrial origin even without realizing it.
    • The American fans know the villain who destroyed Planet Vegeta as Frieza. It's not this trope, unless you know that's just his name in the English dub. In the Japanese dub, he's mainly known as "Freeza" or "Freezer" (the latter also in German and French). It still sounds evil, but the meaning of his name is just laughable.
    • The strongest villain of the manga is Majin Buu, named after the phrase Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo. (Bibidi and Babidi are two related characters, namely his former masters)
    • The first of the three main villains in Dragon Ball GT is named Baby. He is not as pathetic as he sounds.
  • In EDENS ZERO, the deceased Demon King and ruler of the Sakura Cosmos, feared across space as a powerful Gravity Master, and looks like a robotic skeletal Evil Overlord, was graced with the awe-inspiring name of...Ziggy. This might be a hint of his true nature, given how Shiki always saw him as a kindly grandfather figure before his passing.
  • The One-Shot Villain of Elfen Lied is simply named "Tomoo".
  • The Big Bad of Fullmetal Alchemist is simply named "Father". That name manages to feel threatening since Father is the main attribute of the christian God, and Father is trying to become a god.
  • From JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run, President Valentine is a nice sinister name for a Big Bad... but his first name? Funny.
  • One Piece:
    • The most dangerous operative in history of CP9, who leads the other agents in the front lines, is called Rob Lucci. Despite having a name less intimidating than his superior's in Enies Lobby (Spandam), he is the greatest threat in the arc and nearly defeats Luffy.
    • One of Emperor Kaido's three top henchmen, the Lead Performers, a man so destructive his nickname is "The Drought" for how he destroys whole lands, and who had the highest bounty in the series at that point at one billion berries. His name? Jack. Granted, it's part of a Theme Naming with his fellow Calamities, Queen and King, all of whom are named after card values (just like Kaido's ally Joker, aka Donquixote Doflamingo), but this wasn't obvious at the time of Jack's introduction.
    • Big Mom, one of the Four Emperors of the Sea, a queen whose hands are drenched in blood, including the killing of her own family when they fail her, a gigantic powerhouse with an insatiable appetite who was killing Giants at the age of five. Her name: Charlotte Linlin (Linlin Charlotte in western order).
    • Whitebeard, the World's Strongest Man and pirate who was second only to Gol D. Roger, was named Edward Newgate.
  • In Outlaw Star we have secondary antagonists, outlaw leaders feared galaxy-wide, Ron and Harry MacDougal. While retroactively hilarious, the names do fit with the series' Space Western setting.
  • One of the deadliest villains in Ranma ˝, a sadistic young man capable of transforming into a monster whose component parts include a yeti and an ox, had the unfortunate name of Pantyhose Taro. Getting that name changed is his primary motivation (his village's traditions prevent him from just doing it himself). While he feels that anything would be better, he fancies the name "Awesome Taro".
  • This one seems to take the cake - in the third season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, it's revealed that the main protagonist - Jaden Yuki - is the Supreme King. While this may have some meaning to Hebrew fans of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime franchise, as "Jaden" is Hebrew for "God has heard," it doesn't make this any less hilarious.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers: The true name of Kang the Conqueror (and all his varied identities), the most dangerous time traveler in the Marvel universe? Nathaniel Richards. "Nate" to his friends, if he had any. Sometimes he also goes by the equally unassuming alias of "Victor Timely".
  • According to Superman in a comic set in the Batman Beyond universe, "Zod" is a common Kryptonian name, likening it to "Bob". Bruce Wayne retorted villains are villains, no matter what their names are.
  • The Villain Protagonist of Evil Ernie. Full name Ernest Fairchild, he was originally an abused boy with psychic powers who was later resurrected as an undead Ax-Crazy serial killer by Lady Death.
  • Given its penchant for blacker than black humor, it's not surprising that Judge Dredd has a lot of these: A Zombie Apocalypse triggering undead necromancer named "Soppi Walters" (though he prefers "Sabbat the Necromagus"); a psychotic Serial Killer named "Philip Janet Maybe", and an undead demonic Hanging Judge who calls himself Judge Death but is in fact named Sidney.
  • In the Norwegian comic The Knights of Dor, the main villain and latest reincarnation of the setting's Sorcerous Overlord Greater-Scope Villain, a dragon from the underworld, is named Incense Overall, a fairly mundane name in-universe. In this case, the mundaneness is weaponized, as it lets him pose as an average professor of history long enough to steal a dangerous artifact from one of the heroes.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The real name of the Red Skull, archnemesis of Captain America, is Johann Schmidt, the German equivalent to "John Smith". Zig-zagged with his equally psychopathic daughter Sinthea, whose name has an unconventional spelling, but is pronounced like the much more common "Cynthia", which may be why she often goes by "Sin" instead.
  • In the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic comic's 6th issue, the leader of the Nightmare forces identifies himself as Shadowfright. This doesn't stop his subordinate from calling him by what's apparently his real name: Larry.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) evil warlock Naugus turns out to be going by his last name. His first name is Walter, which wouldn't be too bad if not for the fact that the heroes and other villains also found out that his sister affectionately calls him Wally. Now everyone refers to him as Wally just because they know it pisses him off.
  • In the original V for Vendetta comics, Adam Susan, leader of the fascist regime, definitely counts.
  • W.I.T.C.H. has a few examples: Cedric, Thomas Vandom, Mark Zibosky, Jonathan Ludmoore, Edward Folkner, Tecla Ibsen, and Takeda (first name unknown). Justified for most of them, as they're humans from Earth and not trying to conquer the world ( Thomas Vandom and Mark Zibosky don't even know about magic, respectively being Will's father who is trying to make a quick buck and an extortionist who got on the Guardians' bad side), but Cedric is a Shapeshifting snake man, and Ludmoore comes from another world. The cartoon also adds Miranda, a Shapeshifting giant spider and Cedric's Bastard Understudy.

    Fan Works 
  • In fanon (or whatever), Ron the Death Eater and anyone else with an ordinary name who gets demonized.
  • A Brief History of Equestria: The Mongrellian Horde was founded by a Genghis Khan Expy named Fluffy.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • The original example, Tom Riddle, is present.
    • The fic has Magneto, who for all that he's (mostly) reformed, still casts a very long shadow over good guys and bad guys alike. His real name, which he usually uses, is Erik.
    • Harry invokes this against the omnicidal Elder Wyrm, by asking for his name, getting something suitably ominous, and dubbing him 'Dave' instead.
  • Ignited Spark: "Nine" doesn't sound like a very intimidating for the leader of a rising villain organization bent on destroying society. He makes up for it by being utterly terrfying.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series Marik's psychopathic evil personality is named "Melvin." Yami Bakura is "Florence".
  • In The Queen Who Fell To Earth, a magical terrorist takes on the name Carlos the Gerbil.
  • Lampshaded in The Rise of Darth Vulcan. The titular Darth Vulcan is actually named Ted, but figured that he wouldn't be taken seriously if he introduced himself as "the Dread Sorcerer Ted", hence the alias.
  • In the Star Wars/Mass Effect/Borderlands/Halo crossover Origins, the villain (for some of the story anyway) is a super-powered Siren. Her acolytes fall under Aerith and Bob (mainly the "Aerith" part). Other Sirens are named from canon: Maya, Lilith, Angel. Her name is...Sarah. She doesn't take this well when her underlings laugh at the Special Person, Normal Name, though later on it's revealed that "Sarah" is simply the closest convenient translation of Eridian language for her given title, the "Selfless Servant of the Mantle".
  • In The Fairly OddParents! fanfiction, Never Had a Friend Like Me, the heroes get to face Bob the boil and Eldritch Abomination
  • In Applied Cultural Anthropology, Diary Tom briefly considers teaching people to fear Dark Lord Tom.
  • In The Bridge it's zig-zagged. Godzilla Junior is The Dreaded to his enemies whom often refer to him as just "Godzilla". But to his allies and himself, the King of the Monsters and terror to his enemies is just "Junior". Thankfully he turns out to just be a Horrifying Hero.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has the infamous criminal 20 Gyarados Bill, who gained his infamy for razing coastal cities to the ground with said serpents and killing a lot of people with them.
  • Bring Me to Life: In chapter 9, Buffy lampshades how silly Skip's name is for a villain:
    Buffy: Out of all the cool villain names out there, one of them drew the short straw and got Skip?
  • RWBY fanfic Vale's Underground: While Meaningful Name is in play as the writer admits, these two examples are pretty unremarkable at first glance.
    • The story changes Cinder Fall's name to make "Cinder" an alias. In this story, Cinder is a ruthless and sadistic mob boss who is feared throughout Vale. Her name alone is enough to strike fear into people's hearts. Well, her alias at least. She has taken great precautions to make sure no one knows what her real name is to cover her tracks. Her real name? Kenna Carter. She isn't ashamed of the name, but she knows it's dangerous for her to make it known.
    • Salem also counts. "Salem" is an alias and she is human in this story. Her real name is Emily Carter. She was Cinder's mother and predecessor as a mob boss. She was ruthless and taught Cinder everything she needed to know to be a mobster. When she recognized that Cinder was a sadistic child, she decided to test it by letting her kill her own father. She also molested her daughter, something that still angers Cinder.
  • Played for Laughs in the Farscape fan fiction The Naming of Moya's Child when, while the crew brainstorms names for Moya’s gunship-Leviathan hybrid child, Crichton's sarcastic suggestion of naming it “Bob” is chosen by Pilot and Moya, and the rest of the crew proclaim the name to be incredible in spite of Crichton’s futile protests on naming the gunship that could have unimaginable consequences on the rest of the galaxy Bob.
  • In Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily, Specter has an unstable Split Personality (later to revealed that it's a lightning bolt that accidentally struck Specter down and fused with him) that casts electricity called "Easter". Originally said personality was going to call themselves "Earth-as-Specter" before Paul London suggests the easier "Easter" since it contains the first letters for the first name and that they are currently in the 400 Rabbits Car, and Easter is associated with rabbits.
  • Beyond the Outer Gates Lies... A high school library? the "heroes" who call themselves Jeanne d'Arc and Heracles are actually name Evelyn White and Dean Bakersfield, respectively.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Absolutely Anything: The Supreme Council of Intergalactic Beings travels the universe, destroying any species that fails to pass their convulted and morally ambiguous Secret Test of Character. The four aliens sitting on the council are named Kylie, Sharon, Maureen, and Janet. This is subverted later in the movie, though, when it turns out that a mischevious underling tampered with their translation device, and the leader of the council says that his actual title is the Death-Dealing Darkness-Bringer.
  • It comes up all of once, but the eponymous Riddick from The Chronicles of Riddick is named Richard.
  • Come Play: The monster of the movie calls itself Larry. While it claims to be misunderstood, it considers stalking and scaring a young boy in his own home acceptable.
  • Francis from Deadpool. He's so ashamed of the name he changed it to Ajax and calling him Francis is one of Wade's preferred methods of annoying him.
  • In The Matrix, the Agents all have extremely common names like Brown and Smith, suiting their role as The Men in Black. The good guys, on the other hand, have Faux Symbolism handles like Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, etc.
  • Freddy Krueger from the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Although the name is quite harsh-sounding, it's still a name that sounds too normal for a demon who can enter and kill people in their dreams. Given that he used to be an ordinary human being, it's rather justified.
  • The Friday the 13th films (mostly) feature an undead killer named Jason Voorhees (though like Freddy above, he used to be human... probably).
  • The Halloween series had Michael Myers, who has a human body but acts nothing like one. This one became even more of an example after the comedian Mike Myers became famous in the '90s.
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, where the evil kung fu master changes his name from 'Master Pain' to 'Betty'.
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Sherriff of Nottingham is Named by the Adaptation as "George".
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights, parodying the above, gives the Sheriff of Rottingham an Embarrassing First Name.
    Abbot: Mervin? Your name is Mervin?
  • Mr. Tinkles in Cats & Dogs.
  • Fright Night (1985) features a terrifying vampire named Jerry.
  • In V for Vendetta, the Big Bad's surname was changed from "Susan" to "Sutler" to, among other reasons, avert this.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Sith have some very Obviously Evil names like Maul, Sidious, Tyrannus, and Vader. They take these names upon becoming Sith, and their original names aren't always quite as frightening. Darth Sidious and Darth Vader were originally named Sheev and Anakin respectively, which are relatively ordinary names for the Star Wars universe.
  • The warlord that Max runs afoul of in Mad Max: Fury Road is called Immortan Joe and his real name is Joseph Moore (which is as about as common a name as you can get). Doesn't stop him from being one of the most brutal and nastiest villains in the franchise (and that is saying something).
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The dreaded, immortal, lovelorn, tentacle-faced, murderous lord of the ocean's dead is named Davy Jones. In real-life mythology, the name's etymology is unknown- it may be a corruption of "the Devil Jonah", or derived from a Welsh sea god called Dewi. In-universe, it just happens to be his name. For another example, Davy's sadistic bo'sun is named Jimmy Legs. And the fourth movie brings in Blackbeard, real name Edward Teach. Though it should be noted that Blackbeard was a real person, and Edward Teach was his name.
  • Swordsman And Enchantress: In the prequel, Swordsman At Large, the protagonists are terrorized by a fearsome bandit warlord called... the "Happy King".
  • In The Cabin in the Woods, a number of terrifying monsters could be used to kill the teens, depending on which artifact in the basement they used, and the control team even had a betting pool on which one it would be. Among the entries who had typical horror movie monster names, one was simply named Kevin, perhaps to include an element of Nothing Is Scarier. When pressed about Kevin at a con, Joss Whedon had to improvise a description, and described him as a "sweet, harmless-looking guy who could exsanguinate you in seconds." Some have taken this as a reference to We Need to Talk About Kevin.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek Into Darkness, several attacks on Starfleet facilities are launched by a rogue Section 31 officer by the name of John Harrison, including an attempted Decapitation Strike against Starfleet's leadership. Captain Kirk is ordered to track him down and kill him. The Reveal midway into the film is that "John Harrison" is actually an alias for Khan Noonien Singh, and that Kirk's boss, Admiral Marcus, is trying to play them both against each other as part of a plot to start a war with the Klingon Empire.
    • Star Trek Beyond plays with the trope, with Krall's original name being revealed as Balthazar Edison. While Balthazar is an unusual name, it's not unheard of in the western world, being the name of one of the Three Wise Men.
  • The Dark Tower (2017): Despite being haunted by visions of his utterly evil nature, Jake can't help but laugh when told that the Man in Black's name is the rather ordinary "Walter".
  • Jonathan Doe in Se7en is a psychotic Theme Serial Killer. Also an Invoked Trope, since it's pretty clearly a fake name adopted by said killer, who deliberately erased his entire background to become an enigma.
  • The Strangers of Dark City all go by names involving Mr. and a simple everyday word, e.g. Mr. Hand, Mr. Quick, Mr. Book. It comes from them attempting to pick ordinary, mundane "human" names, but misunderstanding exactly what that meant.
  • The Lost City: The sociopathic villain's name is Abigail, and The Dragon, a bald, mustached brute, is named Julian. In both cases, this gets lampshaded.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail has an ominous enchanter in a ram's skull helmet, who is introduced raining explosions down from a mountain. When asked his name, he replies "There are some who call me... 'Tim'."
  • The demon from the Paranormal Activity series is called "Toby" by Robbie and Kristi, though justified given that they're childrennote  being manipulated by it. However, the demon's real name is unknown (assuming it even has a name).
  • The Big Bad of Morbius, a Superhero Horror about vampires, is actually named Lucien, which is a pretty good name for a vampire. However his Affectionate Nickname, which everybody uses throughout the entire film except for a few scenes, is Milo.

    Folklore 
  • In Nautical Folklore, there is an entity who is said to harvest the souls of sailors who drowned in the middle of the sea, his name? Davy Jones.
  • In Christian mythos, there are Fallen Angels with names like: Belphagor, Azazel, Kokabiel, Behemoth, Lucifer, Leviathan, and Phoenix. And then there's Amy.

    Literature 

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In Portal Through Time, despite his name inspiring incredulous ridicule from Victor, vampire Mook Hiram Gigglesworth is a tough fighter who kills and drains quite a few people in just three days of being undead.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Trope Namer is Voldemort, whose real name is Tom Marvolo Riddle (of which "I am Lord Voldemort" is an anagram). He hates his real name, partly because it's common (something his ego can't tolerate — even as a child he reacted negatively to the fact that he shared the name Tom with other people) and partly because it's his Muggle father's name. Dumbledore naturally makes a point of always calling him Tom to his face, while Harry calls him Riddle in their final confrontation.
    • Many of the Death Eaters have very pedestrian-sounding names, like Peter Pettigrew (although everyone calls him "Wormtail"), Barty Crouch Jr. (though his legal name is technically "Bartemius"), Evan Rosier, Wilkes, Avery.
  • The trio of trolls in The Hobbit are named Bert, Bill, and Tom.
  • From Discworld:
  • Randall Flagg from The Stand and The Dark Tower books by Stephen King. Even better, that's not even his real name. His real name is Walter Padick, and has been known as Walter o' Dim in the past. Considering that he is an Evil Sorcerer who boasts terrifying powers, this comes off as Ominous Mundanity.
  • The Saga of Darren Shan:
    • The book has the evil Lord of the Vampaneze, revealed at the end of book 9 to be Steve Leonard. Justified in that book 1, where Steve first appears, was written and published before the rest of the series was planned, and also in that he is usually referred to as Steve Leopard, which is slightly more badass.
    • Desmond Tiny, often called Mr Tiny. Although it's mentioned he prefers "(Mr) Des Tiny"
  • The Empire of the East contains a partial example: the Emperor of All the East is a rather ordinary-looking man named John. It's a partial example because his surname is the rather ominous-sounding "Ominor."
  • In Good Omens:
    • The eleven-year-old Anti-Christ is named Adam. Although that is mostly because he managed to slip under the radar due to a little mixup — the kid whom the forces of Heaven and Hell thought was the Anti-Christ ended up named "Warlock" thanks to some very persuasive satanic nuns.
    • The nun who named Adam was forced to invoke this trope, since she was really trying to give him either a 'satanic' name or an American name (long story), but she was only giving suggestions to the father. After the father vetoed her original ideas, she then suggested Adam.
  • In E. E. "Doc" Smith's Triplanetary, the human characters are menaced by an Abusive Precursor who introduces himself as "Roger". That's not his real name (it's Gharlane), but still it's oddly funny to have the crew of the Boise stumble across him on a random planet and go "Oh, Crap!, it's Roger!".
  • Animorphs:
    • The second Yeerk who controls Jake's brother, and who turns out to be a dangerous Big Bad Wannabe in the final novels, is only ever referred to as "Tom," the name of his host.
    • Even more in line with this is Taylor, who actually prefers using her host's name (a sign that she and the real Taylor have an unusual relationship). Her title, at least when we first meet her, is Sub-Visser Fifty-one.
  • In Muddle Earth the villain, described as being the most evil man there ever was, is called Dr. Cuddles. He's also a pink teddy bear, which explains the name.
  • Gil's All Fright Diner has Tammy, the seventeen-year-old planning to unleash the Old Gods on the universe. She insists that her minion (she only has one) refer to her as "Mistress Lillith."
  • In the Twilight Illustrated Guide:
    • Alistair's back story involves his father making a deal with the demon Asteroth. Ashteroth, however, was actually a vampire, not a demon, and his real name was George. He just likes to mess with people, apparently.
    • A lot of the villains have relatively normal names, like James, the villain of the first novel, and his girlfriend Victoria, from the third. The overall Big Bads are a group called the Volturi, made up of vampires from various times and places, who include members like Jane and Chelsea.
  • In Lovely Assistant by Geoph Essex, there's the sinister man who Jenny calls the "Ice Cream Psycho" (for internal monologue reasons). Turns out his name is...Lawrence. There's also the leader of the racist skinheads who Jenny encounters in the park: Barry. Jenny mercilessly teases him about it once she gains the upper hand.
  • One of the gang leaders in Goldfinger has the name "Billy Ring". He's also got quite a nightmarish appearance. James Bond notes that "he had never seen anyone who was less of a 'Billy'."
  • The Adventures of Tom Rynosseros: The villainous characters, like Bolo May and Dewi Dammo, tend to have fairly innocuous names.
  • Septimus Heap has this several times.
  • The Ender's Game series features a running subplot involving the protagonist's frighteningly intelligent, utterly sociopathic older brother, who eventually manages to become the honest-to-God Ruler of the World through a series of expert political gambits that see him appointed leader of Earth's unified world government. His name? Uh… "Peter Wiggin". Yes, an evil world dictator named "Peter Wiggin".
  • Zig-zagged with The Wandering Inn's Necromancer. His current name is the suitably eldritch-sounding Az'kerash, but it is quickly revealed that his true name before he started his reign of terror was the very normal Perril Chandler… but then again, his (few) friends already shortened Perril as "Peril".
  • The Big Bad of The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign is usually called the White Queen, but she prefers the name Mary Ann. This is because it was given to her by her (former) love Kyousuke. It doubles as a Meaningful Name, being the name of the White Rabbit's servant in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which he called Alice when he mistook her for said servant.
  • The Dark Lord Of Derkholm's name is, in fact, Derk.
  • The Supervillainy Saga is riddled with this as not only is the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass protagonist named Gary but the Lex Luthor analog and the most feared supervillain in the world is a literal example of this trope, being named Tom Terror. Notably, he's quite annoyed not to be called Doctor Terror.
  • In the short story American Goth, Sarah Vowell chooses the Goth name 'Becky' because it is the scariest name she can think of.
  • Kill the Farm Boy, being a spoof, features the Dark Lord Toby (actually a pretty nice guy) and the Dread Necromancer Steve.
  • For someone who is an Expy of Adolf Hitler, Jake Featherston, the Big Bad of Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 canon as eventual dictator of a Fascist Confederacy, does not have a very intimidating name. Some analysts have suggested that this is part of what makes his character so insidious. And it certainly didn't stop the Union from finding ways to refer to him disparagingly. For example, calling him "Jake the Snake".
  • Esther Diamond: Lampshaded in the first book, although it is an alias and the villains real name is more distinctive and intimidating.
    Whoopsy Daisy: We're calling the villain Phil?
    Esther: Yes.
    Whoopsy Daisy: Phil?
    Esther: I'm afraid so.
    Whoopsy Daisy: It seems somehow anticlimactic.
  • Two of the nastiest villains in the Mercy Thompson series include the Ax-Crazy vampire Cory Littleton and the necromancer William Frost.
  • Swan Song: Macklin's right-hand man inside the bunker, and in the chaos and recourse wars that follow, is called "Teddybear" Warner.
  • Main character Alina is surprised to find out that the Darkling, the Big Bad of The Grisha Trilogy, has the real name Aleksander, which is a very common name in Ravka, the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Russia in which the books are set.
  • Sunshine: The Big Bad, a master vampire who's a despicable Humanoid Abomination even by vampire standards, turns out to be named Beauregard. Rae is justifiably terrified of him, but still snarks that it sounds more like the name of a sheepdog.
  • The Locked Tomb: The Emperor of the Nine Houses, also known as God, Necrolord Prime, the King Undying, the Kindly Prince of Death, the Resurrector, etcetera, is revealed in the second book to be named John. His last name is Gaius, which makes up for it a little.
  • The Dunwich Horror is one of H. P. Lovecraft's best known horror stories. It concerns the backwoods town of Dunwich, and the Whateley family, who is creepy even by that town's standards. The main antagonist of the story, a weird goatish Humanoid Abomination who is Younger Than He Looks, and attempts to unleash an elder evil upon the world, is named Wilbur.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A minor villain from the third season of Lexx had the name Fifi. It's worth mentioning that this villain is male.
  • From the Buffyverse:
    • Angel and Spike, whose real names are respectively Liam and William.
    • Angel's sire forgot her real name a long time ago, but unlike Angel or Spike, the alias she currently uses isn't particularly intimidating: Darla.
    • Adam, the Big Bad of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's fourth season, also counts. Though it's a bit more intimidating if you know the context.
    • There's also demon antagonist "Skip" in Angel.
  • Breaking Bad: The Villain Protagonist Heisenberg is a cold-blooded drug cook who has no problems murdering business partners and rivals alike when he feels it's necessary. Heisenberg's real name? Walter. Justified as the series portrays the rise from a dorky chemistry teacher to a menacing drug lord.
  • Chernobyl: The three roofs of the Chernobyl power plant are nicknamed Nina, Katya, and Masha. Masha in particular is one of the most dangerous places in the world and so radioactive they can't even use robots to clean it. And, though the series doesn't explicitly mention it, there's Elena- i.e. the destroyed reactor itself, which is too radioactive to even look at.
  • John Sheppard of Stargate Atlantis played this trope with the Wraith whether they wanted it or not, which gave us such villains (or in one case, an Anti-Villain) as Steve, Michael, Bob, Todd and Kenny. The Wraith never bothered to reveal their true names to the humansnote , so the monickers stuck.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Near the end of the series, it's revealed that Number One, the Cylon who orchestrated the attempted total genocide of the Twelve Colonies of Man and later wiped out half his own species when they turned on him, is actually named "John". He tells the person who calls him this that he does not care for that name. Earlier, he had used the fake name "Cavil" while impersonating a priest.
  • Twin Peaks:
    • BOB, also known as "Killer BOB", the demonic Big Bad who regularly accesses the material plane to cause human suffering.
    • Another entity known as "MIKE" used to be Bob's partner-in-crime, but he's since repented and now seeks to stop BOB.
    • The Greater-Scope Villain is an impossibly ancient demon that feasts on human suffering and may be the key to The End of the World as We Know It. Her name is Judy.
  • The Goodies. In "The Lost Island of Munga" the Goodies meet a Diabolical Mastermind of previous acquaintance.
    "Who am I? I [Dramatic Pause] am the Napoleon of Wickness. The Most Naughty Man in the World! Master of Disguises (Sussex University). Arch Rascal, Prince of Mischief. You many know me as... [henchman plays Ominous Pipe Organ] Nasty Person!"
  • Meg, Tom, and Ruby in Supernatural are the only demons shown that don't have demonic-sounding names. In Meg's case, at least, it's not her real name (her original host was named Meg).
  • In Doctor Who, the leader of the Zygon extremists, alien shapeshifters who wish to reveal themselves openly to the humans, is named Bonnie. Most of the extremists are from the Zygon generation born after they settled on Earth, explaining her ordinary human name.
  • Kilgrave from Jessica Jones (2015) has Kevin Thompson as his real name.
  • On Wynonna Earp, the leader of the revenants is a guy named Bobo.
  • In The Good Place:
    • All of the millennia-old celestial beings have ordinary human names like Trevor, Glen, Vicky, and Todd. Some of these might be nicknames for weirder names, though. The High Judge who rules over all disputes between the Good Place and the Bad Place is named Gen—short for Hydrogen because it was the only thing that existed when she was born.
    • The Head of The Bad Place, effectively the show's representation of Satan, is named...Shawn.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Some of the metahumans have rather mundane names, like Tony, Becky, or Mark, to make them seem more personal to the audience.
    • It's eventually revealed that Savitar's real name is Barry because he's a potential future version of Barry Allen.
    • The Big Bad of Season Four, a criminal mastermind and terrorist, is named Clifford DeVoe. In-universe, he shares even his surname with over a thousand people in the nearby area.
  • Criminal Minds does this with some episode names: "Jones", "Lucky", "Mosley Lane", etc., since one of the scary things about the murderers the team hunts is that They Look Just Like Everyone Else!.
  • The villain in the Cold Case episode "The Road" claims his name is John Smith. The fandom generally agrees he's the single most evil person ever seen on the show.
  • In the TV adaptation of The Man in the High Castle, in which the Axis powers won World War II and conquered America, the most senior Nazi in New York is Obergruppenführer John Smith.
  • In Burn Notice most of the villains have fairly common names: Management, Larry, James, Simon, Anson. Even the two major organizations they oppose have generic names: The Organization and The Family.
  • In The Sparticle Mystery, the Big Bad of the second season is a mobster teenager who controls a small army of thugs and has declared himself King of England ... and his name is Fizzy.
  • In Highlander there’s Kronos, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and a mass murderer over his thousands of years, who was going by Melvin at the time he was found by Methos.
  • To contrast with such exotic-sounding names as Nandor, Laszlo and Nadja, one of the antagonists of the second season of What We Do in the Shadows (2019) is Jim the Vampire. (Yes, that's verbatim what's on his business card.)
  • In Stranger Things Season 4, the Big Bad Vecna turns out to be an example of this. His name was originally Henry Creel, codename One. On finding this out, our heroes start lampshading this, calling him "Vecna slash Henry slash One."
  • In She-Hulk: Attorney at Law to get back to Earth Madisynn makes a deal with a goat demon named Jake. Although the event occurs offscreen and she was extremely drunk both when it was happening and when she was recounting it, so she might have got the name wrong.

    Podcasts 
  • The Magnus Archives runs on this trope with avatars that channel eldritch entities of fear, with the power to trap victims in their worst nightmares, having names such as Peter or Jane. They have such mundane names that there are two unrelated evil Michaels. But it does make sense why...

    Professional Wrestling 

    Radio 
  • Bleak Expectations: The Big Bad is Mr. Gently Kissy Nice-Nice Benevolent (his mother's maiden name was "Malevolent.")
  • In Dial M For Pizza, a sinister fortune teller introduces himself to two hapless travellers:
    Fortune teller: Me? Why, they call me "Doctor Terror".
    Baz: How strange!
    Fortune teller: Especially as my real name is Ernie Thompson.
  • ElvenQuest: The supremely evil Lord Darkness's real name is in fact Billy. As a kid, he was known as "Little Billy Wobbles".
  • The Frantics: Mr. Canoe Head's arch nemesis is the Evil Galactic Warlord...Larry!

    Standup Comedy 
  • One routine by Rowan Atkinson set in Hell features this.
    Yes, I am the Devil. You may call me Toby.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Bob, Lord of Evil
  • Mutant Chronicles: The Prophet of the Dark and Harbinger of Destruction... is named Billy.
  • Nicol Bolas from Magic: The Gathering, which can be seen as a form of 'Nicholas'. He's an incredibly old, powerful, and evil Elder Dragon.
  • Warhammer has the legendary Chaos Champion known as Harald Hammerstorm, or "Harry the Hammer" to his friends.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The Big Bad of Andy's Apple Farm is an Eldritch Abomination who trapped a family inside a video game and is tormenting them for his amusement, and is responsible for all the horror in the game. He calls himself Peter. Though this is justified as it is to blend in with the other game characters like Andy.
  • Assassin's Creed Origins: The Crocodile is one of the nastiest members of the Order of the Ancients, willing to hurt children in order to intimidate their parents and their real name is revealed to be Berenike, which is an ancient form of "Veronica".
  • Astral Chain: The Final Boss is an Eldritch Abomination that is a fusion of Yoseph, Akira, and Akira’s clones whose goal is to absorb every life form in the universe to become the most powerful being in existence. Its name? Noah.
  • Blade Strangers gives us the all-terrifying wrath of a ravenous Humanoid Abomination bent on devouring everything in The Multiverse named... Lina. Yep, that's her name. And in the form of a cute, teenage girl to boot.
  • In the Borderlands series, the most notorious villain of the series is none other than a CEO known only as Handsome Jack, full name "Jack". He has become so notorious in the series that characters actually use his name in place of God with phrases like "Oh My Jack" and "As Jack is my witness". Made even worse as his real name is said to be "John".
  • Bravely Second's main antagonist is Kaiser Oblivion, which is obviously a pseudonym. His real name is Denys (rhymes with "Danny").
  • Brigandine: Legend of Runersia: The Holy Gustava Empire is a black-color schemed empire that showed itself as a formidable force even without a Brigandine, and filled with knights of misfits rejected from other regions. You wish to know the name of its Emperor? Well, they call him... Tim?
  • The Dragon in Catherine is an ancient entity that seduces, discards, and kills men. She does not truly exist on the earthly plane, and no two people see her the same way. Her name is Catherine.
  • The Final Boss of Curse of the Dead Gods; if you've been reading through the Codex entries, you might catch a hint that you're hardly the first explorer to enter the temple, but after fighting through a bunch of Aztec-style enemies with these hard-to-pronounce names and then seeing this menacing figure at the end and seeing his name is Clovis Pardieux, the Champion of Death is kind of funny especially if you were totally clueless.
  • Christmas Massacre has the Villain Protagonist of a man going on a killing spree around Christmas named Larry.
  • Deus Ex has as its main enemy.... a guy called Bob. Technically his full name is Robert Page, but he insists that people call him Bob.
  • Dokapon Kingdom has Overlord Rico, but he fits right in with the ridiculous nature of the world.
  • The pirate chief in Dungeon Raiders is called the "Giant Parrot Who Goes 'Qweek'!" Lampshaded when the main character commented "Yup, it's a stupid name, but don't let that fool you. He's very dangerous!" And again when he added that once he rescued his friends "After that, we'll see. But we could get together and decide to change the stupid names of the bosses."
  • Dusty Raging Fist has the Ancient Evil, a demon who assumes a regular form named... Elijah. As in, Elijah the Ancient Lord of Darkness.
  • From Earthworm Jim, there's Bob the Killer Goldfish. Despite being as weak as an ordinary goldfish, he still fits the title since his authority over an army of brutes and a nearly impenetrable fortress makes him fearsome.
  • Fable:
    • The player character is Only Known by Their Nickname... which, if he has a Start of Darkness and doesn't purchase a new title, will remain "Chicken Chaser" long after he becomes the most infamous and feared villain on the continent.
    • The Big Bad is Jack of Blades, often referred to simply as "Jack". The Lost Chapters expansion reveals him to be the surviving member of a trio of Eldritch Abominations with Theme Naming, the other two being the Knight and Queen of Blades.
  • FAITH: The Unholy Trinity deals with the matter of a Satanic cult, led by a man by the name of...Gary. He's the next-closest thing to a Big Bad after Satan himself.
  • Fallout 76: Earle Williams the Wendigo Colossus. Justified because he Was Once a Man.
  • Fatal Fury: The most fearsome crime lord in Southtown is named... Geese Howard. Yes, named after a fowl. And he'll still kick the crap of anyone that crosses him.
  • A lot of Bosses in the Final Fight series have pretty average names, such as Abigail in the first game, Freddie and Philippe in the second, Dave, Wong and Drake in the third, and Hugo in Revenge.
  • Golden Sun:
    • The recurring evil mastermind of the series is named Alex. Like Seymour above, it's not really commented on, and it's justified in that he comes from Imil, where relatively plain Western names are the standard. More outlandish villains have more outlandish names, making Alex a distinct contrast.
    • Subverted in Dark Dawn when Alex uses the alias "Arcanus". Not only does it match the Tarot Theme Naming of his new allies, it also upstages them, fitting Alex's self-important personality and new powers. And returns to being played straight when he finally reveals his identity, to the shock of all present. Except for Kraden, who had figured it out already.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: While this is averted with the first "proper" Big Bad, Otto Apocalypse, it is played straight with the leader of World Serpent, Kevin Kaslana. Kaslana isn't that bad, but Kevin... That's a pretty mundane name for the World's Best Warrior, especially compared to his descendant, Siegfried, who shares a name with the dragon-slaying hero of the Nibelungenlied.
  • Infernax, while he has the demons use names mostly from the Ars Goetia, which do look intimidating, has the cutlist leader, whose name is Robert, and who is to a large extent responsible for the demonic invasion.
  • The boss of the Holy MacGuffin Quest in Kingdom of Loathing is the mighty Ed the Undying. When asked about this he says that he was never big on fancy titles.
  • Kirby's Epic Yarn:
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, the most active antagonist is known as Cole.
  • Meet the Robinsons has Wilbur Robinson unintentionally altering history so that he now lives in Magma City ruled by Emperor Stanley, which he can't take seriously.
  • Metroid: A giant, purple carnivorous space dragon who can shoot fire, fly through space and regenerate his body after incredible injuries. His name? Ridley. While that's an uncommon name, it is still a very human one.
  • By nature of being represented by a player-chosen Mii, the Dark Lord in Miitopia can be this. And if the Mii's name is Tom, then you'll get an actual Tom the Dark Lord.
  • Minecraft: Word of God, the Ender Dragon's name is "Jean".
  • One of the most iconic characters in Mortal Kombat is the massive four-armed warrior Goro. In Japan, Goro is a very common boy's name.
  • The Pig King of Mother 3 makes Giygas look tame in comparison, orchestrating the horrific Chimera projects that turn peaceful animals into deranged cyborgs, conquering your hometown and corrupting the residents into greedy, selfish people, and ultimately deciding to destroy the world for laughs. King Porky also qualifies in the previous game he appeared in.
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King: The one who turned Peach and Bowser's minions into origami figurines and aims to do the same thing to the rest of the world is an evil king named Olly, a name much more befitting a young boy. It makes more sense when you learn of his origins, though: not only was he "born" pretty recently, he was never intended by his creator to be a villain.
  • In the Pokémon games, the leader of the Nebulous Evil Organisation usually has a cool name; Team Rocket has Giovanni, Team Galactic has Cyrus, Team Plasma has Ghetsis, Team Flare has Lysandre, and Team Skull and Aether Foundation has Guzma and Lusamine. Team Magma and Team Aqua, however? Maxie and Archie, respectively.
  • In Postknight, the mastermind behind the villains of the first game, Disc-One Final Boss of the second game, whose legacy still haunts the Postknights until three arcs later and culprit for the spread of the plague is Dark Knight Kraig.
  • The giant monster player-characters of the coin-op Rampage are George (giant gorilla), Lizzie (lizard) and Ralph (werewolf). The latter (along with the nature of Rampage) may have been part of the inspiration for Wreck-It Ralph. In their case, it's justified as they're actually regular humans who were mutated into Kaiju.
  • In the Reincarnation (2008) series, Lucifer, Prince of Lies, prefers to go by "Luke". His underlings are no less intimidated by him either way.
  • Most, if not all of the main Big Bads in the Resident Evil games qualify: Albert Wesker, William Berkin, Alexia Ashford, Derek C. Simmons, Carla Radames, Jack Baker, etc. Justified, however, on accounts that they were each ordinary humans (except for Carla) prior to becoming mutants.
  • In RuneScape, trolls are named for the first thing they try to eat (or the sounds it makes). Naturally, this leads to a quest where you make an alliance with the dreaded troll warlord "Pretty Flower".
  • During Issue #9 The Secret World, players are introduced to the Black Signal, the disembodied sentience commanding the Filth in Tokyo and the voice of the Dreamers on Earth. However, despite a fanciful number of titles including "The Word Virus," "The Brain Pathogen Grammar," and "The Smoking Mirror," he's actually very upfront in revealing that his real name is, in fact... John.
  • Fleming, Lord of the Demons from Shadows of the Damned.
  • The player protagonist from Spinal Breakers (a violent and Gorn-loaded arcade game) is Captain Waffle, a badass One-Man Army who slaughters enemy mooks by the dozens.
  • Every time he runs into her, Jim Raynor in StarCraft reminds the Queen of Blades that her real name is "Sarah". This is part of his series-long I Know You're In There Somewhere quest which eventually succeeds.
  • The final boss of Street Fighter IV is named Seth. Like Seymour above, it's a religious reference that sounds exotic in Japan, but to English speakers it just sounds silly unless they know Egyptian Mythology (especially compared to "Akuma", "Sagat", or "M. Bison"). Helping somewhat is that it's also a reference to Promoted Fanboy Seth Killian.
  • Total War: Warhammer III: The Daemon Prince can be named whatever the player wishes. Whenever he shows up in official Creative Assembly videos, he's named 'Daniel', and the name is even given a mention in the introduction video to Immortal Empires when The Advisor mentions the name keeps haunting him. His name before his ascension, Yuri, would also count but The Daemon Prince is heavily implied to have rejected it. Granted, there is nothing stopping the player from using that same name again.
  • Trombone Champ: In order to make progress through the game's meta-narrative, the player will need to collect Tromboner Cards and sacrifice them to a demon in order to unlock new trombones, with the demon promising to reveal his true name once they've become the Trombone Champ. Do so by beating the game, and talking to him has him reveal that his name is George.
  • The main villain of Undertale refers to himself as Flowey the Flower. Kind of odd considering that he probably came up with that himself, and the name of his original self is Asriel Dreemurr, which is much more intimidating aside from the fact that it's just a mash-up of his parents' names.
    • There's also the real name of the Anomaly, which is whatever the player's name is. No, not the player character, the player. It's literally you, after all.
  • West of Loathing has a sinister Eldritch Abomination lurking in the El Vibrato Ruins which answers to the name... Roberto. There's also a demon lord named Barnaby Bob.
  • Wario Land 3 has Rudy the Clown as the main antagonist. Keep in mind that he is essentially a Monster Clown with supernatural powers and a terrifying appearance. But then again, he is a clown so the name doesn't sound too inapropriate.
  • In World of Warcraft:
    • A succubus really an imp mother that intimidates even the Council of the Black Harvest, causing one of its members to insist she's "beyond all of us" is named Agatha.
    • High Inquisitor Whitemane is a brutal Knight Templar who serves the fanatical Scarlet Crusade faction. This is all despite the fact that her first name is Sally.
  • The Yoshi's Island series almost seems to be making a trend out of this for the boss names, with all the villains having names more suited to a school or workplace than the dark side. Some examples include Roger (the potted ghost), Raphael (the raven), Gilbert (the gooey boss in world 1 of Yoshi's Island DS), Hector, Sal and (in New Island) Fred.
  • Zombidle's main character is an undead necromancer spreading destruction across many kingdoms with his demonic hordes... named Bob.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has a character claiming to be a demon lord of destruction. His name? Tanaka- one of the most common family names in Japan, and essentially the equivalent of 'Dark Lord Smith'. On the other hand, his given name is Gundham.
  • In ClockUp's Maggot Baits, the biggest, meanest, supernatural "witch" (yes, include the quotation marks) in the game... her name is Sandy. And her rude, hedonistic partner's name is Isabel. The rest of the "witches" names (either Heroic or True Neutral) are Carol, Gloria, Wilma, Alison, Carla, Edna, Irene, and Jane Doe. All the witches are named after famous hurricanes because of their incredible destructive power, so they still count as Meaningful Names.
  • The Floor Master of Chapter 3-1 in Your Turn to Die can be named by the player, but his default rename option is "Midori". While not an exceedingly common Japanese name, it literally translates to "green", which is the color of his hair. This trope also applies to his real name, Sou Hiyori, which is rather simple as well. However, despite his simple name, he is revealed to be responsible for much of the suffering that the cast goes through and is easily the cruelest of the floor masters. Since the player has control over what he'll be called in the game, this can be invoked as well. You could literally name him "Tom."note 

    Webcomics 
  • The main character of Hell Inc is a demon named Doug who works in a pretty unremarkable cubicle-layout office, aside from the fact that the comic is set in Hell.
  • From Looking for Group, there is a character whose titles include "Chief Warlock of the Brothers of Darkness, Lord of the Thirteen Hells, Master of the Bones, Emperor of the Black, Lord of the Undead, King of the Dance, Mistress of Magma and mayor of a little (undead) village up the coast." The character's name? Richard. This is constantly mocked in the comic. The protagonist Cale is fond of referring to him as Dick just to get on his nerves.
  • El Goonish Shive gives us an alternate reality Evil Overlord version of one of the protagonists. All hail Lord Tedd! And then there's the maniac with a god complex, Damien.
  • In Sluggy Freelance we have "Chaz," an unstoppable sword also known as the Unholy Evil Death Bringer, forged in the most insidious of flame by the blacksmith known only as... Bob.
  • Exterminatus Now gives us the Conspirator, Greater Daemon of the Patterner... Kevin.
    Jamilla: Wait, Kevin?
    Kevin: "Kevin" is not my real name, since that is unpronounceable in your feeble mortal tongue. If you were able to pronounce it, the skies themselves would shatter!
    Morth: Actually, it is his real name.
    Kevin: Oh, just tell everybody, why don't you?
She actually manages to bring her sacrifice to a screeching halt by revealing this fact, leading the cultists to start bickering about it.
  • Bob is one of the major villains of the sprite comic Bob and George. He's also a fiery supervillain known as Napalm, but most people refer to him as "Bob" even when he's manifesting his "Napalm" superpowers.
  • The Emperor of the Souballo Empire's name is "Brian" in Our Little Adventure.
  • The (most frequently appearing) super-powered, evil trickster of the Mountain Time universe is Dave.
  • True Villains features a sinister No-Nonsense Nemesis sorcerer who shows up out of nowhere to punch a hole through Sebastian's soul, face Xaneth in magical battle, and even return from Hell as a giant demon bent on vengeance. His name? Dove.
  • In Grrl Power, we learn after his defeat and incarceration that Vehemence's actual given name is Kevin. The author mentions he specifically chose it as a non-threatening name for an extremely dangerous villain.
  • Narbonic gives us the Dave Conspiracy, a secret society controlling much of the world, made up of everyone named Dave.
  • In Cucumber Quest, Thebestmaster eventually reveals that the Nightmare Knight is really named Steve.
  • In Homestuck, one of the most powerful and deadly enemies is named... Jack. That his last name is the slightly exotic Noir only dampens the effect a little bit.

    Web Original 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Doctor Horrible. His Secret Identity is that of an awkward nerd named Billy. Of course, his villainous nickname and its accompanying catchphrase ("I've got a PhD in Horribleness") are intentionally Narmy as well.
  • In New Vindicators, the main villain of the Laputa arc in the European story, Laputa-Prime, is really named Elizabeth, but often addressed by a very cutesy-sounding nickname, Little Lizzie.
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared:
    • The villain of the second video is a talking clock with control over the flow of time who uses his power to rot the puppets alive for questioning him. Word of God is that his name is Tony.
    • Shrignold in the third video doesn't qualify, but Malcolm, the god he serves, does.
    • In the fourth video, the puppets are trapped in a deteriorating virtual world where there is nothing to do but open three doors over and over again by a sentient computer. Word of God is that the computer's name is Colin.
    • The Big Bad of the entire series? Yellow Guy's dad, Roy.
  • Dreamscape: There is a Reality Warper zombie sorcerer named Ethan. This is especially jarring when you compare his name with his sister Curien.
  • Meta Runner: The Big Bad is a completely sociopath who is willing to do anything to keep his reputation clean, and his name is Derek Lucks.
  • No Evil: The ostensibly human Charles, who seems to be behind the return of the Black Tezcatlipoca.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • The main villains of The Blood Gulch Chronicles are named O'Malley, Gary, and Reggie. Though O'Malley and Gary aren't their actual names, which are the somewhat more sinister-sounding Omega and Gamma.
    • The Director of Project Freelancer, the main villain ultimately behind basically every problem in the series is named Leonard Church. Along with his right-hand man Aiden Price.
    • One of the main villains of the Chorus Trilogy is simply named Felix. (The other goes by the name of his armor instead of using a proper name.) Their boss, the Chairman of Charon Industries, is named Malcolm Hargrove.
  • Ruby Quest has the horrible mutated monster Daisy, Knight Templar Mad Doctor Filbert, and the Ax-Crazy 'highest priority hazard', Tom. The latter is usually referred to by his subject number (#6), as he shares his name with Ruby's companion. For the very good reason that they're one and the same. The person that the players thought was Subject #6 (who was really #5) also counts, since he's an incredibly creepy borderline Eldritch Abomination whose name is also Tom.
  • The Trope Namer is discussed in Episode 13 of Satellite City, where the human Sullivan finds it hilarious that the evil monster that even the interdimensional demon-animals living in his house are scared of has the seemingly harmless name of "Dizzy Jones". The trope itself is played with in that the villain's actual name, Mandus, sounds appropriately ominous and evil, but the nickname he goes by is comparatively silly-sounding.
    Sullivan: You mean to say, that you're actually that scared of this fucker that you actually called him a goof name, I mean, "Voldemort" was supposed to intimidate because his actual name was fuckin' Tom.
  • The main antagonist of SMG4’s Anime Arc is a genocidal crime lord who caused the first ever permanent death in the series, who is given the horrifying name of... Francis. Justified however, as he is a far more villainous variant of the character of the same name from Super Paper Mario.
  • A recurring character in SuperMarioLogan is the devil, who is given the terrifying name of... Craig.
  • The Adventure Zone: Balance:
    • Played for laughs with the first major villain, the Black Spider, whose real name is...Brian.
      Magic Brian: It's Brian, darling.
      Merle: "Brian Darling?" You're related to Wendy Darling?
      Magic Brian: No, no, just Brian. You don't need to add anything else.
    • A more ominous example is the avatar and true form of the Hunger, who goes by "John".
  • A Hero's War: Emperor Muppy is a laughingstock among the kids, but strikes dread in adults centuries after his death; having a name too funny not to insult and personal death squads crushing the populace is not a healthy combo.
  • Dorkly Originals did this as a joke regarding Sonic the Hedgehog fan characters. Robotnik shows up and releases a container containing the "Ultimate Original Character". As the light fades, it reveals a tall Echidna with a metal belt, dark eyeliner, Knuckles' signature gloves, two tails (not unlike Tails himself), and sharp dreadlocks like Sonic's spines. He shouts his name to everyone dramatically.
    Behold... I... am... KEEEVIIIIIIIN!!!!!
  • Hunter: The Parenting: THE GREAT AND MIGHTY KEVIN, a crazed Tremere vampire from the Sabbat, who has zero problems treating such a mundane name like the loftiest of titles... and as we find out later, there are reasons for that: He's a vampire who still tries to keep a connection to humanity, and was forced to adopt a "shitty Camarilla roleplay name" (Herbertus) when he was embraced, and then got bestowed with an Embarrassing Nickname when he managed to defect to the Sabbat until he earned enough respect to be called what he wanted. Using his own mortal name is both a sign of wanting to remain human and a symbol of the shackles he's shattered in the way... that and he despised the other names he got, with special hatred for Herbertus.
  • Spooky Month: The antagonist of "Tender Treats" is a large, cannablistic serial killer that stalks the main characters, successfully maims someone onscreen, and is consistently treated by everyone as a threat, including the two normally naive and oblivious children towards the episode's end. His name is Bob.
  • Welcome to Mountport: The Big Bad of the musical who plans to eclipse Mountport with her tower is most fiendishly named... Tina Johnson.
  • The mastermind behind the anomalies in ᴛʜᴇ ɴᴏᴇᴅᴏʟᴇᴄᴋɪɴ ᴀʀᴄʜɪᴠᴇꜱ is named "Kirk".

    Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Doof started an Evil League called the League Of Villainous Evildoers Maniacally United For Frightening Investment in Naughtiness. Or as it's better known, L.O.V.E.M.U.F.F.I.N..
    • There's also Meap's sworn enemy, Evil Poacher and would-be galactic overlord Mitch. Some people call him "Big Mitch".
    • Another episode has Doofenshmirtz telling Perry about his mentor whom his temporary island hideout belonged to, Professor Destructicon... or "Kevin" to his friends, which Doof refers him by as he continues his story.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee:
    • The League Of Villainous Evildoers (LOVE) featured in one episode. June also goes up against a Government Conspiracy called Humans for the Abolishment of Magic... HAM.
    • Another recurring villain in the series is the Sandman, who prefers to go by his real name: Stephen. (But does not like to be called "Steve".)
  • Yin Yang Yo! has Carl the Evil Cockroach Wizard.
  • In Dave the Barbarian, the main recurring villain is the Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy.
  • Simon the gremlin from Trollz was sealed away for 3000 years after turning most of the good magic evil and destroying the world of the Trollz as they knew it, but it's still hard to take him seriously with that name.
  • In the third Jimmy-Timmy Power Hour, there is a male villain named "Shirley".
  • The Super Hero Squad Show once had The Trapster appear. However, due to his original villain name being 'Paste Pot Pete', he is mocked by MODOK and the Abomination for being named "Pete".
  • In T.U.F.F. Puppy, when Larry took over D.O.O.M. he changed his name to Murray, which made everyone in T.U.F.F. gasp in fear.
  • In Lilo & Stitch: The Series, the main villain is a rodent-like alien named Dr. Hamsterviel, often mispronounced to sound like the not-very-threatening Hamsterwheel.
  • Adventure Time has Marceline's father, Hunson Abadeer. Neither are particularly common names, but it's oddly normal for a demonic, soul-sucking Humanoid Abomination who rules over a World of Chaotic Evil. (It's also a bit odd for the setting, as most characters don't have "normal" surnames.)
  • The TV Series of How to Train Your Dragon gives us Alvin the Treacherous. Also lampshaded in the show itself.
  • In Regular Show Death's baby son is named Thomas.
  • The Big Bad of Gravity Falls is named Bill Cipher, often just called "Bill" by the main characters. He manages to be plenty scary despite his many silly attributes. His name is likely inspired by Killer BOB (above), and also alludes to the dollar bill (since he looks like the Eye of Providence) and the Beale Ciphers (since the show features plenty of cryptograms as Easter Eggs).
  • The cartoon spin-off of Where's Waldo? featured the terrible, evil, malicious grey knight...Fred.
  • David Xanathos of Gargoyles has a cool last name but a pretty common first one. The irony lay is his enemy being named "Goliath."
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Plankton has the Embarrassing First Name of Sheldon, which is not particularly evil-sounding.
    • From the first movie, Dennis isn't exactly the first name to come to mind when you see an insane and merciless hitman.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In-universe, some of Ed's horror comics, like Marlene of the Deep or Evil Tim. Tim isn't exactly a scary name, no matter how evil he is.
  • Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons, although he is rarely referred to simply as "Bob."
    Sideshow Bob: Hello, Bart.
    Bart and Lisa: Aah! Sideshow Bob!
    Sideshow Bob: Oh, come now. We've been through so much together. Just call me Bob.
    Bart and Lisa: Aah! Bob!
    • In the "Death Tome" Treehouse of Horror skit, the Shinigami that serves as the Ryuk parody is named "Steve Johnson". He states that it was a much more exotic name eons ago.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
  • Peaches the Dark Lord from Rocko's Modern Life who famously tried to take Heffer's soul twice (and one episode ended up being banned!).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The series has villains with names like Nightmare Moon, Discord, Queen Chrysalis, King Sombra, Tirek, and... Starlight Glimmer, a fairly standard pony name. But she's got a pretty impressive rap sheet: in the season five premiere, she runs a cult based around convincing (or forcing) ponies to give up their cutie marks, which define who they are and their purpose in life. Then in the season five finale, she uses a time-travel spell to stop Rainbow Dash's first Sonic Rainboom (which is what got Twilight Sparkle and her friends their cutie marks), accidentally creating a series of Bad Futures where previous villains took over Equestria. Starlight's tatical skills gave her the upperhand in the entire situation that Twilight, the Princess of Friendship, was only able to beat her by talking her into a Heel–Face Turn.
    • In the season eight finale, the villain responsible for draining Equestria's magic and locking the main heroes of the series in Tartarus is Cozy Glow.
  • Archer:
    • Barry Dylan. He may not start out particularly villainous, but once he receives a cyborg upgrade, he certainly qualifies.
    • The vicious (male) leader of the Irish Mob is named Franny Delaney.
    • To a lesser extent, Conway Stern. Good surname, but that first name doesn't inspire a lot of fear...
    • The ruthless hitman couple of...Charles and Rudy.
  • PJ Masks has the Wolfy Kids, a trio of werewolf-like villains named Rip, Howler and....Kevin.
  • Obake, The Chessmaster Mad Scientist Big Bad of the first season of Big Hero 6: The Series, was born Bob Aken, much to Fred's shock.
  • The Owl House
    • The true name of Emperor Belos is Philip Wittebane. Pretty good surname, first name... not so much. Unlike most examples of this trope, he actually prefers to be addressed as Philip, and only changed his name once he got run out of too many towns under his real identity.
    • The Elder of the Titan Trappers, who has dedicated his life to hunting Titans to near extinction, is called Bill.
      Luz: Is that short for something?
      Tarak: Nope! Just Bill.


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