The Strange Name Movie (2017) Movie Script

[mellow piano music]
- Hey, Erica.
My name is Lisa,
and I'm calling
from a video production
company in Boston.
- We're producing
a documentary on people
with interesting
and unusual names.
- And we were wondering
if you would be interested
in sharing some of
your experiences
having the name
Bill Cosby.
- I know that you pronounce
your name Bails and not Balls.
- Is Ronald McDonald in?
- Hi, I'm trying to get in
touch with Dr. Bonnie Beaver.
- Hey, this message is
for Mr. David Boring.
- Hello, this message
is for Jack Goff.
- I'm wondering if you've
had any experiences
with your name.
I'm not even sure exactly
how it's pronounced.
[woman] It is as you would
imagine. Hore.
- Okay, all right.
Have you--
...problems with it
all the time. All the time.
- [Narrator] Most of us
have names that are neutral,
they don't provoke dumb
jokes when we're introduced.
As kids, we didn't get
mocked at roll call.
But many names
are not neutral.
They suggest
a negative attribute,
or have sexual connotations.
The name may already belong
to a famous or
a notorious person.
It may, for any
number of reasons,
quite simply be funny.
- My name is Mark Gotobed.
A smile will come
across people's faces,
and they will say,
"Hold on.
"As in go to bed?"
And I will say, often now,
"Yes, just like you're
telling your children
"to go to bed."
- When I'm addressed in court,
things are kind of formal.
Just as I would say
Your Honor or Judge,
I'm addressed as
Attorney Doktor.
My name is Joseph Doktor,
and people call me Joe Doktor.
You'd get a lot of people say,
"Well, you know, if
you became a doctor,
"you'd be Dr. Doktor."
Well, yeah, I was a great
disappointment to my mother
because I became a lawyer
and she really wanted me
to be a doctor.
- My name is Linda Slutsky.
The name is from Russia,
and their name was Slutzky,
[spells name aloud]
And then one day,
my family decided to
change it to Slutsky.
First time I realized
the name was unusual
was when I was
in high school.
A friend of mine
said, "Slut,"
and I went, "What?"
And then all of a sudden,
a group of boys was
following me down the hall,
and I had to run
down the stairwell.
And I didn't know
what was going on.
I went home and I looked
it up in the dictionary,
and lo and behold,
I found out it meant,
I think, a whore?
I was devastated 'cause
I wasn't like that.
I was like a really prudish
little girl in high school.
- My name is Stuart Putz.
I've had the name
since I've been,
I think, around
three months old.
I was adopted.
There probably was some
heckling here and there,
but I've always been
a pretty jovial kid
as well as like to wrassle,
so if somebody gave me
too much of a hard time,
I'd go have a good
rough tumble with them,
and that usually would stop.
- This is my adopted mother,
Jeannie Escobar Putz.
This is my grandfather,
Clifford Putz,
with my cousin Lonnie Putz,
who is the son of Larry Putz.
This was on the Putz Ranch.
Probably the biggest
thing I've heard is,
"You're such a putz!"
Okay. All right.
Guess that's my last name,
so yes, I am a Putz.
But you know, some
people look at that as
you're a klutz, or
you're a failure.
- We're the Clutzes.
- We're the Clutzes.
- Why did you do this?
- I was voted Most
Clumsy in high school,
so you know, that was
the superlative I got.
It was the only
superlative I got,
so clumsiest person
because of my name,
not because I'm
generally clumsy.
All the way through
grade school,
I kind of, kinda had that
little pit in my stomach
anytime it was gonna
be named in an assembly
or at roll call or
anything like that.
-span style="bodyStyle" [Narrator] Having
a name like Clutz or Putz
might not seem
like a big deal,
but imagine having to brace
yourself for a reaction
every single time you
introduce yourself.
Imagine always
having to plan ahead,
devise strategies,
prepare a ready comeback
for the inevitable
lame remark.
Problems that a Smith or Jones
never even has to think about
loom large in every social
or professional interaction.
But there's no support group
for people with strange names.
You're on your own.
It's every schmuck
for himself.
- My name is Howard Schmuck.
The first time
I became aware of it,
I was in ninth grade.
I was reading Harold Robbins'
book, The Carpetbaggers,
and schmuck
was in there a lot,
and I had no idea
what it was meaning,
so I went to
my English teacher,
and I asked him.
And he said
it's time you knew.
It's humorous when
I am picked up
at a major airport
and my last name
is on the board
for the driver.
People are looking
and looking to see
who's gonna actually
walk to that name.
- My name is Greg Boggis.
I imagine it's probably
in the Urban Dictionary
under a number of
unsavory things,
but you know, it's
the family name and I like it.
- Everyone thought
they were original
in calling me Crapo or telling
me that I was full of crap.
Where I grew up,
my dad owned
a funeral home in town.
At Halloween, people
would put the letter Y
over the O, so it would
read Crapy Funeral Home
as everyone drove by.
People seemed to have
a lot of fun with that.
And I asked my parents
why we had to have
the last name Crapo,
and in fact, in town,
it was a well-known name.
We'd been there
for generations.
- The history behind
my name is honestly,
it's kind of funny.
We got in the back of a cab
after asking a half-dozen locals
around Dublin and Cork, like,
"You guys know any Mullarkeys?
"You know anything about 'em?"
No. So we got in this cab.
You know, it was the oldest
cab driver in the country.
I swear to God.
He was like, "Mullarkey?
"I think most of you
died out in the famine,
"or left the place."
You ever heard that expression,
"You're full of mullarkey"?
So he says that,
back in the day,
the Mullarkey Clan,
not wanting to pay
taxes on British pounds,
would melt down the coin,
and coined their own
currency, the mullarkey.
Then when they went
and tried to use this coin
in other villages,
they wouldn't take it.
They wouldn't accept it because
you were to be put to death
if you were found
with the currency.
You're full of mullarkey.
Get outta here.
That's about all we know
of our family history.
- My legal name
is Adelaide Smoki Bacon.
I was at
Brookline High School.
It was kind of a verbal
bullying that I took
when I would come in to
watch the basketball games.
There was a Smoky Kelleher,
who was a famous
basketball coach,
and I would walk in
and I would hear,
"Smoky Joe, rah rah.
"Smoky Joe, rah rah."
The idea that I was being
called Smoki at that time,
this was like 1943, 1944,
women who smoked were
considered women
of the streets.
And that would just
totally destroy me.
- [Narrator] An unusual name
is far from the worst handicap
to have as you go
through life,
but it is something you
have to deal with every day.
It's something you
had to face as a kid
when you wanted
desperately to fit in.
An unusual name can
make you stronger.
It can help you develop
a sense of humor.
But make no mistake,
your name can influence
your personality
and affect
the course of your life.
- I have spent
the last decade studying
and writing about names.
I look at how we choose names,
how we perceive them,
and how name trends
change over time.
When people ask me
what I do,
and I say I'm
a baby name expert,
there's always this
moment of confusion.
What could there possibly
be to be expert about?
Names are just names.
But then, as soon as you
get talking on the subject,
everyone has
a thousand stories.
Everyone has
a thousand opinions.
And everybody realizes
that their name,
and the names of
everyone they know
send enormous
signals to the world.
- I was just Jeff, right?
Until I went out into the
real world after high school,
and college, et cetera,
and met other people that,
I became Studley.
And there was some pressure
to live up to a name
that just immediately has
that type of reaction.
Well, he's gotta be
6'5, 225 pounds,
and perfectly built.
Somehow, you had to live up
to some of that, all right?
And so I always tried
to take care of myself,
and maybe stay in shape,
or stay well-read,
or be interesting.
Not be disappointing
when people meet Studley.
- [Narrator] At worst,
a name like Studley
might set up unrealistic
But in a world all but overrun
with bullies and dimwits,
your name can make you
the object of contempt,
derision, or worse.
- My name is Richard,
and the last name is Gay.
That's spelled G-A-Y.
You know, when I was a kid,
being gay, homosexual,
wasn't as accepted
as it is today.
Living with that name
today is different
than it was when I was a kid.
You know, I'd get taunted and
sometimes physically accosted.
You know, I can remember
females, you know,
kinda whacking me around
a little bit here and there.
So I received a lot of
ridicule from other kids.
- Most kids can't
handle being bullied.
It would be a very
rare child who could do it,
mostly because they generally
identify with the thing
they're being bullied about.
So they don't have
any perspective on it.
- [Richard] You're gay.
He's gay, or
something like that.
I'm not gay.
I'm straight.
I was bullied because
of my last name,
and it just didn't make
me feel good at all.
It made me feel bad.
All the other kids keep
telling me that I'm gay.
My mother used to say,
"Well, tell them
that you are gay.
"Tell 'em that you're
a very happy person."
I'd say, "Okay, Ma."
- So if a child
is being bullied,
it can really impact
the way they view themselves.
It could impact their
level of motivation,
and compounded over time,
it could really lead
to other issues.
- [Richard] At some
points in my life,
I did try to overcompensate
my masculine
traits, so to speak.
My bravado.
I am an alcoholic.
I'm in recovery.
I've been sober for
a long time now.
People talk about, you know,
what their childhood was like
and feeling different.
And putting alcohol in
your system is a way
to relieve those fears and
make you feel like you fit in.
- If they start
making fun of you,
you can just say I don't
have to take it personally
'cause it's not who I am.
Try to witness the name and
not identify with the name.
- You know, having
the last name Gay
has definitely
affected who I am.
- [Narrator] Being mocked
because of your name
can do a number on
your self-esteem.
For some,
an effective strategy
is to roll with the punches
and counterattack with humor.
- So my name is Nardizzi,
and it's not quite as unique
as some of these names,
but I had issues with
my name at school.
The teasing that
I remember is basically
just simply asking me why
I was dizzy all the time.
This kid over here is dizzy.
Spin him around.
He's dizzy.
I just wish knowing now
what I know about humor
that I had more of a,
some wit to fire
back at these punks.
These people that torment you,
they'll leave you alone
once you hit 'em
with a few zingers.
I'm a real stickler
for fresh milk.
My fantasy is to
suck a cow's udder
during a solar eclipse.
As a comedian,
I have to use
humor all the time.
Like I said,
I don't get heckled very often,
but I gotta be able to talk
about myself
and make fun of myself
and people are
laughing at me.
And I think it's great that
these people, you know,
they're not
professional comedians.
They're not writers,
but they're sensing as well
that they're in situations.
This guy's bustin' my balls,
or this guy's
just a douche,
and I need humor here
'cause if I get
pissed and walk out,
I'm in the company
of my co-workers,
or what have you,
so you gotta use humor and make
the best of that situation.
- My name is Al Dente.
When I get pasta,
it's always al dente.
I was named after
my grandfather,
who passed just
before I was born.
His name was
Albert James Dente.
I know after he passed,
a bill collector
called my grandmother
and asked if Peg Dente was home,
and she said, "Oh, yeah.
"Well, I'm Peg Dente."
And then the guy thought
he was very clever and said,
"Oh, who's your
husband, Al Dente?"
And he got a chuckle out of it,
and she said, "Well, yes.
"Actually he was Al Dente
and he just passed."
- My name is Barb Dwyer,
and I'm a real estate agent.
And I remember the day.
I was sitting there
at the lunch table,
and with people.
I had no idea who they were.
Sat down, introduced
myself as Barb Dwyer,
and the whole place cracked up.
And I says,
"What's so funny?
"It's my name."
And they said,
"Barbed wire,
like the fence?"
And I got it.
I was 13 before I realized
my name was a little unusual.
- There are certain names
that are kind of a gimmick.
Whether it's the first
and last name matching,
like Philip Philips or forming
a phrase like Shanda Leer.
A lot of people say, "How
could the parents do that?"
But to those parents,
often it's, "How
can I not do that?"
That one name is different
from every other name that
I could give my child.
It stands out in a way
that no other could.
- I've certainly got
enough falling tree jokes
in my time.
Someone would
say, "Oh, Tim Burr.
I don't think my mother
had any negative intent.
- I worked with a young lady,
who happened to be in
our wedding party also.
And she said to me one day
when I was pregnant with him,
"If you have a boy, you
should name him Timothy."
And I kind of looked at her,
and you know,
didn't make much of it.
She said, "Then you could
go out and yell Tim Burr."
And I thought, "Well,
that's kinda cute."
So I told his dad about it,
and there you go.
- When I was a kid,
my mother used to yell from home
to find where we were,
'cause back in those days,
kids still could be anywhere
in the neighborhood, you know.
And so she used to call.
- Tim Burr!
And he would trot home.
- It's a vivid memory because
she would do it often.
You know, almost every
night for dinner.
- It worked every time.
- That's funny.
I don't recall her calling
the other names out.
- If I had to do
it all over again,
he definitely
would be Tim Burr.
It was done with love.
- [Narrator] I doubt that Tim
ever suffered any distress
from the name so
lightheartedly conferred
by Mr. and Mrs. Burr.
Most often, the culprit
isn't the parents,
but rather
the language itself.
Certain words have a way
of creating mischief
when they get together.
A union that might have
happened centuries ago,
quite arbitrarily.
In other words,
it's nobody's fault,
but if you have
one those names,
it might seem like more
of a curse than a legacy.
- My name is Elana Cockburn,
and my last name is spelled
[spells name aloud]
And I didn't know
what cock was,
so I was totally
just not getting it.
And kids were
starting to laugh,
and I don't know where
the teachers were,
where the chaperones were, but
I was totally caught off guard,
and it really affected me.
I felt really embarrassed.
- A sexually suggestive
name could bring up
issues of confusion
and shame for the child,
and it would be important
that a child understands
what their name means so
that they don't make up
ideas in their mind,
which is very common
for children to do.
- When I first realized
that my name was unusual
was when kids started
mentioning something about it.
And I got the fuller
meaning when I came home,
and "Like, Mom,
this kid's making fun of me."
Like, I knew it was
something inappropriate,
but that's when I finally
found out that it was like
a hooker, what a hooker is.
- If a girl has
a sexually suggestive name,
it would be a nightmare
for most girls.
Now how they deal
with the nightmare,
they may react to it in
very, very different ways.
Some of them may say,
"I never want to have sex."
Some of them might
become hypersexual.
There may be a lot
of different ways
that they'll deal with it,
but no matter what,
it's gonna be a nightmare.
- I explained to my kids when
they asked me the question,
"What is a hooker?"
I told them that they
were ladies of the evening
or prostitutes that would sell
themselves to men for money.
And they kind of looked
at me like, "Okay."
We are a descendant of
Fightin' Joe Hooker.
General Hooker was
in the Civil War,
and he was like a crazy...
brought all these girls back.
Always liked drinking.
- Hooker was associated
with Fightin' Joe,
because he used to bring
ladies of the evening
to his troops before
they fought battle.
- Being teased as
a kid was a little hard.
And then, of course, as
you become a teenager,
it gets a little bit different.
On a higher level.
And substitute
teachers were always
pronouncing my name
which was always embarrassing
in the middle of class.
They, too, stumbled over my
first and last name constantly.
When somebody heard my last
name for the first time,
or saw my last name
for the first time,
usually was followed by
giggling and laughter.
As I got older,
yes, the C from Cobbledick
got changed to a G.
Ha, ha, ha, ha.
Your last name is Dick.
My father did share with
me from his generation,
they used to refer to
him as Wrinkledork.
- [Narrator] A name that
includes intimate body parts
or suggests promiscuity
is sure to get attention,
but for every
Cobbledick or Cockburn,
there are 100 others who
were, quite accidentally,
named after celebrities
or cultural icons.
So what happens when
your name is famous,
but you, personally, are not?
- The Beatles arrived in 1964,
and I was born in 1958.
As a kid, it was very
tough to deal with having
the name Paul McCartney.
No child wants that
kind of attention.
And I remember being
at awards ceremonies
for Little League,
and I was probably
the only kid in that room
that was saying, "Please
don't call my name."
It felt more, to me, like
I was being laughed at
whenever my name
was called out.
I actually think it had
a huge impact on my personality.
Her name is Linda McCartney.
- Stop it.
My name is Linda McCartney.
- And my name is Paul McCartney.
We've been married for 26 years.
- 26 years.
You cannot say
Paul and Linda McCartney
without having people go,
"Paul and Linda McCartney?
Really, really?"
- My full name is
Ronald James McDonald IV.
My grandfather and
great-grandfather were around
before the hamburger, so they
didn't have to deal with this.
So my father
was born in '48,
so he barely
had to tolerate it.
For me, it was horrible.
And I think if I was born
in the current times,
they would have called
it school bullying
probably from the beginning.
As a child, it was
very difficult.
It was worse for me
than it may have been
if I lived in one
town my whole life.
My mother moved us wherever
she could find good work,
which meant in
my first four grades,
I went to 15 schools.
So that's 15 new
schools, new roll call.
I never let it shame me,
but it didn't
make it any easier
to be teased.
Each school, each
circumstance, was pretty much
the same reaction when
I would be announced.
You know, they would
say Ronald McDonald,
and before I could
even say, "Here,"
there would be laughter,
sometimes for five,
ten minutes.
I can't tell you
how many teachers
would just remark
that having a name like that
would build character,
and later in life,
I would appreciate it.
- When I tell people
my name is Alfred Capone,
they usually ask me if I'm
related to the real Al Capone,
or if I'm in some way
associated with the Mafia,
I normally tell them no.
The name actually, Alfred
Capone, has been in my family
for about three or
four generations.
I did get a tattoo of Capone
with the Italian
flag on my ankle,
so it's something
that I'm proud of.
Certainly proud of my family
and my heritage and my name.
I think there are plenty
of names out there
that are a lot worse than
being named Alfred Capone,
such as serial
killers or murderers.
- My full name is
Donald L. Trump.
My dad's full name
was Donald L. Trump.
My mother named me
Skip Trump.
In the last few months,
I've increasingly
used Skip Trump,
even in
professional situations,
because the other
Donald Trump
has gotten a lot of attention.
When it's a phone call,
I often get the response,
"No, that can't
be your name."
When I show my ID,
I've had TSA agents
at the airport say,
"Is that really your name?"
This is a U.S. passport,
and they're asking me if
it's forged, basically.
- Go ahead, Dad.
Introduce yourself.
- I'm Donald R. Duck, Senior.
- And I'm
Donald R. Duck, Junior.
- And I'm Donald R. Duck III.
- Is that better?
- Go for it.
- Go ahead.
- What?
- Do it again.
- Oh.
I'm Donald R. Duck, Senior.
- And I'm
Donald R. Duck, Junior.
- And I'm Donald R. Duck III.
- [all] And we're the Ducks.
- You didn't get that memo.
- I didn't say that.
- And we're the
three Ducks in a row.
- And we're all
the three Ducks in a row.
- That wasn't good.
- And we're the
three Ducks in a row.
We are the Duck family.
- I got lost in 1967 at
the Expo in Montreal, Canada.
We were going into the
United States Pavilion.
I was at the bottom of
the escalator, and my parents
ended up at the top
of the escalator,
so I got lost and I remember
contacting security,
and they asked me my name,
and I said,
"My name's Donald Duck."
And they said, "Well,
what's your father's name?"
And I said, "My father's
name is Donald Duck as well.
And I remember the one person
saying to the other one,
"I'm not saying that
over the intercom."
- When I was in school
and a youngster,
Trump was just another name.
I first became aware
of Donald J. Trump
probably in the early
to mid 1980's.
I began to be curious
about his lineage,
and so thought it would
be interesting, perhaps,
to write him a note
and let him know
that there was
another Donald Trump,
and asked if there
was any relationship.
I was the president of the
Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
We were beginning
a fundraising campaign called
Going Bald for Bucks,
so I suggested to
Mr. Trump that perhaps
he'd like to join me.
- The other Donald Trump is me,
because you're the famous one.
I've been hearing your
name for years and years.
- He was willing to do
a video that we showed
at the kickoff for this event.
- What you do in life
is more important
than what I do in life,
so I say Donald L. Trump,
which is you,
is probably more important
than Donald J. Trump.
- He was very gracious
and took it in good humor.
- I just wanna
congratulate you
on the great work
you've done,
the shaving the head thing.
Donald, I really...
I'm glad it's you
and it's not me.
- And Mr. Trump did give
quite a generous contribution
to cancer research
at Roswell Park.
- If you saw my name officially,
it'll be Harold
William Potter, Jr.
But kids are not
gonna call you Harold,
so they started
calling me Harry,
and that's been
my name ever since.
When the book first came out,
I was aware of it,
but I didn't think
too much of it because
I didn't perceive,
at that time,
what kind of phenomenon
this was going to be.
- Where I work,
you have to present
a badge to open the door.
So I'll just say,
"My name is Bond."
And then they was like, "Okay,
so what's your first name?"
And they just like,
they turn around
slowly like, "Really?
"That's the coolest name ever.
"Do you say it like
that all the time?"
And I was like, "Yeah, I say
it like that all the time."
- As new students
on the first day,
you stand up
and say your name.
So here I am in the classroom.
I stand up and I said
my name is Donald Sutherland.
And I remember hearing someone
in the background chirping,
and they said, "Oh, my God,
there's the class clown."
I actually went home
and asked my parents.
Why would someone say that?
Who's Donald Sutherland?
And that's when they told me,
at that point, that it
was some famous actor.
- I did have one occasion,
trying a case in
the Federal District Court.
The judge looked
at me and she said,
"Do you realize that your name
is a fictional character?"
And, of course, I knew that,
and I said, "Yes,
Your Honor, I do."
And she then said,
"I can't look at you without
"thinking of Harry Potter."
And I laughed about it,
and thankfully, I won the case.
- When I show up
for a reservation,
they know Donald Sutherland's
not gonna be there.
Hi, I'm Donald Sutherland.
- You're Donald Sutherland?
- Yes.
But even when I show up,
they kinda still,
you can feel that.
[slight gasp]
That disappointment.
- You look different
than the movies.
- I'm a little shorter.
- A little shorter?
Did they give you
lifts in the movie?
- I would hear that
a lot from people.
Donald Sutherland?
You looked taller in MASH.
- It puts people at ease.
As soon as they know
my name, it's more comfortable.
They can relax.
Oh, you're
James Bond, you know.
Do you have any gadgets on you?
I was actually
calling a young lady,
and she wasn't home.
I think her mom
picked up the phone,
so she was like,
"Oh, so who's calling?"
I said, "James."
And she says, "James who?"
I said, "James Bond,"
so she said, "Oh, no.
"And I'm Tina Turner."
And she hung up the phone.
- Yeah, my name is
Gunther Frankenstein,
and the nickname is Guinea,
and we're in Lebanon,
New Hampshire,
and it's snowing
outside right now.
Oh, there was a lot of joking,
but because we were German,
I don't think it had anything to
do with the name Frankenstein.
Everyone in the United States
resented Germany,
and rightly so.
Because we were German, that we
were automatically the enemy.
- They had such an association
with one aspect of him,
that they couldn't see
him for who he was.
I would say, for example, since
we're talking about Germany,
it's the same thing
about the swastika.
But the swastika as a symbol
has been around for
thousands of years.
If I show you a swastika now,
you won't be able to
know the thing for itself
because of what's been
associated with it
only for the last 70 years.
- Many time, we had to
fight our way to school.
And then one time, it was
the FBI checkin' us out.
Someone probably said we
were spies or something.
Who knows?
- We make assumptions based
off of our past experiences.
Someone might hear
a name and it might
hit some type of
internal trigger for them
where they're already making
assumptions about that person
before they've even given
that person a chance
to understand who they are.
- You know, the folks
that have helped me
in my life have often
encountered the same sort of
disbelief that I encounter.
My assistant will call to
make an airplane reservation
or a restaurant reservation
and not infrequently
be met with a, "Is
that really the name?"
Or, "You're kidding."
- For three.
Donald Trump.
- I don't know how
Donald J. Trump feels about
the name, but I love
it 'cause it's my dad.
- Actually, before
we got married,
I said to her,
I said, "Don't marry me
if you do not want to name
"your first son Donald III."
And she said to me,
"Well, that's okay with me as
long as we call him Bobby."
- My name is
Donald Robert Duck III.
But I go by Bobby
'cause it differentiates
between my dad
and my grandfather.
- It was just easier.
It was just easier
to be something
other than Donald Duck,
because Donald Duck
doesn't get believed
as a name.
Can you talk like Donald Duck?
No, I cannot talk
like Donald Duck.
Never could.
- My name is Robin Williams,
and I've been living with
that name almost 21 years.
When people start to say,
"Robin Williams,
Robin Williams,"
and I realized that, okay,
I'm gonna have
a problem with this name.
And I still do,
but it's a good problem,
and I'm proud of that name.
- Well, it's been a lot of fun.
Let's put it that way.
The name is
definitely different.
I got it when I was
about seven years old.
There was a famous
baseball player named
Dusty Rhodes who helped
win the World Series
for, at the time,
the New York Giants.
And I was a scrappy
little tomboy.
My Christian name was Susan.
How boring is that?
- In the mid 90's,
I took all of my employees
to Florida for a week.
When we got to the airport,
security was maxed out and
they were waiting for us.
My secretary ran up to us,
and she said, "These
people are going nuts.
"They think you're
the famous Paul McCartney."
A few minutes later, a big shot
from airport security
looks up and says,
"Ramp way's clear,
Mr. McCartney.
"Your party may now board."
The entire bunch of us
were put right up in
the front of the plane,
and my momma didn't
raise a fool.
I wasn't going to say,
"Excuse me, I paid for coach."
We got to Disney,
and our rooms were upgraded.
I believe the entire
trip was a success
just because of my name.
- I received calls from
a few different casting agents
that were randomly searchin'
for people with unique names.
They offered to pay to
come out to California
to be interviewed,
and we got out there.
And sure enough,
in my hotel
there was an army
of Ronald McDonalds.
So they picked us
up in a long van,
5:00 in the morning
and start driving.
- [Conductor] All aboard!
- [Ronald] Well, suddenly,
we don't know where we are.
It's an hour out from L.A.,
so we start
thinking, you know,
he could be driving
us into Mexico.
We'd be sold into servitude.
Eventually, we came to
where they were gonna film,
and at that point,
told us that they were
introducing Taco Bell's
new breakfasts,
and it wasn't until
a couple weeks later
that we discovered that
I was in the first commercial.
- My name is Ronald McDonald.
- [Heckler] You're who?!
- I am Ronald McDonald.
- I'm Ronald McDonald, Jr.,
and this is
Ronald McDonald III.
- My name is Ronald McDonald.
- [Interviewer]
What do you think?
- That's really good.
- I was surprised
how good it is.
- I love the new AM Crunch Wrap.
- I'm Ronald McDonald.
- Ronald.
- McDonald.
- [All] I'm Ronald
McDonald and I love
Taco Bell's new breakfast.
- [Narrator] People with
interesting names often
have unlisted phone numbers
to avoid pranksters.
[busy signal drones]
- We used to get all kinds
of calls in the middle
of the night asking
if Igor was home,
or is the Monster there.
And when we answered
the call,
we thought that
people were nuts
and having a party and
drinking and teenagers
just out late
and having a good time.
When Shelley came
up with that book,
that ruined our good name.
That book.
After a while, you
just grin and bear it.
And sometimes you say,
"You stupid so-and-so,"
and... let it go.
- Even though my mother's
name wasn't Ronald McDonald,
they knew I lived there,
so we would get kids calling
late at night, you know,
asking for cheeseburgers.
- [Narrator] Unfortunately,
their understandable wariness
might also extend
to filmmakers
who call them
out of the blue.
[beep tones]
[phone rings]
- Hi, is this a Daniel Doom?
- Hi, is Harold Rude in, please?
- I'm trying to find
Francis Mangina.
- Are you sure it's Mangina?
Can I say Mangeena?
- [Co-Worker] No!
- Your name is very unusual,
and there's a lot of
history behind it.
[exasperated breathing]
[dial tone]
- We had flagged your name.
- This is nerve-wracking.
- Do have any
forwarding information?
- [Recording] If you know
your party's extension,
you may dial at any time.
[recorded wait tunes play]
- All right, you
too. Have a nice day.
- [Narrator] An amazing
discovery we made
is how lightly the Clutzes,
Putzes, and Boggises
of the world wear the so-called
burden of their names.
It seems that like
a lot of problems,
it's only as much of
an issue as you allow it to be.
- I would go on dates,
and put my name in
at a restaurant,
and I would spell
it out C-R-A-Y-P-O,
and one time, the hostess
looked at me and said,
"That's not how you spell it."
I told her, "That's how
you're gonna pronounce it.
"I'm on a first date."
Very close uncle told
me that you will know
when it's time to get married
if they're willing to take
on the last name Crapo.
Then you've got someone
that really cares for you.
- The fact that they
develop a personality
from their name,
I think, is special.
And then that you use it
as a springboard to what's
becoming quick-witted
or socially adaptable
to different situations,
and you gotta deal with
people all the time,
and some people just
like to bust balls.
And are you gonna crumble
in that situation,
or are you gonna be
able to stand strong?
My persona on stage is
kind of a mean, nasty guy,
so people keep
their mouth shut.
Humor's a great weapon.
You really gotta watch out
for these old people driving.
They always have that excuse,
"Well, I mistook the gas
pedal for the brake."
It's not like you're
driving around in a piano.
There's only two
pedals down there.
Pick one, Beethoven.
If you're driving a car,
and it suddenly accelerates
into some people,
try the other pedal.
I mean, how many bodies
have to flip over the hood
before you go,
"Ohh, this isn't the brake"?
- I was teaching inner city
sixth, seventh,
and eighth grade.
And I didn't want to
put that name up there.
So I did not put
Slutsky up there.
For some reason,
I wrote Slotsky.
And I had no idea that
I was gonna be in that school
for two years as
a permanent substitute.
So I would go down the hall,
and they'd go,
"Hello, Ms. Slotsky,"
and I'd go, "Hello!"
They never found out,
thank goodness,
that my name was Slutsky.
I never would have lived
that one down in that school.
- [Narrator] There's no
doubt that having a name
like Boggis, Crapo, or
Slutsky can be a challenge.
But now let's consider
a worst-case scenario,
one that posed fundamental
and serious questions
of personal identity
and cultural imperialism...
[deep gasp]
while shocking
the sensibilities
of basketball fans from
Wyoming to Saskatchewan.
- My full, full name is,
I'll say it like in Portuguese.
[pronounces name]
If you look at my last name,
you're gonna say,
wow, it's not Fook;
it's Fuck because
in my whole life,
I said Fuck because
it's F-U-C-K.
But where I come from,
it's not pronounced
like that.
It's Fook or Fookie.
My grandmother's hometown
is called Canoinhas.
Half of the city, pretty much,
people with my last name,
F-U-C-K, live there.
My uncle's insurance company.
The name of the company
is Fuck's Insurance.
Basketball changed my life,
and I played from
1999 until now.
I prepared a DVD,
put my name
and my last name in it,
and then I sent it
to my future coach.
- I first
found out about Gui
when he was
playing basketball,
going to school at Northwest
College in Powell, Wyoming.
- When looking at the DVD,
especially my last name,
the coach just didn't accept.
Like it was like,
"I'm not looking at a DVD
of a guy with his name."
Like, are you kidding me?
Is this for real?
Then he watched.
He really liked my game,
and he offered me
a scholarship.
- People started to
realize that his last name
is spelled F-U-C-K.
There started to
become questions.
- They have
like the scoreboard,
and right beside,
they have like the last name
of each player with the
number showing to everybody.
So they were like,
"Um, I'm not gonna put
like your F last name."
I was like, "Come on.
Just use my last name."
- In past generations,
people who came to America
with a name that sounded
really unusual or embarrassing
in English, would
typically change it.
That has virtually disappeared
over the past 50 years.
Today, people do want
to keep their names,
keep their connection
to their heritage,
even if that name
raises some eyebrows.
- [Craig] Gui's proud
of his heritage.
He's proud of his last name.
We didn't feel it was
something we should
take away from him.
So we just felt we should
go with his full name.
- [Narrator] So what
happened when they stopped
obsessing about Gui's
name and just treated it
like anyone else's?
Whose problem was it that
it had a sexual meaning
in just one of the 6,500
spoken languages in the world?
- In the first game of
the second semester,
when they saw there
on the scoreboard
my last last name,
they were like,
"Oh, my God.
"Look at that.
They finally put it."
Like they're giving you
the pride, let's say.
- I think it's fantastic.
He's standing up
for his family line,
his bloodline.
- [Craig] All it really did was
just bring us closer together,
and knowing more
about our teammate,
our family,
and our brotherhood.
- You're too big.
Fookie too big.
Come on, Fookie.
- You're too skinny,
come on!
- As in so much of life,
I think we all think
the grass is greener
in terms of our own names.
Any John Jones is going
to be a little bit envious
with someone with an usual name,
and someone with a name
that they always have
to spell a dozen times
is gonna be envious
of John Jones.
- Having my last name in
North America changed my life.
It feels awesome, of course.
Like you feel important.
You feel like now
people know you.
- My father was interviewed
for a national newspaper
for schools when he was
probably six or seven years old.
Apparently, it
happened to be noticed
by someone at Disney.
Disney contacted
my grandparents
through a telegram,
and also sent a drawing
from Disney itself.
- [Donald III] It's Donald Duck
in a bed looking at a mirror
that he doesn't know in
the dark at his eyes,
and takes a gun out
and shoots the mirror,
and then turns the light
on and see that he's
shot his mirror.
I thought
it was really interesting
that it was drawn by Disney.
I thought that was really cool.
- I went into
the non-profit world
in raising money
I found that with a name
like Smoki Bacon,
when I would talk
to the person that
would direct me
to the executive,
and I would say, you know,
"Just tell him that
Smoki Bacon is calling,"
and they would say,
"No, no, no.
"We don't want
the name of the company.
"What is your name?"
And the person that
I would be talking to
would start laughing and
plug me into the executive.
It branded me
before I realized
what branding was all about.
Now everybody is
branding everything.
And I realized,
oh, my God,
I branded myself
several decades ago
with Smoki Bacon.
- I got a letter
once in the mail,
and it was from a stadium
in Soviet Georgia.
And evidently,
the stadium had 50,000 seats,
but they clearly
meant this letter
for the other
Paul McCartney.
But a little part of me
thought it would be kind of fun
to go over there and see if
they knew the difference,
and maybe stand up
on stage and sing,
"I'm A Little Teapot,
Short and Stout,"
and see if I could
entertain the people.
Here is my handle
Here is my spout
Two notes.
Two notes.
- [loud piano note]
- That is impressive.
But obviously, if I did that,
I'd probably be in a prison
in Siberia right now.
- My husband and I were
at Woodman's in Ipswich,
and we were walking around,
and we saw Larry David,
and I looked up
and there he was,
and I went,
"Hello, Larry David.
"My name is Linda Slutsky."
The way I said
my name was really funny.
Went I'm Linda Slutsky.
I just blurted it out that way.
I don't know why.
And he just came over
like he was my best friend,
and started talking to me.
And it was really great,
because he wouldn't
stop talking,
and then they were producing,
and his assistant
kept saying,
"You have to go, Mr. David.
"You have to go."
And he wouldn't go.
He just wanted to just
keep talking to me.
- Well, my current
girlfriend likes it
because she's named
after a drink.
- All my whole life,
I always got not picked on,
but people would make jokes
and when I met Al,
it wasn't like that.
It was always about his name.
A lot of people make jokes
about both of
our names together,
'cause it's like a full meal.
He's the pasta,
I'm the juice.
When we first met,
he actually told me he had
a picture of the two of us,
and I couldn't remember
a time that he,
we'd taken a picture together.
And he actually went
to the grocery store,
and Sunny D was right next
to the al dente pasta,
so we took a picture,
and that was our first
picture together.
- You know, I think
I was pulled over
for a speeding ticket
at one time in my life,
and when I gave the license
to the officer,
he looked at it,
and he was like,
"Are you serious?"
And I said, "Yeah."
And he said, "It might
be your lucky day today.
"I might just give you a
warning because you're a Putz."
And I said, "I'll take it."
- I was glad that we
could carry the name on.
That really made me happy.
- I would hope that I could
name my son Donald Duck,
if we have children.
- And if I had a common name
of Smith, Jones, Sullivan,
I don't mean to make
fun of anybody's name,
but you know, I would probably
be a little disappointed.
- Jeff Studley,
that's a good name.
I think every male
in this movie
probably wishes
they had that name.
But then again,
you gotta deliver.
Kinda like Linda Slutsky.
You know, they're expecting
a little something
if they're out on
a date with Studley.
As opposed to going out
with Howard Schmuck.
You know, I think we're all
a product of our environment.
it's gonna shape you.
- Having the last name of Gay,
and experiencing that,
you know, kinda being
picked on for a little while
for a few years has
made me less prejudiced,
more understanding
of other people.
- I hope this movie
brings this issue out
more into society.
I mean, I don't think
there's ever gonna be
a Hall of Fame for us.
You know, maybe
something like this
will prevent a lot of,
more bullying
in the lives
of these people.
- I think it's really important
that it's brought to light,
because when people go around
making fun of other people
for something that is
really out of their control,
it can really affect
somebody on a deeper level
that others probably
wouldn't be aware of.
- [Narrator] So at
the beginning of the film,
we posed a question.
When people ask,
"Who are you?"
we answer with a name,
but is that who we are?
After all the phone calls,
after all the interviews,
personally, I like
the idea that a name
is not who we are,
or what we are,
it's something we have.
It belongs to us,
so we can use it in
any way we choose.
Many of the individuals
that we've met
have made a conscious
decision to use their names
in a way that
enriches their lives,
both professionally
and personally.
- My name led me to
become a stand-up comic
and a humorist.
Much of it was embracing
the peculiar aspect
of the name.
People would often use
that as a way to attack me.
But I found that as
something that I use instead.
Outgoingness and positiveness
instead of introversion.
- I don't need
business cards anymore,
because everybody
remembers my name.
- Got a lot of customers
that I had met years ago
that either moved
or had forgotten me,
and saw the commercials
and remembered me.
- I look on it as
an opportunity to be able
to make connections with people
that I would never have
had the opportunity
to make connections with.
- It kind of opens me up.
It makes me more of a person.
It makes me more alive.
- It definitely
made me a little bit
less sensitive
as I got older.
- Drawing attention, frankly,
to what I do,
which I think is important,
and where I do it,
in a cancer center that's
trying to develop
new treatments.
I think the more attention
to that, the better.
- I think it's great that
they've come through it,
and become better
people because of it.
- That's gonna build
their self-confidence,
and provide them with
a sense of strength
that they've made
it through something
that's been really
difficult for them.
- Every person should be
proud of the name they have.
- I think, you know, you're
pretty open to create
who you wanna be.
Your name really shouldn't
define who you are.
- There is no
single perfect name.
There's just the way
that you take your name,
and turn it into your life.
- When you have
an oddball name like I have,
if you do something good,
you're remembered for it.
- I would recommend
anybody out there
to change their name
to Paul McCartney.
- It's an unusual name, yes.
But we have a lot
of fun with it.
- My name is Cockburn.
The C and the K
are, indeed, silent.
- I'm proud of my name.
It is what I am.
- I will have kids, and they
will have my last name.
I don't care.
- Two to three times a week,
somebody says to me,
"That's a great name.
I wish I had that name."
I would not change this name
for anything in the world.
[upbeat bluesy rock music]
- [Automated voice]
Please enjoy this Verizon
ring-back tone while
your party is reached.
[classical music]
- I think
this is public domain.
- [Ben] It started
at an early age.
Kids were always
starting to tease me.
It started with Ben Mangina,
and then it went
to just Mangina.
And Mangina, I didn't know
that it had any
reference to, you know,
any parts of
the female anatomy.
I didn't really put
two and two together
until I started getting
more into middle school.
- And can you tell me how
you introduce yourself?
- [Ben] Yeah, just hi,
this is Ben Mangeena.
- Oh, I thought you said
it was pronounced Mangina.
- [Ben] No, it's Mangeena.
- Oh, it's Mangeena.
- Can I say Mangeena?
- [Co-Worker] No.
- [Ben] So it's been
a lifelong correction
for people.
My kids, I tell 'em
that it's something
that they're gonna
hear probably for
the rest of their life,
and just not show other
kids that it bothers them,
and then, that way,
it'll start going away.
- Well, thank you so much
for participating in this.
We really appreciate it.
- [Ben] Well,
you're very welcome.
I'm glad I had
the opportunity to do so.