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The Same-ish Names
Not twinsies, but at least cousinsies.
Don Hauptman shared his book proposal with me on the topic of “The Same Name Game,” and added, “For me, the most fun lies in the punny and otherwise weird instances, such as Henry Gibson/Henrik Ibsen.” Well, Don, today’s installment should be a fun one!
All this also puts me in mind of the exchange from Friends I’ve embedded below. Its central punchline relates to two rhyming names: 1977-1982 TV series Lou Grant—kind of a dated reference to put in the mouth of a twentysomething, even when this episode first aired—and the more contemporary romcom star Hugh Grant. (And it’s not the only aspect of this clip that feels dated now, but that’s another talk.)
As well received as Lou Grant was in its day, modern comedy writers should probably be looking for more recent show-biz references. Like these…
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is creator and star of the TV series Fleabag and creator of Killing Eve; she also appeared in this year’s Indiana Jones movie. Phoebe Bridgers is an indie rock star with four Grammy nominations. Waller-Bridge directed the video for Bridgers’ “Savior Complex,” shown below.
Robin Williams was a stand-up comedian and actor known for lightning-quick impressions. Robbie Williams is a singer-songwriter who found early fame with Take That before going his own way: his biggest hit is “Angels.”
Jay-Z is one of the world’s most famous rappers. He resides in California. G-Eazy is California’s most famous white rapper. This is not a coincidence: G-Eazy is a huge Jay-Z fan, and Jay-Z once greeted him by rapping G-Eazy’s own lyrics.
Halle Berry was the first Black actress to win a Best Actress Oscar: she’s had many other roles and has made a recent push toward directing. Halle Bailey is a Black actress who took the title role in The Little Mermaid and appeared in the TV series Grown-ish.
Sasha Cohen was a figure skater who did a stint as an actress, combining the two talents for Blades of Glory. (Retired from both fields, she now works at Morgan Stanley.) Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and actor known for personas like Borat, Bruno, and Ali G.
Mike Myers is an actor and moviemaker best known for his Austin Powers and Shrek performances. Michael Myers is the masked serial killer from the Halloween movies. (And the sole fictional character on this list.)
Feel free to let me know what I missed!