Mister Blankey McBlankerton
August 30, 2007 5:18 AM   Subscribe

My most frivolous AskMe ever: OK you Smarty McSmartertons... Where did that type of "name" start. You know... "Mister Blanky McBlankerton." Our upstairs neighbor was bring heavy-footed yesterday, and I was talking to my daughter about it. I referred to him as "Mister Stompy McStomperton." I've heard that kind of thing more and more lately. Where did it originate?

The only example I can think of right now is on the improv show Thank God You're Here, the host referred to Dave Foley, the judge, as "Mr. Judgey Judgerton" or something like that. I know it's gotten into my head through repeated exposure, and it seems fairly recent. Of course I couldn't even begin to know what to Google, so I turn to you Mister and Ms. Cultured McCulturetons, Funny McFunnertons, and Knowie McKnowalltons. Any clues? Thanks. If you help, then tonight I can be Mister Sleepy McSleeperton.
posted by The Deej to Society & Culture (47 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I think it might have been Mission Hill.
posted by zixyer at 5:26 AM on August 30, 2007

It was something Richard Curtis and Ben Elton did a lot of in Blackadder - 'He's madder than Mad Jack McMad, the winner of this year's Mr Madman competition.' (that was from 1987). The full scripts are here.
posted by jonathanbell at 5:29 AM on August 30, 2007

My first recollection of it is from Jon Stewart referring to Jewy McJewerson, but this post from the American Dialect Society's listserv suggests it's been around since the mid-90s, and may have been popularized by the Simpsons.
posted by katemonster at 5:42 AM on August 30, 2007

I could be wrong, but I think I remember hearing one of the girls on the Brady Bunch call someone "Stinky McStinkface". So that would have been the '70s.
posted by sandra_s at 5:44 AM on August 30, 2007

I think I picked up the habit from "Friends" -- The One Where Ross Dates a Student. Obviously it's older than that but, as Greg Nog posits, that may be what launched its popularity.
posted by alyxstarr at 5:56 AM on August 30, 2007

Response by poster: Wow, you people have nothing better to think of this early in the morning? Good, then it's not just me. Thanks for the good answers so far. It did sound "Friends-ish" to me. But the last year, I've either been more tuned in to it, or it's reached critical mass.
posted by The Deej at 5:58 AM on August 30, 2007

Not sure where it started but one obvious progenitor is "Ronald McDonald."
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:00 AM on August 30, 2007

Pretty sure Blackadder is considerably earlier than the other examples here (apart from the Brady Bunch), and they used to use it in literally every. single. episode. (and it never failed to make me wince).
posted by bifter at 6:02 AM on August 30, 2007

They used it on Will and Grace from time to time, which also may have pushed it along.
posted by hermitosis at 6:11 AM on August 30, 2007

Remember before Friends, when everyone was very badly impersonating Rob Schneider as Richard the Weirdo Copy Machine Guy from SNL? Yeah, I hated it too. Anyway, I think those skits are what thrust the Mister Blanky McBlankerton into the popular culture.

Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. My man Bobby. Makin' some copies. Copy, copy, copy. What are ya copyin' today, Bobby?
Bobby, Bobby, Bobby.
Bobby, the Mayor of McBobbyVille.
Your Bobbitude.
Mister Bobby McBoberton.
The Bobmeister.
posted by iconomy at 6:22 AM on August 30, 2007

I always attributed it to the Simpsons episode where Homer changes his name (for a while) to Max Power. At the end of the ep, he mentions to Marge that she should change her name to Busty St. Clair, Chesty LaRue, or Hootie McBoob. It looks like that episode aired in 1999, so that may well be later than Friends and Blackadder (both are likely influences on the Simpsons writers).
posted by Rock Steady at 6:27 AM on August 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

Richard the Weirdo Copy Machine Guy

Of course. iconomy is now Mr. Reference McReferency.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:28 AM on August 30, 2007

It's funnier when you use two different but similar words, like in your example, Bootsy McStomperton.

Or Eaty McFillface.

Or Smokey McCancerton.

Or Laughy McCackleston.
posted by bryanjbusch at 6:29 AM on August 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

ya, or Hurty McGillicutty.
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:32 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I had thought about asking this question a little while ago.

I think this is older than what people are suggesting, as the source I thought of was Gerald McBoing-Boing, a cartoon from '50/'51.
posted by that girl at 6:48 AM on August 30, 2007

Another thought (although not entirely the same) is from the "Space Mutiny" episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. In this episode the cast of MST3k gives the lead character various names such as Hack Blowfist, Big McLargeHuge, Buff Drinklot and Punch Rockgroin.

This is very likely not an answer, but another source that perhaps helped to spread the trend.
posted by boreddusty at 7:09 AM on August 30, 2007

Response by poster: I loved when Mystery Science Theater would do the different but similar names. Gristle McThornbody! Bolt Vanderhuge!

But I didn't equate that with the Blankey McBlankerton meme.

The Space Mutiny name riffing was the best, by the way. The complete list of names for the beefy main character:
Slab Bulkhead, Bridge Largemeat, Punt Speedchunk, Butch Deadlift, Hold Bigflank, Splint Chesthair, Flint Ironstag, Bolt Vanderhuge, Thick McRunfast, Blast Hardcheese, Buff Drinklots, Crunch Slamchest, Fist Rockbone, Stump Beefnaught, Smash Slamjaw, Punch Rockgroin, Buck Plankchest, Stump Junkman, Dirk Hardpeck, Rip Steakface, Slate Slabrock, Crud Bonemeal, Brick Hardmeat, Rip Slagcheek, Punch Sideiron, Gristle McThornbody, Slate Fistcrunch, Buff Hardback, Bob Johnson(Oh, wait...), Blast Thickneck, Crunch Buttsteak, Slab Squatthrust, Lump Beefbroth, Touch Rustrod, Beef Blastbody, Big McLargehuge, Smoke Manmuscle, Beat Punchmeat, Hack Blowfist, Roll Fizzlebeef.

posted by The Deej at 7:13 AM on August 30, 2007 [11 favorites]

Nothing to contribute, except that's we've also named a neighbor Stompy McStomperson. Be on the watch for Slammy Slammerson next.
posted by Benjy at 7:13 AM on August 30, 2007

Rock Steady and boreddusty have the same theories as I do.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:23 AM on August 30, 2007

I'm certain this question was asked before, but its a tough think to seach without the right Mc-whatever. The previous answer pointed to a source that was pretty old. Like a 1920s book or cartoon. This seems fitting as the whole harvard/simpson school of comedy lifts a lot from the "burns-era."
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:42 AM on August 30, 2007

Like zixyer, the first place I heard it was Mission Hill. Specifically, someone being called "Pimpy McPimpenheimer".
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:55 AM on August 30, 2007

Remember before Friends, when everyone was very badly impersonating Rob Schneider as Richard the Weirdo Copy Machine Guy from SNL? Yeah, I hated it too...

Yep. And thus, my nickname was born. I believe it began as "Lynnster of Lynntown" or something.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:00 AM on August 30, 2007

I'd bet one of the reasons you're noticing it more in the last year or so is because of Grey's Anatomy. Patrick Dempsey's character is regularly referred as "McDreamy" by the interns (and everyone else, actually). When his hot bad boy friend showed up, he was quickly dubbed "McSteamy."
posted by natabat at 8:02 AM on August 30, 2007

I think it's the Simpsons, but I believe it was the 1991 episode "Flaming Moe" which included a reference to "Tipsy McStagger.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:06 AM on August 30, 2007

My first encounter with Funnyname McFunnyname was reading a blog (2004-2005ish?) that referred to GWB as "Chimpy McAsshat". Still cracks me the hell up everytime I think of it.
posted by spinturtle at 8:13 AM on August 30, 2007

I'm not sure where it originated, but I think Ross's Smelly VonBrownshirt, and Cutey McPretty popularized it.
posted by Industrial PhD at 8:16 AM on August 30, 2007

No word on origin, but in my house it's constructed "Stinky McStinklestein"... you know... the famous Scottish Jew...
posted by Andrhia at 9:04 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror X
First Aired: Sunday October 31, 1999

Guy: Name please!
Homer: Certainly. I'm.. the piano genius from the.. movie Shine!
Guy: Uh huh, and your name is?
Homer: Uuh, Shiny McShine?
posted by Otis at 9:06 AM on August 30, 2007

I concur. I think the first reference was Brady Bunch, and it was popularized by Friends, with help from The Simpsons.

And yes, at work we've given a few of these names out as well (the guy who is always staring at people is Starey Starerson). Mostly they follow they rule x-y, x-erson.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:19 AM on August 30, 2007

It's been a long time since I've read Douglas Coupland's Generation X, but wasn't this phenomenon described in the marginalia? I'm not talking about "McJob"...there was an entry disdaining joke-like objects, such as adding a sarcastic Ye Olde when talking about a place, and I could have sworn the Name McName construction was another one.

Generation X came out in 1991, and if this was considered tired schtick then, it certainly had been around for at least a few years previous.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:25 AM on August 30, 2007

I've been wondering this myself, sort of. Weirdly, I always associate it with the Daily Show when they did a piece (I think) about when the NYC St. Patrick's day parade disallowed a gay group from participating. TDS joked about the group's mascot being a grouchy-looking Leprechaun named "Fisty McCramminhands," which just about put me in the hospital.
posted by Skot at 9:36 AM on August 30, 2007

It's a combination of The Simpsons and the Daily Show for me, but I don't think it originated with either (particularly after reading this thread).
posted by sparkletone at 9:58 AM on August 30, 2007

I'm not particularly proud to admit that I've seen each episode of The Brady Bunch enough times that I can ID it before the "Directed By" pops up on the screen. I'd be interested to find out more about which episode folks think they heard "Stinky McStinkface" on, because it does not ring any sort of bell with me at all. And "Stinkface" is NOT a word the Brady kids would typically use, even to describe mean ol' Buddy Hinton. The worst epithet I can recall is Greg saying that Warren Melaney was on "the top of my crumb list, the bottom of my crumb list, and he's every crumb in between."
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:17 AM on August 30, 2007 [5 favorites]

Stinky McStinkface
posted by Skot at 10:34 AM on August 30, 2007

True dat Oriole Adams.

I remember Greg calling someone a "stinker" once and Mrs. Brady saying "Now Greg, you know I don't like that word."
posted by zach braff's mixtape at 10:46 AM on August 30, 2007

A much more recent example, but don't forget our very own MeTa: Shooty McGunpants!
posted by rtha at 10:50 AM on August 30, 2007

On the YouTube (about 3:30).
posted by oneirodynia at 10:58 AM on August 30, 2007

One night after dinner my grandparents were teaching my brother and me how to play bridge. We were all sitting in the living room, maybe at two card tables or maybe only the grandkids and grandparents were playing cards and the baby boomers were relaxing on the couch. Anyhow, we were talking about a guy--I have no memory of who or why we were talking about him, but I think we must've been trying to come up with his name. All I remember clearly is my grandfather suddenly coming out with "Randy McSprandy" and everybody starting to laugh. It wasn't that it was so hilarious or anything, but it was surprising because wasn't the kind of joke he usually made.

Actually, I think Randy McSprandy is inherently hilarious. But it only brings the sounds-funny goodness, not the name-reveals-personality element we see in the example of the angry gay leprechaun, Fisty McCramminhands, about whom I hadn't heard before and for whom I am so grateful right now. Randy McSprandy is not an exact example of the phenomenon described in the question, but I think it's probably tangentially related. My grandfather never saw Friends or Blackadder or The Brady Bunch, and if he had, he wouldn't have allowed them to infect his speech: his natural disdain would've formed a protective barrier. I just bring up Randy McSprandy because my grandfather predates all posited sources of the trend, and yet he coined it: Randy McSprandy. Maybe this is deeper, broader, more significant, more ancient than we think. Maybe it's something that bridges divides and unites us. Something inherent in English that drives its speakers to create amusing McNames. Maybe... maybe we have always McSprandied.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:03 AM on August 30, 2007

My point of reference is probably mostly TDS and The Simpsons.

posted by birdie birdington at 12:45 PM on August 30, 2007

Because if it's not Scottish, it's crap?

I don't know, but I've caught myself doing this an awful lot lately and I have NO idea why I started, so there you go.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:16 PM on August 30, 2007

Oh, hey, how about Filthy McNasty? The earliest reference I can find is a 1961 song by Horace Silver. There are, of course, the pubs in London, etc...does anyone know if they predate 1961?

Anecdotal evidence would suggest that there is an ur-Filthy McNasty out there somewhere...my father occasionally called one of his drinking buddies by the name, and it's doubtful he was knowingly quoting Silver or the name of some British pub.

[slams fist on table] MeFites, I tell you we must find the origin of Filthy McNasty! It may just be the key to unravelling this entire mystery!
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:44 PM on August 30, 2007

Sitcom writers do this as a shorthand for defining throwaway characters. Instead of trying to remember that Phoebe's blind date "Joe Smith" had a disgusting perspiration problem, they could just say "Sweaty McSweaterson tries to buy Phoebe a drink." Poor Sweaty would get a real name when the script was written.
posted by roger ackroyd at 3:17 PM on August 30, 2007

First time I ever heard it was the one time I ever watched "King of Queens:"

Fatty McButterpants
posted by Brittanie at 12:04 AM on August 31, 2007

Not too long ago, there was an ask me referencing the LOLCATS phenomenon back to the '20s or thereabouts, so it wouldn't surprise me if this was something of the same. After all, it's a pretty simple premise: refer to someone by a fake name constructed from two words that describe a single character trait.

The reason I'm tempted to say it's going to be early in the previous century is the "Mc" part; back in the day, being Irish/Scottish wasn't quite a walk in the park, and so tagging someone with that ethnicity was an additional insult.
posted by davejay at 12:07 AM on August 31, 2007

I picked it up from Sars at Tomato Nation, but damned if I can find a specific example at the moment.....
posted by Space Kitty at 1:51 PM on August 31, 2007

Response by poster: After all, it's a pretty simple premise: refer to someone by a fake name constructed from two words that describe a single character trait.

Wow davejay. Now it's not funny at all. ;)

Great answers here. I'll get around to marking some "best" soon. It seems like it has been around for a long time, but some recent usage in popular shows brought it to the tipping point in the last several years.
posted by The Deej at 1:59 PM on August 31, 2007

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