I recently experienced one of the bigger letdowns of my life. No, this was not when I looked down my pants and realized that I was not the second coming of Lexington Steele or when my therapist told me to give up on my lifelong dream of being the first astronaut to land a Saturn automobile on a ring of Saturn strictly for irony sake – but when I experienced my first true celebrity identity mix up. I received an e-mail from my beloved New York Jets inviting me to a meet and greet luncheon with Brad Smith. I was thrilled, this was my chance to sit down and talk X’s and O’s with Gang Green’s wildcat specialist and special teams extraordinaire, however when I called the RSVP number to confirm I was hit with a heaping dose of reality. Brad Smith is a fucking ticket salesman for the Jets just trying to convince me to upgrade my season tickets and the whole ploy was to get my attention by enticing me with a lunch with a real life Jet. That whole incident really chapped my ass, but it also got me to feel some sympathy for the ticket salesman because that dude is probably greeted with disappointment wherever he goes. With that in mind, I though of some semi-well known people who are linked to major celebrities by a common name. Check it out…
10. Howard Johnson
This one just confused me like crazy when I was a kid. I only knew Howard Johnson as the third basemen for the New York Mets from 1986-93. Yet this mustached ball-player had his name on like a billion hotels and restaurants. I couldn’t comprehend how HoJo could juggle playing baseball and managing a famous hotel chain. And if he could do it, why wasn’t there the Kevin Elster Inn or the Tim Teufel Motel? And why would HoJo need to play baseball if he was sitting on this gigantic hotel fortune? Later, I learned that there were two Howard Johnsons and that the third-basemen was not the guy whose name was on all these shitty restaurants. Just a case of mistaken identity.
9. Howard K. Stern
The late Anna Nicole Smith’s parasitic lawyer checks in at #9 of our countdown. Howard K. is a classic example of the quasi-famous celebrity who must use a middle initial in order to distinguish himself from a more famous celebrity. Another example of this is Vanessa A. Williams, an actress from the original Melrose Place, who is, in all ways, inferior to the Vanessa Williams. Howard K. Stern accompanies Anna Nicole Smith wherever she goes, including multiple trips to the Howard Stern radio show. There, K. Stern would routinely get abused by the real Howard for not living up to the name and being in love with Anna Nicole. With the news of Stern being the father of Smith’s newborn girl, looks like the “King of All Media” was right about both.
8. Jason Alexander
In 2004, when it was announced that Britney Spears had married Jason Alexander, I immediately imagined Britney standing at the altar with a stocky George Costanza. Rather, Britney tied the knot with this sorry sack, a marriage that lasted a mere 55 hours. Britney annulled the marriage after she woke up from her Vegas alcohol daze and realized that Jason Alexander was merely one of her trashy friends. I imagine that when the real Jason Alexander caught wind of this story he reacted the same way George did when Jerry’s date in the Hamptons, Rachel, accidentally saw his shrunken penis: “If she thinks that’s me, she’s under a complete misapprehension! That was not me, Jerry! That was not me!”
7. Paul Simon
Former U.S. Senator Paul Simon ranks #7 on the list. The late Democrat from Illinois shared his name with a famous singer who is way more famous. Simon is the only dude on the countdown who is no longer with us as he died in 2003 due to complications with a heart surgery. The senator, unlike the singer, refused to be called Al, or anything other than Paul Simon. Senator Simon is one of the few men on the countdown whose name does not really allow for a shortening or a nickname. Senator Paul Simon and singer Paul Simon made a Saturday Night Live appearance together in 2002.
6. Milton Bradley
The parents of this Mariners outfielder obviously never played Candyland, Operation or Battleship. Had they, the Bradleys would have known their son would would be inextricably linked to most famous American game maker. Bradley, who owns the most uncommon shared name on the list, should get some credit for not adopting a nickname that would differentiate him from the board game pioneer. The original Milton Bradley broke on to the gaming scene in 1860 when he invented “The Checkered Game of Life” (now just called “Life”). This Milton Bradley broke onto the baseball scene in 2000 and gained notoriety by throwing bottles at fans and calling an L.A. Times reporter an “uncle Tom”. Bradley’s namesake, like the upcoming #2 entry on the countdown, crosses racial lines.
Stay tuned for the top 5 D-list to A-list celebrity name discrepancies coming at you on Wednesday.