Someone like Bansky or Daft Punk, for example. Everyone knows your artist name and your work, but virtually no one recognizes you on the street and you can check into hotels or use your real name without most people noticing.
Kevin Hart was known as Lil’ Kev the Bastard until one of his early mentor told him to drop that nickname.
This is also just a monumentally bad name. In comedy alone, there are plenty of people with nicknames or not-their-actual name:
- Louis C.K. (Louis Székely)
- Jon Stewart (Jon Leibowitz)
- Larry the Cable Guy (Daniel Lawrence Whitney)
- Mel Brooks (Melvyn Kaminsky)
- Gene Wilder (Jerome Silberman)
- Tim Allen (Timothy Alan Dick)
- Rodney Dangerfield (Jacob Cohen)
- Jamie Foxx (Eric Bishop)
Stewart says the name change has still invited criticism from people who think he made the switch to mask his Jewish background. "People always view it through the prism of ethnic identity," he said. "I hate myself for a lot of reasons, but not because I'm Jewish."
There are simpler explanations at hand for stage names, such as being easier to spell, remember and pronounce. In the case of Louis, "C.K." is approximately the English pronunciation of his last name.
And there tend to be specific motivations. Tim Allen's case is apparent enough. Larry and Rodney wanted stage names to reflect a character. Dangerfield for a guy that never gets a break.
In the case of Jon, he wanted to distance himself from his father.
Mel Brooks: "During his teens, Melvyn Kaminsky officially changed his name to Mel Brooks, influenced by his mother's maiden name Brookman, after being confused with the trumpeter Max Kaminsky."
Jamie Foxx: "When he found that female comedians were often called first to perform, he changed his name to Jamie Foxx, feeling that it was a name ambiguous enough to disallow any biases. He chose his surname as a tribute to the black comedian Redd Foxx."
Up until fairly recently, I had no idea Charlie Sheen's birth name was Ramon Estevez.
Employers are probably biased towards hiring a "John Watson" over a "John Adeyemi" or even a "John Kaminski", all other things being equal. So people change their names. It's pretty common. I doubt show business is any different.
Who says they started with very different assumptions?
Order of preference:
1. White non-jew
2. White jew
He changed his name so he could get by more easily as the top-ranked preference. For her, a non-jew white name would be hard to distinguish from black. She chose the name that more affirmatively promoted her above the lowest ranked spot.
I doubt either of them would disagree with the above ranking order, though.
Black Jew is rare and intriguing in a way that Black or Jew alone is not.
It's rather rich considering Trump's grandfather changed the family name from Drumpf to Trump.