I had a guest post recently by Larry Ackerman, who wrote about his use of the name Larry instead of Laurence. It was an intriguing idea – how, when you have a name that is easily reduced to a nickname (such as Larry), it is oftentimes bestowed upon you with or without your blessing. Most people eventually come to a point where they accept it.
So you can imagine my interest in a recent podcast of the Adam Carolla show where he interviewed Laurence Fishburne and they actually talked about names! Laurence Fishburne has another one of my favorite kind of name change stories: He actually reclaimed his name. This is similar to Barack Obama, who decided in his early 20’s to discontinue the use of his life-long nickname, Barry, carried down from his father. Laurence Fishburne reveals in the interview with Adam Carolla that some people gave him a hard time about the change, but he stuck with it, and Laurence is who he is now. Below is an excerpt of the interview between Laurence and Adam where they’re talking about names. Or you can listen to the entire Adam Carolla podcast with interviews of selected cast from the movie, Armored.
Excerpt of Adam Carolla interviewing Laurence Fishburne (12.4.09)
AC: Don’t you hate it when people do that thing where they go, “Oh, here today gone tomorrow” or “This business. They give it to you and they take it away.” You’re skilled. That’s why you’re working.
LF: Well, thank you. I’m blessed. I have been blessed with talent. I have tried to take care of it. I have tried to take what I do seriously, but I don’t take my self seriously. I think people kind of confuse the idea that because I play serious people that I take myself seriously and I don’t. I mean, I used to be called Larry and now I’m called Laurence. And I think some people were like, “Well, what’s the mater with Larry?” Larry’s just not my name anymore and it doesn’t feel like me.
AC: Plus, Larry the Cable Guy f-ed that up for everyone named Larry. There should be a class action lawsuit for guys named Larry; that fat hillbilly screwing your name up.
LF: Right? He’s a funny dude though, man.
AC: Yeah, but historically, Larry Tate, Larry the Cable Guy. There’s been a lot of bad Larry’s out there.
LF: Yeah, there’s been a lot of bad Larry’s out there
AC: Of course, there’s Laurence of Arabia.
LF: Yeah, there’s Laurence of Arabia. There’s Laurence Olivier. There’s Laurence Fishburne.
AC: There’s a million good Laurences and a lot of shitty Larry’s. So I’d go with Laurence too. I might change my name to Laurence.
LF: You think? Laurence Carolla?
AC: I think I might get some work if I was Laurence Carolla!
LF: I don’t know. You look more like a Lancelot to me.
AC: Lancelot Carolla. Who is starring in that Harvey Korman film. Lancelot Carolla.
LF: You’ve got the eyebrows. You’ve got the hair. You’ve got a kind of a Lancelot feel to you.
AC: I like that.
LF: I do too.
LF: Can we get him a lance?
AC: Lancelot Olivier Carolla.
LF: That’s what I’m talking about!
AC: I could WORK with that name!
LF: That flows. It’s poetry.
AC: Listen! I think there is a lot to the names! You know, god bless Minnie Driver, but if her name was Fran Hershberg, I don’t think she’d be working as much. People like her name. I think people like Minnie Driver.
LF: She’s got a great name. Minnie’s got a grace face and is a really, really gifted woman.
AC: I know.There’s a lot of good actresses out there. I just feel like that name…it just pushes her over the top.
LF: It does. Because she’s Minnie and she’s like Amazonian in size.
AC: Yeah. It’s ironic. It’s like calling a fat guy Stretch.