Name association chains

On this blog on the 13th, some examples of a type of phrasal overlap portmanteau sometimes known as name chains: Billy Zane Grey, Billy Joel Grey, Fletcher Christian Grey. On reading this, Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky pointed me to a different way in which names can be chained, in a series of associations that’s sometimes used as a comedy routine. Elizabeth then sent me a wonderful example from Neil Gaiman’s Tumblr account.

The chain is set off by this goof from Amanda Palmer:

Amanda Palmer: fan of neil gaiman? he’s the sandman guy right? been meaning to check him out

I’ll get to the name associations in a moment. But first, an explanation for why this is a goof, from Gaiman’s Wikipedia page and then Palmer’s:

Palmer and Gaiman in 2011

On Gaiman:

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman (born Neil Richard Gaiman, 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman [note the Sandman reference in Palmer’s posting above] and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.

… Gaiman is married to songwriter and performer Amanda Palmer, with whom he has an open marriage… They were legally married on 2 January 2011. The wedding took place in the parlour of writers Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon. On marrying Palmer, he took her middle name, MacKinnon, as one of his names.

And on Palmer:

Amanda MacKinnon Gaiman Palmer (born April 30, 1976), sometimes known as Amanda Fucking Palmer (AFP), is an American singer-songwriter who is the lead vocalist, pianist, and lyricist of the duo The Dresden Dolls. She performs as a solo artist, and was also one-half of the duo Evelyn Evelyn, and the lead singer and songwriter of Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra.

And then the chain of comic misidentifications, from various hands, following on Palmer’s suggestion that Neil Gaiman is the Sandman guy:

Nah, I’m pretty sure he’s the dude that sings “Sweet Caroline”

Nah, you’re thinking of Neil Diamond. Neil Gaiman was the first man to walk on the moon.

That’s Neil Armstrong. Neil Gaiman played Dr. Horrible in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

That’s Neil Patrick Harris. Neil Gaiman is the astrophysicist from TV with shows like Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

That’s Neil deGrasse Tyson. Neil Gaiman is the author of Snow Crash and the Baroque Cycle

That’s Neil Stevenson. Neil Gaiman sang ‘Heart of Gold’ from the TV album ‘Harvest’

That’s Neil Young. Neil Gaiman performed the Father Ted theme tune with his band The Divine Comedy.

That’s Neil Hannon. You’re thinking of the physicist that won the Nobel Prize in 1922.

That’s Niels Bohr. You’re thinking of Fras[i]er’s brother.

That’s Niles Crane. You’re thinking of the fertile crest in North Africa whence came the Egyptian empire.

That’s the Nile Delta. You’re thinking of the Ohio State linebacker drafted in 2000 by the Packers.

That’s Na’il Diggs. You’re thinking of the guy who wrote The Young Ones. [actually a character on the soap opera The Young Ones]

No, that was Neil Wheedon Watkins Pye. Neil Gaiman wrote A Long Day’s Journey Into Night. [no, that was Eugene O’Neill]

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