Celebrity ‘Name’ Game on CBS Sounds Familiar

Kathy Griffin and . . . Kathy Griffin on "Same Name" (Photo: CBS)

This new CBS show “Same Name” reminds me of a story – well, actually, a few of them.

In this new series, premiering Sunday (July 24) at 9/8c, celebrities meet “regular people” (as the show refers to non-celebrities) who have the same name and swap lives with them for a while. For example, in the premiere, David Hasselhoff switches lives with some guy who’s also named David Hasselhoff.

Future episodes will feature two Kathy Griffins, a pair of Mike Tysons (the “regular” Tyson happens to be a nurse – a female one) and two Reggie Bushes. Sounds like a pretty thin premise on which to hang a TV show, but we have to admit we’re interested in learning what life is like when you have a famous name.

In the “Same Name” premiere, among other things, we learn that the “regular” David Hasselhoff has difficulty making hotel and restaurant reservations because workers at such establishments think he’s messing with them.

However, that’s not always the case for famously named “regular” folk, which brings us to story No. 1.

The one about “Donald Trump”: When we first heard about this “Same Name” show, we remembered that Oprah Winfrey did this on her talk show this past season when Trump and his entire family appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (except for two ex-wives). On that show, Oprah arranged a meeting between The Donald and a “regular” Donald Trump, and the “regular” one said his famous name was a help, not a hindrance, in the making of reservations.

Where else have we heard “same name” stories? In two other instances here:

The one about “Michael Bolton”: In the great 1999 movie “Office Space,” one of the office workers was named “Michael Bolton” (played by Dave Herman) and this “regular” Bolton really seemed to suffer as a result of it.

The one about “Albert Einstein”: One person who didn’t want to be saddled with a famous name was the comedian Albert Brooks. His real last name is “Einstein,” giving him the name “Albert Einstein,” which means he likely never heard the end of it while he was growing up. So when he went into show business, he jettisoned the “Einstein” name (a move you might describe as a stroke of genius). By the way, his brother, Bob Einstein, kept the last name, but eventually became known for a showbiz moniker of his own, “Super Dave Osbourne.” These days, Bob is best known for playing Larry David’s friend, Marty Funkhouser, on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

We have to admit, as “regular” people, we’re kind of interested in playing this celebrity name game on “Same Name.”

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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