Let’s talk about names again


Mike has been really supportive of my using my maiden name as a stage name. He said he would have done the same. It’s weird to call it my stage name. It’s my name. I didn’t lose it. I was Ramona Concepcion legally for 23 years, and using Mona Concepcion as frequently as I have in the past six months has energized me and awakened parts of my personality that I have kept shelved far too long.

As a comedian, I want to be identified as a Chamorro, a comedian from Saipan and the only female Chamorro comedian on this planet. Comedy is still my bailiwick, the work and rewards are all mine. It’s not community property, even though my husband stays at home so I can go out and tell a room full of strangers some jokes. I am always grateful for this but I have to make clear to the men in my life: I am the comedian here.

(Side note: I do see comics bring their kids, mostly dads who want to sign up for the bump list (the list for the following week) so they just show up with kids in tow. I know moms and dads who have hired a babysitter so they can get some stage time. I always love these comics and laugh because that’s what you do–support your peeps.)

It’ll be costly to make this name switch on paper. In the county I live in, it will cost $160 to change my name back, plus the time I’ll have to take off work to schedule a court hearing. Plus the costs to change my name on anywhere that it appears–my passport, kids paperwork, financial documents, etc.

I changed my name because I thought that’s what you do when you get married. I didn’t question it and I don’t regret it doing it at the time. It just makes things difficult when I have to explain that I perform under another name but nothing’s happened in my marriage. I really love the name that I was born with, much more than the name I married into.

Right now my changes are relegated to Facebook and other Internet warrens of mine, like kirida.com which I have had since I lived on Saipan. That is mine, too. It’s really easy to make doctors appointments or call the school and say the last name I share with the kids. It’s easy to identify myself as a mom of TJ and Nathan, the name is a natural tether if you couldn’t tell from our massive eyebrows.

When I’m on stage, I control what people know about me, whether I share that I’m a mom or that I suffer from Old Man Love, or that I’m from Saipan. I can’t control what they assume or where their minds drift as a lady takes the stage. I’m just Mona Concepcion and I’m here to tell jokes.

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  1. I don’t know whether you should change your legal name or not (although I think you should think about it some more and not let emotion make the decision). But I will offer this scenario and question: you become successful in your career as a comedian. Wouldn’t it be nice to go home at night and know that no one can trace Ms. Concepcion back to YOU and where you live? (Although I guess it’s probably easily found on the Internet.)

    I think there’s some advantage to having that anonymity. And to keeping the two lives separate. Someday when you make it big, you can check into a hotel using your legal name, wearing a big hat and sunglasses, and you’ll get away with it.

  2. Allen Joe says:

    You’re good, don’t sweat it. Jen just changed hers to Sablan – after 3 years.

  3. P. Gardiner says:

    I never took my husband’s name because it sounded like a lot of S sounds with my first name. Our joke at the time was that my sister couldn’t say it with her retainer in and our kids would probably have speech impediments (which ended up being true!). It is a little weird to not have the same name as my kids sometimes, when we travel or I’m picking up his books at the library, it does come up. I did use his last name as a Scout leader & working at my daughter’s school because it matched my kid. On FB I use both. Legally though, it’s the same name I had at 18 and I’m okay with that. I use P Maidenname Husbandname or P Maidenname, but I don’t really ever use P Husbandname.

  4. Vahid and I have talked about whether I’d want to change my name. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Mainly I just don’t know. It’s a big deal, changing what your called. I love your maiden name and I think it suits you and your comedy perfectly!
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