This may come as a shock, but I was not born Baxter Pancake. For all I know, I wasn't born at all, because I don't remember my birth. But, yes, I have a "real" name on some paperwork somewhere. For all intents and purposes, though, Baxter Pancake has served as a more real name than my real name. Does that make sense? No? Tough nuggets!
What's the point I'm trying to make? Good question. Thanks for asking. Basically, since some people are aware (or have made the assumption) that Baxter Pancake is indeed a stage/pen name, I'm often asked to tell the story about where the name came from. So, today I'd like to share the story on the blog; this way, when people ask, I can link them to the blog. More hits and less telling the same story over and over. That's a double-win for this guy.
It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it wasn't dark because it was the middle of the afternoon. And it wasn't storming, either. So, it was a partly cloudy afternoon. I was in college, and I was making quite a few comics at the time. I had read that in the early days of comic books a writer/artist would sometimes credit himself under several different pseudonyms to make it seem like the book had a full staff working on it. I decided it would be fun to use different names in the credits for my work. Somehow I became stuck on the name Baxter, originally going with John Baxter, then, upon realizing somebody already had that name, switching it to Baxter St. John. At some point I just cut the last name off and went with plain ol' Baxter.
On one particular undark, unstormy unnight, a couple friends (that happened to be a couple) noticed the recurrence of the name Baxter in my work. They jokingly (I think) said that they should start calling me Baxter. I agreed to this, and I officially took it as my stage name for performing improv. For a long, long time I was merely Baxter. No last name attached. Like Madonna but without the cone bra or the fake British accent. Or like Ke$ha but with talent.
The improv group I was a member of, along with my brother Schwartz Masterson, began losing steam. Furthermore, the founder of said group had revealed himself to be an arrogant, jealous douche-bag. The more it became apparent that the group was dwindling, the more time my lil' bro and I spent working on our own ideas. The time had come for us to form our own group. But what to call it? One idea that didn't stick was Cilantro Party. The name that did stick was The Pancake Brothers. The Pancake Bros. for short, when you feel like being expedient. At first we toyed with the idea of performing as Manny and Moose Pancake, but we liked the Pancake name so much that we decided it would become an everlasting part of our namesakes. Thus, Baxter Nolastname became Baxter Pancake. Thus Schwartz Masterson became Schwartz Masterson-Pancake, later shortened to S.M. Pancake because my big bro felt like being expedient. (Is he my big bro or lil' bro? I never can get it straight.)
To make our comedy pact official we sacrificed a virgin goat during a lunar eclipse. It was awesome, though kind of hard to see due to lack of moonlight. The Pancake Bros. became a thing that night. We did a series of comedy shows in Scranton, PA. S.M. then moved to New York to become part of the mafia or something, and I stayed in Northeast Pennsylvania to make sure nobody here got too big for their britches.
Now I've got a whole Pancake family. There's Ginger Pancake, my wife. And the Pancakelings, Maggie, YaYa, and soon-to-be-birthed Link. Currently, Uncle S.M. is raising an army of penguins in the sewer. And we all lived happily ever after.