“It was a rare thing for a comedian, that middle initial, until Reginald D. Hunter came along and stole it!”
– Stephen K. Amos
What does the R.A. stand for?
Why do you sign your middle initials?
Whit ur ye, a fuckin author or su’hin?
The truth is revealed:
I keep – and have always kept – this extremely close to my chest, because it’s very personal to me. Throughout my life I have been asked the questions noted above with tedious regularity, and now that my name has started to appear on comedy flyers/boards/bills, and with numerous people continuing to omit these two key aspects of my name in ignorance, I have decided to finally, publicly, explain this. It’s fairly straightforward.
– Both my grandfathers died before I was born, so I never had the chance to meet them.
– My Grandpa, I’m reliably informed, always lamented his own lack of a middle name, as he thought a name that included a middle initial looked distinguished.
– My Grandma told me this when I was about seven years old, pointing out that I have two middle initials but at the time was (understandably, being seven) not signing them.
Since that day, 23 years ago, I have always and without fail signed my name with the inclusion of the “R.A.”
– I am named after my Grandpa (Robert) and my Grandad (Allan).
This is why I sign my middle initials, this is why they matter to me, and this is why I often get “pissy” and “rant” [read: explain their importance reasonably] if you omit a key element of my name – and (by virtue of 23 years’ worth of questions and abuse) it has also now become a significant aspect of my personality.
I have tried to write – and performed – routines about the “What” and the “Why”, but what it boils down to is, if you’re going to go as far as to credit me or advertise me on your bill, please do me the courtesy of getting my name right, the way I write it. Personally, I don’t think it is much to ask. My name is who I am, it sets me apart, and it is how I am professionally known. I sign myself this way out of love and respect, and that is all. It does, however, also serve to distinguish me from the many, many other Jordan Mills’s in this world.
I do try not to be a dick about it, I really do, and privately (on running orders, in emails, etc) I’m not so bothered about it. Principally, it just irks me when I am being (mis)credited publicly. Not just on comedy bills either, everyone does it, even when I’m being credited professionally. Which is partly why I’ve finally decided to write this.
“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! … How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”
– John Proctor, “The Crucible” (Arthur Miller)
Thanks for reading,
Jordan R.A. Mills