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Most villians who take on an alias do so to hide their real names or to show they have become the villian or whatnot.

What about the Joker? I know he has a real name because he wasn't always the Joker, but is it ever revealed in any comics?

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Actually, I DO know the answer, but if I told you he'd kill me. –  Jeff Oct 14 '11 at 20:13
@Jeff Don't worry, it'd be kept secret... –  Sachin Shekhar yesterday
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4 Answers

up vote 56 down vote accepted

The Joker has had more backstories than most people have had t-shirts.

He has a multiple-choice past. (TV Tropes link. You are warned.)

Joker 1 Joker 2 The above pictures show 3 of the histories the character has had, and they aren't even the tip of the iceberg.

He certainly had a real name, but he's so far gone that I doubt he remembers it himself. Most tragically, in one issue of Justice League, the Martian Manhunter takes Batman's psyche to the one place that no one will ever think to look for him (they're being hunted by someone) - the deepest, darkest place in Joker's mind. In it is just one man, who is terrified and alone, not sure where he is or who he is. It's implied this is all that remains of Joker's sanity.

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+1 for a great link! –  System Down Oct 14 '11 at 16:14
If I remember that particular comic, then these three are not mutually exclusive pasts he is showing us. In which case he has more of a "Mix-and-Match" past. –  SteveED Feb 27 '12 at 22:53
stack exchange needs one of those landing pages for tvtropes link. "You are now leaving stack exchange and entering tvtropes. click [OK] to forfeit the remainder of your afternoon." –  Michael Edenfield Jul 23 '12 at 14:52
Must not click on the link, must not click on the link, must not click on the link, must not click on the link... –  Jimmy Shelter Apr 19 '13 at 13:20
@Chronicle: TVTropes is a time-sucker for 99% of people. Once you enter, you lose hours. –  Jeff yesterday
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First he was an engineer,who tried becoming a comedian, but failed.then he joined two criminals to make money until his pregnant wife died, so the two criminals make him put on the red hood mask. He then falls into an experimental vat that permanently bleaches his skin white and his lips red, and dyes his hair green. The fact that this happened was enough to turn him into an insane criminal in Gotham, leaving him to be an enemy of Batman. Still, they don't reveal his name. It was both a movie and a comic. In fact, I just saw it a couple weeks ago. His name was Jack Napier, but a different Dc Universe.

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Jokers name isn't Jack Napier. That was actually a name given to the character played by Jack Nicholson from the screenwriters. When the character was created originally he had no name besides the joker to give the character a bigger sense of creepy, craziness, and a sense that he's plain just not right in the head. In fact, the joker never was given a normal name until the batman movie starring Michael keaton and Jack Nicholson just so they could give a longer back-story in the movie.

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How does this differ from the other already downvoted answer stating the same thing? –  JohnP yesterday
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In the 1989 Batman Film, The Joker's real name is shown to be Jack Napier. We know this because if you watch the first Batman movie, Batman has a file on Jack Napier because he sees the Joker on his way to where his parents died and recognises his face from when he accidentally let go of Joker in the chemical factory.

The original screenplay explicitly refers to him by this name;

JACK NAPIER : Decent people shouldn't live here. They'd be happier someplace else.

JACK NAPIER is right-hand man and chief enforcer to BOSS CARL GRISSOM.

As well as showing us a copy of his pre-Joker "mug shot"; enter image description here

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This answer only applies to the 1989 Batman film, the question asks about the Joker's identity in the comics –  Monty129 Dec 31 '13 at 21:59
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