Grand Poobah is a term derived from the name of the haughty character Pooh-Bah in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado (1885). In this comic opera, Pooh-Bah holds numerous exalted offices, including "First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral... Archbishop of Titipu, and Lord Mayor" and Lord High Everything Else. The name has come to be used as a mocking title for someone self-important or high-ranking and who either exhibits an inflated self-regard or who has limited authority while taking impressive titles. The formal term for the practice of holding multiple offices is "dual mandate".
The character Howard Cunningham on the TV series Happy Days was a Grand Poobah of Leopard Lodge No. 462 in Milwaukee.
In the Fraggle Rock episode "The Secret Society of Poohbahs," the Poobah name is used for the a secret silly society within Fraggle Rock called the "Poohbas." Gillis Fraggle serves as the Beggler-Beg of the Poohbas, Convincing John serves as the Vanguard of the Poohbas, Red Fraggle serves as the Mind-Reader who sees if a potential member is worthy enough to join the Poohbahs, and the other members are referred to as "Fritz."
In the comic strip Pearls Before Swine, the character rat deems himself Grand Poobah of the Benevolent Society of Angry Misanthropes.