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 ... Lord Mayor" and "Lord High Everything Else". The name has come to be used as a mocking title for someone self-important or locally high-ranking and who either exhibits an inflated self-regard or who has limited authority while taking impressive titles.
The character Howard Cunningham on the TV series Happy Days was a Grand Poobah of Leopard Lodge No. 462 in Milwaukee.
A Fraggle Rock episode is called "The Secret Society of Poohbahs". Gillis Fraggle serves as the Beggler-Beg of the Poohbas, Convincing John serves as the Vanguard of the Poohbas and Red Fraggle serves as the Mind-Reader who sees if a potential member is worthy of joining the Poohbahs.
In the comic strip Pearls Before Swine, the character Rat deems himself Grand Poobah of the Benevolent Society of Angry Misanthropes.