->''"Humor. It is a difficult concept."''
-->--'''Lt. Saavik''', ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan''

For better or for worse, humor is one of the most common communicative tools of the human race, and more than anything else it unites us. It is understandable, then, that alien visitors to Earth might find it difficult to understand our attempts at jokes. In popular media this often translates into extraterrestrials appearing to be SarcasmBlind or to have NoSenseOfHumor. Sometimes these aliens know what humor ''means'', but don't know or understand ''why'' a human joke is considered funny due to cultural differences and the like. An extreme variation makes the alien sense of humor impenetrable to the human mind.

Compare CreativeSterility.


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Kyuubey from ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' doesn't understand humor, [[LackOfEmpathy as well as the rest of human emotions]].
* Yuki Nagato from ''TheMelancholyOfHaruhiSuzumiya'' appears to be an EmotionlessGirl with BluntMetaphorsTrauma. (She's actually a human-seeming alien robot who acts like a FishOutOfWater.) As she has severe difficulty ''expressing'' emotions, it's possible she's laughing on the inside when something funny happens, but her rare attempts at humor suggests she really doesn't understand it.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* The Guardians of the Universe from the ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'' comics don't have much of a sense of humor. It's not usually made a point of, but there is the end of "In Blackest Night", a story by Alan Moore from Tales of the Green Lantern Corps:
---> ...and four cycles later, in the recreation complex, Katma Tui realized that for the first time in many years' service, she had heard a Guardian make a joke. She felt vaguely uneasy for the rest of that day.
* The ''ComicBook/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' story "The Tornado's Path" is about Red Tornado, an android body animated by an air elemental. His wife says that the way she always knew he wasn't JustAMachine is that he has a sense of humor. It's presented well... but then spoiled when the counter-example given of humorless robots is the MetalMen. Seriously? They're the goofiest bunch of robots in the DCU!


[[folder: Film ]]

* The Thermians in ''Film/GalaxyQuest'' don't seem to have a sense of humor, until the very end. That's not to say they're all sourpusses -- quite the opposite -- but they have difficulty with the concepts of both "deception" and "fiction". Their arch nemesis Sarris, however, has all of the above down pat.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Andalites in the ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' series do not understand humor or its purpose, with a few exceptions - Arbon was constantly joking and wise cracking in The Andalite Chronicles, and Alloran was implied to be a prankster when he was young. Cassie notes that hanging around [[SadClown Marco]] seems to have given Ax a "twisted" sense of humor, while the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien Ellimist]] considers the human sense of humor one of their pluses over Andalites or Yeerks.
** It is occasionally suggested that the Andalites do have a sense of humor, it's just very different from human humor.
* In ''Literature/MassEffectRetribution'', David Anderson, while having lunch with the Elcor ambassador, Calyn, jokes about attacking Din Korlak (Calyn's office mate, about whom he had been complaining) and "watching the butterball roll out the door". Calyn finds this joke disturbing, and notes that he's unsettled by humanity's sense of humour. FridgeBrilliance: The Elcor are heavyworlders, evolving on a planet where the high gravity means a simple tumble can cause serious injury or death. Naturally, jokes based on the subject of knocking people over or throwing them around hit their DudeNotFunny button -- it's not so much the case that Calyn is a humorless alien so much as Anderson sounds like he thinks [[ComedicSociopathy hurting people is funny]].
* Most of the [=ETs=] in David Brin's ''Literature/{{Uplift}}'' novels have no sense of humor. The Thenannin in particular are famous for this (so much so that the shocking climax to one of the books is a Thennanin laughing). On the other hand, the Tymbrimi have if anything too much of a sense of humor - that's why they like us so much!
* Averted in a classic short story about unintentional FirstContact between a human interstellar mapping ship and their alien counterparts. There's a lot of tension about whether the two species will ever be able to trust each other, but the comm. officer is not worried. He explains that he's pretty sure we'll be able to overcome our differences, because he and his alien counterpart spent the last hour before both ships left swapping dirty jokes that they both found hilarious.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Averted in ''Series/BabylonFive'', where alien characters occasionally tell each other lightbulb and knock-knock jokes they've probably heard from humans. Also, it's stated that Minbari humor differs from Earth humor in that it is based on failure to attain spiritual enlightenment. Of course, there is the episode where Londo Mollari fails to appreciate [[Creator/PennAndTeller Rebo and Zooty's]] humor, but it is unclear if this is a matter of cultural difference or is simply just Mollari. Likewise, Sheridan completely fails to understand a Minbari joke that cracks Delenn up.
* This trope is referenced many times in-universe in ''TheBigBangTheory'' when people call Sheldon an alien, ask what planet he's from, etc.
* On ''MorkAndMindy'', Mork has a hard time with the concept of humor.
-->Oh, humor! HA! HA!
* In ''Series/StargateSG1'', O'Neill is ([[GenreSavvy rightfully]]) distrustful of the Aschen for precisely this reason. Also, Teal'c tends to miss the point of O'Neill's jokes. Funnily enough, the trope is also inverted in one episode; Teal'c, with prompting, tells a Jaffa joke that obviously amuses him, but falls flat on its face with the rest of SG-1.
* In ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Vulcans are ''said'' to have no sense of humor, but are indeed a race filled with [[DeadpanSnarker Deadpan Snarkers]].
** Data from ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', while not ''technically'' an alien, repeatedly attempts to understand humor as part of his quest to become more human. He doesn't succeed until he gets his emotion chip, which is one of the plot threads in the movie ''Film/StarTrekGenerations''.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** The turians are seen as "uptight" by most other species in the galaxy. They're basically by-the-book SpaceRomans that take duty and protocol extremely seriously. This was one of the reasons why the turians were one of the worst possible ways for humanity to become introduced to [[TheFederation Citadel Space]]. Since then, however, humans and turians get along better, and because ''Mass Effect'' likes to subvert PlanetOfHats so much, it's been shown time and again that individual turians are more than capable of being funny. Garrus, your token turian teammate, is even a DeadpanSnarker!
---> '''Wrex''': I have to make friends with the one Turian in the galaxy who thinks he's ''funny''.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', Garrus and [[AcePilot Joker]] pass the time by exchanging politically incorrect Human/Turian jokes.
** The elcor can also count as an example. Because of their severe monotone, it's had to tell when they're being funny. It's likewise hard for other races to tell.
** The geth. They're a MindHive machine race, so it makes sense.
* In ''Franchise/DragonAge'', the Qunari are an entire race of [[TheStoic Stoic]] ScaryDogmaticAliens from another continent in Thedas. Some of Sten and the Arishok's interactions with The Warden and Hawke suggest that they may have a ''very'' understated sense of humour underneath it all.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In one US Acres segment on ''GarfieldAndFriends'', aliens have come to steal Earths' sense of humor, since humor is a lethal weapon to them.
* In ''JusticeLeague'', MartianManhunter seems to respond to Flash's attempts at humor with either confusion or disdain.
* Starfire in the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' cartoon has some trouble understanding why, exactly, Beast Boy's jokes are supposed to be funny. When exposed to "Why are ducks so funny? Because they're always quacking jokes!", she said something like, "Oh, I get it! It is humorous because ducks lack the large brains necessary for the telling of jokes!"


[[folder: Truth In Television ]]

* This can be TruthInTelevision amongst humans. Lots of jokes are hard to translate across cultural barriers, and even within a culture humor tends to be subjective.