He's got the whole world in his hands...and no clue what to do with it.
"Heh. Dumb alien. That's good material."
An Amusing Alien is a sci-fi, fantasy, or otherworldly characternote
whose main purpose is to amuse the audience
While the Amusing Alien might have a serious (or mundane) task in the story, a character belongs in this trope only if comedy is his primary
reason for existing in the work. An elf archer who tells puns incessantly
is not an Amusing Alien, whereas an elf archer whose arrows always take an unexpected path to hit their targets
would be. If the character becomes irrelevant, uninteresting, or The Load
when played seriously, then he's an Amusing Alien.
Most of the time, the Amusing Alien will be a secondary or background character, to avoid excessively derailing the plot with their antics. The primary exception is in comedies, where casting an Amusing Alien as the main character leads to lots of easy jokes.
May overlap with Funny Foreigner
, but the two tropes are not identical. An otherworldly Funny Foreigner
elicits laughs from their ignorance and bizarre behavior; an Amusing Alien, on the other hand, can be anything from The Smart Guy
, a Deadpan Snarker
, or a Genre Savvy Fourth Wall Observer
. As a general rule, if the Amusing Alien is of a race or species that's common in the work, the trope is Funny Foreigner
If there's a multi-character party, the Amusing Alien will probably be the Team Pet
, the Non-Human Sidekick
, or the Token Non-Human
Given the subjective nature of comedy, the risk is high that an Amusing Alien can end up becoming a Scrappy
if not handled carefully. This trope documents alien characters that were intended
to be funny; whether or not they succeed is another matter...
Also see Alien Among Us
, Pet Monstrosity
, Plucky Comic Relief
, Fantastic Anthropologist
, and Crazy Cultural Comparison
Anime & Manga
- C-3PO, in all of the movies.
- Several in the Men in Black franchise, including Frank the Pug and the Worm Guys.
- Pizza the Hutt, Yogurt, Barf the Mawg, Dot Matrix, and the Dinks in Spaceballs.
- Gimli the Dwarf in The Lord of the Rings live-action movies.
- Bubo the mechanical owl from the original Clash of the Titans was this from time to time.
- The main character of Paul is this. He is voiced by Seth Rogen.
- Rincewind's Luggage from the Discworld novels, though the humor tends to be more... violent.
- An entire species of Amusing Aliens: the Hokas.
- An hilariously out-of-the-ordinary example of this trope occurs in Diane Duane's Young Wizards novel Wizard's Holiday, when Dairine attempts to lead her three alien wizard guests on a trip to the mall. Considering that one of them is a tree, one a giant centipede, and the third a sun prince who looks like an anime character, you can guess what kinds of Amusing Alien antics will happen.
- Animorphs the Iskoort are a species of amusing aliens. (and annoying too)
- Sometimes Ax falls into this trope, though he isn't exclusively it.
- Mork from Ork, probably the Trope Codifier and best example.
- The Coneheads
- Tom, Dick, Harry, and Sally from 3rd Rock from the Sun
- Along with their Supreme Leader, the Big Giant Head (as portrayed by William Shatner).
- All the eponymous Aliens In The Family.
- Uncle Martin from My Favorite Martian. Also the film and Saturday Morning Cartoon versions.
- V.I.C.I. from Small Wonder.
- Alpha 5 from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
- The Pakleds start off as a straight example of this trope but actually use their ignorant appearance to deceive others.
- Double subverted by the Pakleds, actually: they're bright enough to steal technology and kidnap Geordi LaForge but not bright enough to actually use their stolen technology without the help of a kidnapped engineer...nor to see through the technobabble and bad acting the Enterprise crew uses to effect a rescue.
- And they are slow - just not quite as much as people tend to think
- Morn, the perpetual barfly at Quark's Bar on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is a meta example; he's described as an extremely talkative being who knows the funniest joke in the universe, and others have attributed various fantastic feats to him. Even so, he's always shown in stoic silence on the show.
- Meego, the Shape Shifter alien from the CBS sitcom of the same name.
- Angelo from Mike And Angelo.
- Twiki from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
- George Sunday/Thermoman from My Hero.
- Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie.
- Brian and Sophie Johnson, the titular parents of My Parents Are Aliens.
- Hymie from Get Smart.
- Tom Servo and Crow from Mystery Science Theater 3000 (and Gypsy when she isn't running the ship).
- Mr. Ed
- The Addams Family and The Munsters.
- Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory is an Earthling example.
- Dex, also known as the Masked Rider, has traces of this at times. In one example would be that his race, Eltarians, derive from insects instead of apes. Now guess what he answered on an Earth biology test on the subject of human origins…
- Tripitaka's dragon-cum-horse-cum-human from Monkey.
- Everybody in Hidden Hills on The Neighbors, though whether the Zabvrons or the Weavers are the "aliens" depends on how you look at it.
- Doctor Who has recently acquired one in the shape of the Sontaran bonehead Strax. He has difficulty telling the difference between human genders and once declared war on the moon.
- Hans the winged pig in Valkyria Chronicles.
- The Elcor from the Mass Effect series. They are large, quadrupedal aliens who can only speak in a low monotone, and thus have to precede every sentence with the corresponding emotion behind it.
- The Volus and the Hanar, among others, fulfill this to a lesser degree.
- Most of the aliens in Deadlock fall under this category.