Maybe it's a protocol droid hardwired to be neurotic.
Maybe it's a malfunctioning AI
who happens to do a mean Shem.
Maybe it's got a few screws loose. However it happened, it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin
(no pun intended
In works of fiction, a robot can serve as comedy relief because of its basic inability to understand humanity, often Comically Missing the Point
or taking things too literally
. These fundamental misunderstandings can poke fun at the general incomprehensible nature of human interaction in the way only a true outsider can . . . or maybe it's just the funny voice, the clunky walk, or the random gizmos they can sometimes produce. Humor can also soften the risk of a Ridiculously Human Robot
descending into the Uncanny Valley
Often overlaps with Robot Buddy
, and can be a subtrope to Amusing Alien
. Rarely has anything to do with Robot Chicken
, although the show is
funny and often involves robots.
- Nono, the robotic Small Annoying Creature from Ulysses 31.
- In the original series, roughly half of Yugi's deck (when Yami isn't helping him) consists of Cute Machines and funny robots, the most popular ones among players being the three Gadgets.
- Sho's monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX were called Vehicroids, a bunch of goofy toy vehicles from tricycles to bullet trains to space shuttles. All are downright adorable and good for a chuckle... Just don't underestimate them.
- They never appeared in the anime, but the Wind-Ups while not Machines (most of them) were an archetype of monsters that you couldn't help but find humor potential in. (Unless you were a victim of the Wind-Up Loop which fortunately, can no longer be done.)
- Orbital 7, Kaito's Robot Buddy in Yu Gi Oh Zexal doesn't intend to be funny, but he often winds up the comic relief anyway, becoming a Butt Monkey more often than not. (For example, when he switches to "combat mode", he's a clumsy fighter, getting the drills he uses as weapons jammed and winding up in embarrassing situations more often than not.)
- R Ichirou Tanaka from the manga and OVA Kyuukyoku Choujin R. He is a robot (or rather, an android) fifteen-year old boy attending a high school alongside human teens. He only eats rice, is rather Literal-Minded, and tends to turn his head around 180 degrees, take off his body parts or get off his bicycle without stopping it first. His backstory is a homage to Astro Boy.
- X-Men villain Mojo has an android named Major Domo as his right-hand-man (plus his accountant and attorney); Major Domo, while loyal, has a sarcastic wit, and is likely the only one who can get away with criticizing his boss (mostly because Mojo is often too preoccupied to notice). Also, Major Domo has a female android as an assistant called Minor Domo; a fast-talking, cheering supporter of Mojo's schemes, she tends to be over-exuberant and excitable, so much that she often short circuits from excitement, literally. (Fortunately, she can be restarted quickly via a button on the back of her neck.)
- More like a "Funny AI System" than a Funny Robot, but Garfield's frequent nemesis is his talking bathroom scale, a Deadpan Snarker who constantly makes fun of his weight.
- In Bloom County in 1984, Oliver Wendell Holmes received a Banana Junior 6000 (a parody of the Macintosh, that debuted the same year) for Christmas; it quickly proved able to talk, and had legs. It was a rude, obnoxious wiseass who would "worship" the television and contemplate its existence (badly). It was usually Oliver's hacking partner (only confiscated by the FBI twice) until 1985 when he deemed it obsolete, mostly because of the bankruptcy of the Banana Computer Company (which only sold two units, including Oliver's).
- Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet was likely the Ur-Example of this Trope and probably Robot Buddy too. The equivalent of Ariel (seeing as the movie is believed to have been loosely based on Shakespeare's The Tempest) Robbie was one of the first robots in cinema to have a personality of his own, and he was somewhat of a Deadpan Snarker too.
- B.E.N. from Treasure Planet is a bit scatterbrained from being marooned on a desert island. He constantly yelling at random moments which gets his friends in trouble in a few cases.
- Skids and Mudflap from Transformers are two bumbling jiving-talking robots. They're characterized by their cowardice and stupidity in contrast to the other heroic Autobots. Their faces in robot mode look like early 20th century portrayal of African-Americans — buck teeth, bulging eyes, and large ears. One of them has a gold tooth. They bust out ghetto slang constantly, and even threaten to "pop a cap" in someone's ass.
- R2D2 and C3PO from Star Wars are likely to be Trope Codifiers. C3PO is somewhat more funny than R2, but they both have a lot of comic relief moments.
- Johnny 5 of the Short Circuit films is a malfunctioning A.I. who reprograms himself in large part by watching late-night television.
- WALL•E's fundamental misunderstanding of human cultures is often as humorous as it is heart-breaking.
- The Robot from Lost in Space often filled this role. He may have only frantically shouted "Danger, Will Robinson!" once, (in ("The Deadliest of the Species", and the word "danger" was only said once) but it had a lot of other moments, often in his attempts to be serious.
- Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation is, sadly, not programmed with a sense of humor, which doesn't stop him from often being the funniest character on the show.
- Twiki from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was likely cast with comic relief in mind. In fact, even though he can pilot a fighter jet and pick locks, the fact that he can put a smile on the face of almost every member of the overly serious cast (something Buck can rarely do) makes his sense of humor his most valuable trait.
- Alpha 5 from the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (and later Power Rangers Zeo) was more often than not comic relief for the team. ("Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi!")
- Crow was no-doubt the funniest character on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The biggest Deadpan Snarker in a cast full of them, and when Hilarity Ensues, he's likely the one who started it.
- 'Doctor Who
- K9. Originally from classic and eventually spinning off to his own short-lived series, K9 was plucky, brave, and well-nigh indestructible—a combination that made him both adorable and frequently hilarious.
- Lampshaded that The Doctor hates funny robots in Doctor Who The Waters of Mars.
Funny Robot: Gadget Gadget
The Doctor: Does it have to keep saying that?
Roman Groom: I think it's funny.
I hate funny robots.
The Doctor: I hate robots. Did I say?
Roman: Yeah, and he's not too fond of you. What's wrong with robots?
The Doctor: It's not the robots, it's the people. Dressing them up and giving them silly voices, like you're reducing them.
- General Tik-Tok from the Oz books, a helpful a clockwork man and Robot Buddy to the other characters. Usually he's very serious, but he can be very funny when his brain winds down before his voice and movements do; without any actual thinking to govern it, he wanders aimlessly and blabbers nonsensically until someone winds up his thought mechanism.
- The members of the band Steam Powered Giraffe play as robots onstage. They frequently break into comedy routines between songs.
- The comic relief from Borderlands is Claptrap, a robot shaped like an inverted triangle on one wheel with a foul mouth and a bad attitude. He's annoying, sure, but you can't help but find the guy funny.
- GLaDOS can be rather funny in both games in a rather grim way, although while the way she taunts and goads Chell may be funny to the player, it's likely not all that funny to Chell.
- In the second game, Wheatley is like this. Sure, he's trying to kill Chell, but his attempts are so dumb that he's Laughably Evil and outright hilarious. (It helps that he's voiced by British comedian Stephen Merchant.)
- In Fallout 3, one of the amenities in the player's house in Megaton or Tenpenny Tower is a robot butler. In addition to various functions useful to the player, he tells jokes when requested.
- Pintsize from Questionable Content has A.I. advanced enough to have mastered making jokes about body parts he doesn't even possess and spends quite a lot of time lurking in the depths of 4Chan.
- In Futurama, listing the robots without comedic traits would be easier, given the nature of the show. Still, Bender probably has the most humor potential, being part of the main cast, and his entry on the show's character sheet gives numerous reasons why.
- Karen from Spongebob Squarepants is Plankton's snarky robotic wife, who criticizes and points out flaws in Plankton's schemes (not that it stops him from going through with them).
- GIR from Invader Zim is extremely hyperactive, eats just about anything (edible or not), often spouts out random nonsense, and wears a green dog suit. His behavior isn't normal for a robot of his make since unlike the other SIR Units his brain consists of pocket lint, a paperclip, a penny, and a marble.
- Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons. A domestic-bot in a futuristic world, her humor often came from often being more rational and cool-headed than her human owners.
- The Robonic Stooges. They're The Three Stooges as androids, with all the slapstick humor that the originals did, only far more high-tech.