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Amusing Alien

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He's got the whole world in his hands... and no clue whatsoever to do with it.

"Heh. Dumb alien. That's good material."
Stan Smith, American Dad!
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An Amusing Alien is a sci-fi, fantasy, or otherworldly character whose main purpose is to amuse the audience.

While the Amusing Alien might have a mundane purpose in the story, a character belongs in this trope only if comedy is their primary reason for existing in the work. 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 instead.

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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. Supertrope to Funny Robot.


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Examples:

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     Anime & Manga 

     Comic Books 

     Film  
  • Men in Black has several:
    • Frank the Pug is an alien who disguises himself as a dog, speaks in a heavy New York accent and wears sunglasses. His main scene in the first movie? Being interrogated by K. By being shaken. Tommy Lee Jones is barely keeping a straight face.
    • The Worm Guys can frequently be found in MIB headquarters drinking coffee.
  • Star Wars:
    • A New Hope has Greedo, the unfortunate Rodian that Han shoots in the cantina. Note that he wasn't trying to be funny, but his only purpose in the film was to be a punchline for Han Solo.
    • The Phantom Menace has Jar-Jar Binks and Boss Nass, who are more deliberately amusing but less successful, and are intended to serve as the movie's primary comic relief through their peculiar speech patterns, hammy dialogue and exaggerated expressions, alongside Binks' general clumsiness.

     Literature 
  • Ancillary Justice: The Presger ambassadors in Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy, being completely unaware of human culture, biology and psychology, tend to act out in a funny way as a result. On the flipside they serve as a reminder of just how terrifyingly alien the Presger are, in that they're able to make 'humans' to communicate with that still act in some ways terrifyingly inhuman.
  • Animorphs
    • Ax falls into this trope when in human form. Being unused to having a mouth, he tends to play with sounds of words and put odd things in his mouth.
    • The Iskoort are a species of amusing and annoying aliens.
  • Discworld:
    • Rincewind's Luggage, though the humor tends to be more... violent.
    • The Death of Rats. Regular Death can often be The Comically Serious, but has plenty of dramatic moments as well.
  • Hoka: The Hokas look like living teddy bears and spend all their time reenacting various Earth concepts, not really understanding them. Hilarity Ensues.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: Sontaran Combat Medic Strax, an ally of the Doctor's. Also, after his death and resurrection, a complete Cloudcuckoolander who is incapable of distinguishing genders, declared war on the Moon and has terrible bedside manner. And a Large Ham, which was a trait he possessed from the beginning.
  • Masked Rider: Dex, 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...

     Pinball  
  • The Party Zone: The Super Sonic Robotic Comic is a meta example — his lines are unintelligible gibberish, but everyone else reacts with uproarious laughter.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Rocket Age: Europan Emissaries insert themselves into cultures they have no real understanding of, meaning they often commit such faux pas such as wearing men's and women's clothing on alternate nights or giving themselves inappropriate names. They also can latch themselves onto social outcasts and take on their mannerisms.
  • Warhammer 40,000 the Orks have this as a hat. They are a an entire race of violent manchildren who will start a war for any reason they can think of, the main reason being it's fun, and their philosphy operates on Insane Troll Logic.

     Video Games 
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X:
    • L, an alien who learned English from watching archived American films and has a questionable grasp of metaphors.
      L: [Ambushed] "It's a horse-eat-horse world!"
      L: [Enemy reinforcements] "What a nice hot welcome!"
      L: [Asking for healing] "Could someone get our party started?"
      L: [KO'd] "This number has been… disconnected."
      L: [Low HP] "It's not over until the fat baby sings!"
    • The Nopon, a highly ecentric Proud Merchant Race. Tatsu, the game's main comic relief character, ironically proves to one of the more normal ones.
      • Tatsu's younger siblings all mistake him for their father.
      • Like in the original Xenoblade, the Nopon have a tradition where they nominate someone to become their Legendary Heropon. The "Legendary Heropon" being a position given to a new Nopon each year, often as a way for the Nopon to work off debt.
      • The Nopon are very cute. They know other races find them cute, and will use it to swindle them.
  • Orbulon, an alien intending to take over the world in the WarioWare series, had his plan stopped when he crash landed in Diamond City. He's become quite enamoured with Earth culture in spite of this, if a little airheaded.

     Webcomics 
  • Penny Arcade: Div, an alcoholic Deadpan Snarker DivX player.
  • The Petri Dish: Even though he abducts Thaddeus, Gwog is actually pretty comical. His species doesn't have a nudity taboo and he thinks people at Comic Con are freaks despite looking weird himself. His pet is also comical, insisting that he's not his pet and it's a "symbiotic relationship".
  • Roomies!, It's Walky!, Joyce and Walky!: The Aliens in It's Walky!, so-called because they come from the planet Alien, are ostensibly trying to take over the world, but in reality they're lost on Earth and their activity consists of random hijinks that result in them being slaughtered in chunky droves. Their leader, the Head Alien, is originally treated as a Harmless Villain (and described as sounding like Jon Lovitz), until Cerebus Syndrome hits and suddenly he was a terrifying mastermind all along, though even when his plans are at their most gruesome, he comes across as Laughably Evil much of the time.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Kiki, if a talking ferret is considered "otherworldly".

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • Danger Mouse: Quark from the first series (1981-92) spoke in a Scottish accent and had an obedient robot who he had the verve to name Grovel. When he arrives on Earth to take charge (through a cosmic charter he inherited), his first thought is to make the Mediterranean Sea his own private swimming pool.
  • Invader Zim: Zim has been sent to conquer the Earth to get him out of the way, as he is both incompetent and incredibly egotistical. And not only is he terrible at invading, he's utterly incapable of disguising himself as a human.
  • Lilo & Stitch has plenty:
  • Ready Jet Go!: The Propulsions may as well be the prime example for this trope. They talk in a rather eccentric English (for example, they say "way the by" instead of "by the way"), cook odd dishes such as deep-fried lollipops, think that Valentine's Day decorations are scary enough to put in a haunted house. Overall, they are just very wacky.
  • Space Goofs has a goofy group of aliens crashing on Earth. They settle in a house for rent and try to find a way to get back to their far away planet. The funniest of the bunch are Gorgeous (a Big Eater), Bud (The Slacker) and Candy (a Camp Straight Neat Freak).
  • Steven Universe:
    • Peridot is this, in a show already heavily populated by (for the most part more Earth-smart) aliens. She briefly barricaded herself in the bathroom at Steven's house and tried to escape by flushing herself down the toilet, has an affinity for Earth clothes such as boxer shorts and is obsessed with a daytime drama called Camp Pining Hearts despite her lack of understanding of its content (when two characters kiss she thinks they're "attempting fusion"). She once pushed Steven's father off a roof, apparently out of sheer curiosity. Her official Twitter account details such antics as running across the countryside for hours with a pizza because she had no idea what to do when the delivery guy showed up.
    • Also, Rubies play this role whenever they show up. Most of them are ditzy, brutish, and way too naive for their own good. A squad of them put their mission at risk over a baseball game, and then promptly left Earth when told a very obvious lie that their target was on Neptune. There are two exceptions: Crystal Gem Ruby does have some of these quirks, but her appearing usually means Garnet has some sort of internal conflict, so she's not used for laughs as often. The other exception is Eyeball Ruby, who seems as harmless as the other Rubies until she reveals unsettling details about Pink Diamond's fate, and an episode later tries to stab Steven to death.
  • Teen Titans: Starfire's odd Tamaranean customs and fish-out-of-waterness is the show's main source of funny.
    • She drinks mustard as if it were soda and...
    • Confuses the familiarity levels of social greetings and...
    • Thinks it's a good idea to give spine-snapping hugs to nearly every new friend they make and...
    • Misinterprets Earth Slang ("You diggin' the scene?" "I... did not know we were supposed to bring shovels!") and...
    • is allergic to chromium (The reaction is sneezing star-bolts).
  • The Venture Bros. had a pretty amusing example with the very tall alien who just shows up one day. He had a very scratchy translator, like someone speaking too close to an old microphone. His Catchphrase was a very loud "IGNORE ME!"

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