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Funny Robot

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Maybe it's a protocol droid hardwired to be neurotic. Maybe it's a malfunctioning AI who happens to do a mean Shemp. 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 Robot Clown, 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.

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Examples:

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    Anime 

    Comic Books 
  • 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.)
  • Aaron Stack the Machine Man was not this originally, but he has become much more grouchy and neurotic over time, to the point that any story featuring him now will have a significant element of humor.
  • The Metal Men have always been humorous characters, most of them even designed to look like very toony humans, made of metal.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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).
  • 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.
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    Films — Animated 
  • Eric and Deborah from The Mitchells vs. the Machines are funny as a result of them trying to act like humans, and doing a poor job of it, as well as their childlike behaviour.
  • 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.
  • WALL•E: Wall-E's fundamental misunderstanding of human cultures is often as humorous as it is heart-breaking.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Johnny 5 of the Short Circuit films is a malfunctioning A.I. who reprograms himself in large part by watching late-night television.
  • 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.
    • And then we have K2SO and L337, both of whom say exactly what's on their minds and produce endless amounts of snark.
  • 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.
  • The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy has two examples. There is Marvin, the robot who is programmed to constantly sound sad (voiced by Alan Rickman, RIP) and the ship's navigation bot which is constantly cheerful. The funny part comes in because the robots keep their characteristic sound even when the words they are saying make no sense that way. This isn't just about intonation either, the ship's navigator constantly says things like "good news everyone, the missile is headed for us in 10, 9, 8.." Marvin meanwhile says things like "oh no, look at this beautiful sunset". The interactions between the two robots are even more silly for this reason.

    Literature 
  • 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.

    Live Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • In "The Waters of Mars", the Doctor makes it clear he doesn't like funny robots. He does later say that dogs are different.
    Gadget: Gadget Gadget.
    The Doctor: Does it have to keep saying that?
    Roman Groom: I think it's funny.
    The Doctor: I hate funny robots.
    (Later)
    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.
  • On Get Smart Hymie had No Sense of Humor but was a great source of laughs for being too Literal-Minded and not knowing his own strength. For more yucks, he tended to malfunction a lot too.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Being a sci-fi comedy, the show Red Dwarf is filled with these, from the scatterbrained Holly to the John-Wayne-loving (and Rimmer-disobeying) skutters to the guilt-ridden and prone to jealousy Kryten.
  • Sherman's Showcase: The Funk-A-Tron 2000 humorously cares about finding good wines for some reason.
  • 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.

    Music 
  • The members of the band Steam Powered Giraffe play as robots onstage. They frequently break into comedy routines between songs.

    Toys 
  • Transformers: BotBots is a whole line of them. They are mundane items, like food and sports equipment, that were turned into robots and get into wacky adventures in the mall they live in.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has Muggy, the neurotic, mug-obsessed mini-securitron of Big Mountain. He's programmed to be obsessed, and he knows fully well that he is, and why (his whole existence is basically a pointless Take That! against Mr House, who doesn't know and wouldn't care anyway), and he can't do anything about it. He's very miserable about it.
  • MapleStory: Even the Mecha-Mooks and Bosses that are robots are funny. For example, Guard Robots have one wheel instead of legs, use weapons that look like electric tennis rackets, and have a siren on the “head” that blares when they attack, while the more humanoid robots have eyes that bug out when damaged. The first Boss in Black Heaven is a bulky robot that looks like some Dumb Muscle thug with a square jaw in a suit – except he’s a robot.
  • Portal
    • 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.)
  • Beep-0 from Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle may be a robot assistant, but his dialouge and personality makes it clear he acts like a human being. He's a very funny character in so many ways.
  • 'Super Mario Odyssey: The Steam Gardeners, who talk about flowers and silly stuff in Robo Speak, are these.
    "We are programmed to grow flowers. The flowers are programmed to grow."
    "The Steam Gardens are objectively superior to other regions! Wooo."
  • In Undertale, Mettaton is a robot that people is known to crack a joke here and there. Any scene with Mettaton is bound to have a funny moment.
    Mettaton(After typing a response with swear words): Oh my! This is a family-friendly TV show! Now stand still while I murder you.

    Web Original 

    Web Comics 
  • The Air Ride Series: Miss Robot. Almost any second she is in a comic, Miss Robot is doing something stupid. This ranges from drinking lava, confirming she hacks herself, or the fact her favorite drink, water, causes her to explode.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • XR from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command was created to be a serious space ranger. However, his Hive Mind creators being mentally separated during his first reconstruction resulted in him becoming a PG-rated version of Bender. He's conniving, cowardly, and constantly hitting on girls, both organic and mechanical. Nonetheless, he's still a hero when the chips are down.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • The title character of Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones?. A lot of humor comes from Robot's warped perceptions of human culture and trying too hard to fit in.
  • The Galaxy One prison ship in Final Space is full of Funny Robots to support its sole human prisoner, from "Insanity Avoidance Companion" KVN to the "S.A.M.E.S." (Synthetic Artificial Masses Erecting Safeness) who serve as crew to H.U.E., the onboard AI (who as of Season 2 has been downloaded into a robot body).
  • Any Cybertronian comic relief characters in the various Transformers shows, such as Animated Wreck-Gar or RID '15 Fixit.
  • Chopper from Star Wars: Rebels enjoys pulling pranks on the rest of the Ghost crew.
  • South Park: Invoked with "Funnybot", a robot designed by the Germans to prove that they are funny. Of course, much of its humor comes from the fact that everyone finds its middling to poor jokes (punctuated by the punchline of "Awkward!") to be the funniest thing in the world. It ends up trying to destroy the world as it believes that it would be the ultimate joke.

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