Amusing Alien

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

An Amusing Alien is a sci-fi, fantasy, or otherworldly character[1] 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 instead.

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 an Alien Scrappy if not handled carefully. This trope documents Amusing 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.

Examples of Amusing Alien include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Comic Books[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Mork from Ork, probably the Trope Codifier and best example.
  • ALF
  • 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 (TV). 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 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 (TV).
  • 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.

Video Games[edit | hide]

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  1. 'alien' is not meant to be literal