ON ACTING: More on Funny
Without comedy's ties to the emotionally real, comedy spins off into comment, superiority and an unsuccessful poke-in-the ribs. As anyone knows who has tried to tell a successful joke, the audience laughs less if the joke teller is telling the audience--either before or during the telling of the joke--that the joke is going to be a laugh-filled riot. Audiences will generally laugh more if the teller (or writer, director and/or actor) is having the joke happen by surprise.
A general rule: the less funny and more seriously or outlandishly real the situation and/or the joke is to the teller (or writer, director and/or actor), the funnier it will be to the audience.