Scott Adams blogs on how to be funny. Makes a lot a sense to me. I especially liked this "Pearls Before Swine" strip.. It's got the cruel, cute, bizarre, clever, and recognizable variables all working for it. Maybe part of what humor does is get us past the watchful dragons that C.S. Lewis talks about.
It seems we're not really laughing at the caricatures in Saved or The Simpson,s or anything else for that matter, purely because they are recognizable but also because they're cruel, naughty, cute, bizarre or clever. Being recognizable is only one way to be funny. I've got to do some humor analysis to test this idea.
I have always admired peole who are funny, never knew it was a science. Now, if I can come up with as hypothesis and test it. hmmmmm.