In another thread, Jarod has been touching on different types of comedy.
Posted By: BurrOn another note, I can see making explicit what kinds of humor may be kneaded into the genre. It seems like comedy of manners would tend to sink into the fiction; whereas, even a subtle pun would tend to pop out of the fiction. But then, maybe both could be used to weave the real and fictional contexts in and out of each other.
I think Jarod's nicely nailed some of the consequences of different approaches, and I couldn't agree more that sophisticated use of e.g. those two could produce something really rewarding.
Taking your wider point, about different types of comedy, I wonder if we tend to rely a lot on one basic technique: be mindful of tone. Do be wacky, keep it understated, that kind of thing. Actually, I think in of itself that can do a lot - people can be smart and sensitive and manage this stuff by directing their attention towards it. However, I think that more support can be given, and I'm wondering how to get it.
Firstly, does it already exist in the rpg community?, I'd be curious to how some of the big funny-oriented games like Toon, Paranoia, Ghostbusters, etc approach things. Do they gather up active advice for how to introduce and run with funny content? Are there suggestions for how to sustain different comedic moods?
Secondly, what forms could support take? Personally, my mind is on attention-directing stuff. Things on the character sheet, advice for the GM in the form of "when this sort of thing happens, consider this". Not so much around concrete mechanics. Is there scope for other stuff?