I just read an article supplied by a very dear friend who is an expert in the silent film era, amongst other things, and friend of many of the famous silent comedians families. He has published books on the subject and somebody I have the upmost respect for.
A week ago he emailed me the most amazing article (http://creativelyspeaking.com/pdf/article_what_people_laugh_at_charlie_chaplin_1918.pdf) that was written in 1918 by Chaplin and applies just as much today as it did way back then. Every 'comedy' magician needs to read this because this is what made him a genius. His understanding of people is what set him apart from most others.
I am honored my friend has taken the time to write the most amazing article for VANISH on the subject above and I know magicians world wide will love the piece.