Turbine's official Dungeons & Dragons Online website has been updated with a new developer diary called "Funny Business". In it, Turbine's Pete McDonald discusses the use (and abuse) of comedy in games. Here's a bit to get you started:
Comedy needs to be contextual. A great movie example of this is the Indiana Jones series. These movies are very funny, but they're also about epic adventures (like our game is trying to be). It works because the comedy is all from that world and those characters. There are no (Temple of Doom) t-shirts in the movie, no winks at Han Solo.
A few adventure games and RPGs have done a great job at using contextual humor. The first two that come to my mind are Fallout and GTA: Vice City. In both of these cases the (joke) is apparent on the box cover. For Fallout it's the retro-50s styling. This opens the door for all sorts of jokes and visual puns that fit within that setting. For Vice City it's obviously a parody of '˜80s cops and robbers, so jokes about Miami Vice, Scarface, and glam rock are all fair game.