I found that the advice by Sir Laurence Olivier in his book, "On Acting" (Wiedenfield & Nicholson, 1986) is very much relevant to theatrical clowning work.
"Members of the audience must be respected.They must never be underestimated.
It's very easy to sneer behind your handkerchief and wink at your fellows in
the wings, but among that sea of faces beyond the footlights someone will know.
It is the same wherever you go, in all form of entertainment:You respect
them, they may respect you.They can be manipulated, of course,but that something
This they enjoy, this is why they are here; but they must not be
handled clumsily or obviously."
I guess that's why I don't laugh when watching Senario or Gitu Gitu Apek or perhaps AHA!