What DO you think is funny?
You'd certainly think I'd know after having written and performed stand up for about 30 years, as well as within that time frame written thousands of pop culture jokes for TV talk shows, national cartoonists and a throng of other comedians in various situations from radio, film and such.
It's easy really, funny is anything that gets a laugh from the majority. Funny has to possess some kind of release from pain, confusion, misunderstanding, defect or inconsistency. Funny is articulate translation of being lost and taking a delight in gossiping or reporting back on it.
Funny is almost never shocking or anything that will make you cringe- that's a whole other release that may simulate funny but in close examination is not really. Shock laughs can be had but are never long lasting or memorable.
Funny should be something shared by all of us and reported on by a person of sympathy and attitude.
Surprise is definitely part of being funny...though there are degrees of surprise...it could be a quick or even drawn out reveal. If it's drawn out it must be compeling for the audience, something rich in character and or rarity of event.
Funny is the positive side of failing but yet continuing. Funny should draw the audience together. Too many new and unknowing comedians fragment their own audiences and don't even know it. Funny should be heartfelt and having a form/structure as to reach a part of everybody in spirit.
Funny should only be a ripple of tension then soothed.
You've probably guessed I could go on and on. Funny is life to me. It's not everything but it's right up there. Funny isn't it? ;)