I found this piece to be funny. Sedaris is describing a very awkward social situation that each of us can relate to in a way. He took the ordinary story and made it more humorous by placing more emphasis on the events that occurred. For example, I'm sure he exaggerated some of the things the woman did to make them seem more obnoxious or outrageous, which means more funny to us. He also includes all of his personal thoughts on each event, things we would not have normally known were happening had we been watching. For example, we wouldn't have known that he was writing all of those funny little comments as his answers for the Times crossword puzzle. I believe that one thing that makes something funny is that they are out-of-the-ordinary, unexpected, or outrageous. As an example, many people find watching other people get hurt hilarious. Many of the Super Bowl commercials this year featured people getting smacked in the head or hit in the balls. We find it funny because usually we weren't expecting it to happen, and they have an injury occur in a bizarre or out-of-the-ordinary way. So to make his story of this plane ride more humorous, he exaggerates events and includes things that make the story more unexpected or outrageous.
A flight attendant was stationed at the departure gate to check tickets. As a man approached, she extended her hand for the ticket and he opened his trench coat and flashed her. Without missing a beat she said, "Sir, I need to see your ticket not your stub."
P.S.- Otto, you really didn't have chocolate on your face during our meeting so that must have happened with the chocolate I gave you when I was leaving. I did laugh my ass off when I read that email though!!!!!