starved for any morsel of humor
polite enough to laugh when the speaker says something in the form of a joke
so desperately anguished that Bush is President that just about anything can set them off.
Where was this audience? -- you may wonder. It was at something called the Aspen Ideas Festival. I don't know if the Aspen Ideas Festival has thought of using an acronym, but let me suggest: As-IF.
(And somebody tell Newsday that it's Alfred E. Neuman not Alfred E. Newman. Best not to misspell things, especially in headlines, when someone else is being called stupid.)