I'm curious why comedy is not a genre for novels. I realize there are comedy books, but these are generally joke books, novelties, autobiographies/essay collections by comedians, etc. Why aren't funny novels just considered comedies? I suspect the answer has something to do with genres bleeding into each other and a funny book is never just a comedy and nothing else. But that's true in movies as well yet we still have comedy films. "Blazing Saddles" is a comedy. But if "Blazing Saddles" was a book it would be filed under western. Right? Why? Any thoughts on this?Would Blazing Saddles be funny if it was a book? I haven't seen it for a while, but my recollection is that it depends heavily on visual (and audible) cues for the humor.
(One great thing about this job: I can now go watch Blazing Saddles and chalk it up as time spent on research. Please someone ask a complex question about Michael Gilbert so I can re-read his novels with a clear conscience!)
But on to your question.
While there was not a gathering of Arbiters of the Bookshelf who deemed comedy Not A Genre, it's also true that comedy is largely not considered a genre.
My best guess on the subject is that because humor is so subjective, there's no way to say "this belongs in comedy before it belongs in crime" if you're talking about the very funny novels of Gary Corby.
Or "this belongs in comedy before it belongs in science fiction or literary fiction" if you're talking about The Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell.
Humor is not only subjective by person, it varies within each person as they grow up.
Think about what you found funny when you were ten. Or twenty. Or now. While some of us still think Captain Underpants is hysterical (me! me!) others have a more …ahem…reserved view of that kind of humor. Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that you loved loved loved as a kid, only to find it did not "age well?" Some of that is cause what's funny when you're 12 isn't funny when you're not.
Romance, westerns, mysteries and science fiction all have universal tropes that cross age lines. You'd recognize a romance in a book for teens, you'd recognize it in a sophisticated book of manners.
Comedy doesn't have tropes. You either think it's funny or you don't.
Comedy is too general to be a useful sorting tool. And too personal to be a useful designation.
Funny how that works, isn't it?