Trout's actually wrong here, as laughter really isn't the best gauge for determining the quality of humor. While the ability to induce laughter is certainly one criterion by which to judge humorous art, other elements can be just as important. In a comic strip, for example, characterization, relationships, drawing, dialog and the construction of the strip itself are all very important. Pearls Before Swine makes me laugh a lot more than Get Fuzzy does, but that doesn't mean Pearls is the better comic. Stephan Pastis is just a lot more focused on daily gags than Darby Conley is. Conley is a lot more focused on characterization and relationships. Gags are much more likely to induce laughter, but the interaction between Bucky and Satchel is just as funny in a more low key sort of way.
Likewise, I very rarely laugh when I get to the end of an Agnes comic. But that doesn't mean it's a bad comic strip. It is, in fact, a good comic strip that just doesn't induce a lot of laughter. Which makes it somewhat confusing to see Tony Cochran subscribing to this kind of criticism.