one is usually followed by laughter...the other isn't
Ha. Pretty much.
If you have to ask, it's not funny.
Here is a simultaneously witty and lame joke which may shed light on the distinction (and illusion that there is a clear distinction)
A guy goes to prison
a few minutes after lights out, other prisoners start calling out numbers.
12! (loud belly laughs up and down the cell block)
101! (a range of snickering and guffawing all around)
42! ( some giggling, and a little snort)
88! ( loud groans)
The new inmate whispers to his cellmate in the bunk above him "what's this all about?".
Cellmate replies "We've all been in here so long we all know all the jokes and it is easier to just give them numbers."
Newbie says "can I try it?"
Oldskool says "sure"
Newbie says "what's a good one?"
Oldskool thinks for a minute and says "17 is a surefire winner, try that"
Newbie calls out "17!"
(dead silence, a few uncomfortable throat clearings)
After a few minutes, Newbie asks Oldskool "what? why did nobody laugh?"
Oldskool says "Some people just don't know how to tell a joke!"
My head hurts just trying to read all that.