I've seen this recently while promoting a humor website I've been working on in the last several months. The site is built around a comedic character I used to perform live (and will do again) called Derek Sapphire. The problem in trying to optimize a site like this is that I can't put the keywords I'm targeting (words like "satire", "comedy", "humor", "funny", etc) in titles, descriptions and meta tags. That would give the whole joke away. So, I just have to play it straight, and build the site as if it were genuine.
The great bulk of the optimization has to be off-page. So what I've been doing lately is writing some articles about humor and comedy, and mentioning the website in the author bio-boxes. That's where I put my chosen keyword phrases.
Using this technique, I have already got the site on page one for searches for "satirical character" and "humorous character". It only took a backlink or two for each. Sure, these phrases have low search volumes and will only bring me a trickle of traffic. Still, it's heartening, because there are dozens of similar and specific keyword phrases that I can target over a long period of time.
As well as the cumulative traffic this will bring, it's also telling Google very specifically about the nature of the site. If all goes well I'll start to appear in searches which are combinations of these keywords that I've placed in the anchor text of backlinks and what's on the actual pages themselves.