What a delight, in these dark days, to solve such a smile-inducing puzzle this morning. The theme involves four phrases clued as if they were happy gatherings:
TVRECEPTION (The sitcom writers met at a ...)
TRIGFUNCTION (The mathematicians met at a ...)
MEDICINEBALL (The pharmacists met at a ...)
SEARCHPARTY (The Google employees met at a ...)
And the revealer just might be that central FARCE (Wacky comedy). :)
So already, this one's off to a great start. Add to that a ton more fun fill and good-natured cluing, and you've got yourself a winner. A few of my favorites are: OCTET (Maids a-milking, e.g.), OWES (Is shy, in a way), and EARTHLY (Terrestrial). GENDERGAP and BRASSIERE are interesting symmetry mates. And is it ok for me to mention that I noticed that BRASSIERE was right next to RACK?
I initially entered dRY for "Like some humor," but the well-known Franklin quote "A constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy" (WINE) straightened that out. Me, I'm an AGNOSTIC at best, but a good quote is a good quote, IRECKON.
This puzzle is good proof that crossword constructors love to see us happy. And we're happy they do.