For me, what "meta" humor is, is humor not aimed at making the audience laugh, but making a second auxiliary audience laugh at the first audience. So the "entertainer" shows the most awkward, off-putting, sometimes nauseating thing they can show the "audience," for the amusement of people in-the-know to feel good about how uncomfortable this must be making the normies.
And I hate it.
For example, take this video. This illustrates the problem perfectly. A dude recording his grandfather not being amused by a cringey Tim and Eric skit. That skit was not for his grandfather, it was for the guy filming his grandfather watching it. He is the meta-audience.
I especially dislike it when it invokes more than one level of meta, like the "Tim and Eric write a jingle for Tom Skerritt" skit.
Watch full episodes of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! now at AdultSwim.com. Tim and Eric perform outrageous sketches and stunts in this gross-out comedy experience you never knew you wanted. See David Liebe Hart sing songs with his puppet friends, Steve Mahanahan’s tips for keeping child...
This is a skit where Tim and Eric have duped Tom Skerritt into meeting with them, and they proceed to workshop the laziest, shittiest, most amateur "jingle" to... what... revitalize the aging actor's career? I don't know, and clearly neither does Tom Skerritt. Within 60 seconds he politely shakes their hand and gets up to leave, at which point Tim chides Skerritt "You shouldn't have come in if you weren't going to want to go for it," to which Skerritt simply replies (tactfully), "You didn't do a good job."
It's clear that Skerritt is irritated and uncomfortable at having his time wasted in this manner. He is not amused at all. The "audience" is ostensibly supposed to be amused by Skerritt's irritation and discomfort (which some preadolescent-minded people might be, granted), but most people will then, in turn, be irritated by having to watch all the awkwardness of Skerritt being on the receiving end of this intentionally bad, bad-faith pitch. So who is this for? It's for the meta-audience. The people amused at the discomfort of people who were discomfited by Tom Skerritt's discomfort.
And if this isn't the very definition of pretentious, fart-sniffing bullshit, nothing is.