Gintama is awesome. It has been a while since I read any of it, over a year or 2 in fact. I have gotten around to re-reading a couple of volumes in the last couple days. It amazes me how it can still make me laugh as much as it does. I am not a big fan of a majority of anime comedy for pretty obvious reasons. but things like Chromartie Highschool and Gintama really blend with my sence of humor. They play everything so straight faced and with such great timing that it just works.
I remember in high school when I first heard of Gintama I did not know it was a comedy. I just thought it was another shonen series I would probably never get around to seeing. Then a friend of mine started talking it up and saying how good it was, I remember there were particularly ecstatic over the Death Note parody episode. I watched a coupled episode and was not too drawn in, because quite honestly when it is trying to tell its serious sotry or not doing kind of a series of one off stories it is not that good. I hate to be the guy that says you have to watch/read to a cretin place in the story before it gets good. With Gintama though, It is kind of forgivable because it has to set up its characters so that when there is character related comedy you understand it. I think once you get past the first 7 or so episodes and or the first volume and a bit of the series you are in the clear for a good time.