This is a Blog Azeroth shared blog topic and seeing as it doesn't require any particular level of l33tness I feel qualified to comment.
Under discussion is the effect of humour injected by Blizzard with particular reference to NPC names and other pop culture references.
To me it seems more or less essential. The tone of Warcraft is notoriously cartoonish and hyper-real. It's not about subtle earthy tones; It's about great glowing neon castles with exploding Titans punching holes in them. High contrast. Bright colours. Shiny, pretty things to keep our attention.
So what's that got to do with humour?
A lot of the lore, the plot and the major characters are extraordinarily bleak and violent. To have the goblins fretting about blowing up the Zeppelins all the time creates another form of contrast. It makes the grand and epic stuff stronger by subtly indicating when some stuff is just for laughs or otherwise that "This thing was not a joking matter".
It makes the world more rich.
Also, humor allows a certain level of freedom which Blizzard clearly wants, perhaps if only to satisfy their own creativity and disposition. Take a moment to try to imagine a deadly serious and utterly consistent playable universe that had any of the toys that engineering gives you.
Or that would have let them introduce vehicles.
Or let Taurens ride raptors.
The more serious they make it the more rules they have to follow. Humour keeps the canon loose. It stops questions of the 'too hard' variety.
And it stops us from taking it all too seriously.