I think that the groundlings at WS's performances were the most important part. WS had to entertain them with humor that would suit their needs, while doing the same for the other occupants at the Globe that paid 3 times as much for elevated seats, usually considered higher class. Anyway, I know that without the groundlings, we would not be here talking about WS, and the plays would not be the same. Obviously some parts were written for the groundlings enjoyment such as the nurse and her servant in Romeo and Juliet. Do you think that the humor used on the groundlings or the humor used on the higher class most compares to humor that you think that either our contemporary society enjoys, or that you personally enjoy?
Tough question. There are certainly lines in many of the plays in which Shakespeare specifically plays to the groundlings. Perhaps the diversity of the audience would explain why his plays are so ambiguous and mutli-layered; a sort of "insert subtext here" for the very different classes that weren't likely to share the same opinions on some subjects. Certainly, his ability to be incredibly baudy, and yet amazingly eloquent and prolific demonstrate that he was concerned with playing to these different groups.
If you haven't gone to the new Globe and stood with the groudlings yet (you proably haven't. being new to Shakespeare) you must do it! There's nothing like it, and it may help you answer this question for yourself.
By the way, this really should be in the Renaissance Performance section.
"Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices, that, if I then had wak'd after long sleep, will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming, the clouds methought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me, that, when I wak'd, I cried to dream again"