I need to regain the ability to use descriptive language. I can occasionally describe a scene and use descriptive language. In those paragraphs where I did that, I get favorable responses, "Now you need to do more of that." (back then it flowed naturally. This time I have to really work to get the description.)
This is because you are trying too hard to be who you used to be. The moments where people say YES THAT'S IT! are the times you get into a groove and you stop thinking, you are just writing. Everyone changes. There are many things I wish I can be from my high school days, but we cannot go back to who we were. You may actually realize that you cannot write comedy anymore in general because your view on life has changed and that is perfectly okay.
I had a friend who used to be able to take any song we threw at him and make some improv up about someone sitting at our lunch table. He can no longer do this, at least not on the fly like he used to.
I need to regain a sense of humor. The themes I find now as boring and trite, over the top and slapstick is what seems my readers like about my older work. The problem I have is getting back into that mindset. It feels forced vs. it being natural.
This is probably due to your depression. I, like many here, have suffered from this. One of the worst things about depression is that even life's greatest pleasures become mundane. Finding something you are passionate about while depressed is hard, especially when you want to pick up an old interest. I personally would love to go back to my old hobbies... Sports and piano specifically, but no matter how many times I sit at the keys, the music doesn't come. I can feel the music still and the emotions are there, but the music won't play. I found that while I do want to learn to play piano again, I don't have the drive to play like I once did and that is okay.
You will find that as we age, as we get older, things that interested us before, do not anymore. We grow different tastes as we experience life. If you asked the high school me if they would attempt to write a book in 10 years, they would laugh and say ya right, I will be a civil engineer who is married and playing in adult league sports.
I am not saying that you should quit trying to write, on the contrary, I encourage you to continue. I actually started writing because my therapist said it could be therapeutic for me. Is my writing darker or maybe more serious? Probably because I am putting my emotions and struggles into the book to let go of the anger pent up inside.
The first step to making progress is recognizing where you currently are, not where you were or where you want to be. The cliche advice is to just write. Write everything and anything even on days you don't feel like writing. This has merit for sure. You want to stop trying to think and control the words and let it flow.
Like playing the piano, if you force the keys, it will sound forced. If you try to control the song, it will not feel right. However, if you just close your mind, and let your emotions play the piece, you will be amazed at how little it takes to play something so simple but yet so amazing.
Some of the best piano pieces and considered classics are also some of the most simple pieces you will hear, lacking many intricacies that you think would define a professional. This too works in writing. It's not about using the big words, the fancy words, the complex sentences. Good writers use simple words and why they say the lower the reading grade level, the better off you are.
So keep practicing, don't think just write. Feel the story. Write side stories, and listen to current comedy. What did you like? what did you not like? was it their delivery of an old joke? Or was it that they wrote a skit about a life event that you can relate to and that made it even funnier? Once you recognize WHY you find jokes funny, you can use that to influence your own jokes.
Sorry for writing you a novel, I hope you and others will take the time to read it. I understand completely where you come from all too well and the best advice I can give is to just not give up if it is something you truly want. Just don't try too hard as that will end up causing you to be discouraged when you feel it does not come out well.
PS Try to read over the parts that people say are great. Ask why do they say it's great! See what makes those parts stand out from the rest. Remember what you were thinking and feeling at those times you were writing those parts. Maybe find someone who won't critize your work initially but rather compliment to boost your confidence. I know for me that helped when later on I sought real critizism. But the initial confidence booster gave me the ability to write more relaxed and more fluid.