Living with Autism is living on spectrum. It is a condition that affects people in different ways. This April for Autism Awareness Month some WAVE volunteers and apprentices will be sharing their perspectives on common beliefs, myths, and misunderstanding related to Autism Spectrum Disorder.
It’s a common misconception that people on the autism spectrum lack a sense of humour. In reality though, people with autism can have a sense of humour that is just as well developed as neurotypicals.
It’s just often different. Comedian Dan Aykroyd, writer and star of the little known 1984 film Ghostbusters, was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome as an adult. In 2013 Aykroyd said he was inspired to write Ghostbusters by his twin “obsessions” with ghosts and law enforcement. For most people these two subjects would seem pretty disconnected and not particularly funny in and of themselves. But Aykroyd’s unique perspective allowed him to combine the two.
Michael McCreary is an autistic stand-up comedian in his early 20s. His unique brand of humour is informed by being on the autism spectrum. In an interview with the Toronto Star he said it was easier to find humour in mundane life for him because “There are a lot of(social) situations that we take for granted that aspies have to learn… and because of that, they’re more in tune with it”.
People on the autism spectrum tend to have a sense of humour that focuses on the strange and absurd. Perhaps unsurprisingly others tend to find these situations less funny and more “weird”. This, compounded with the fact that many people on the autism spectrum can have trouble knowing when it is appropriate to laugh, can contribute to the image of people with autism as humourless. After all, all humour is subjective!
Or at least, that’s what we think…