For people with autism and for anyone who knows someone on the autism spectrum
Slaying autism stereotypes with stand-up, one joke at a time. Like many others on the autism spectrum, 20-something stand-up comic Michael McCreary has been told by more than a few well-meaning folks that he doesn’t “look” autistic. But, as he’s quick to point out in this memoir, autism “looks” different for just about everyone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Diagnosed with ASD at age five, McCreary got hit with the performance bug not much later. During a difficult time in junior high, he started journaling, eventually turning his pain into something empowering and funny. He scored his first stand-up gig at age 14 and hasn’t looked back.
Basically this is the memoir of a 20-something stand-up comedian who happens to be autistic. Or as Michael McCreary himself said:
“If you’re looking for a comprehensive and detailed examination of autism and its myriad working in the brain, this book is definitely not it. Put it down and pick up something that wasn’t written by a comedian.”
Since this is a memoir, the majority of the book is full of the triumphs, struggles, and socially awkward moments Michael has had during his lifetime. My personal favorite story was how he not only wrote a play based on the SpongeBob SquarePants movie but convinced his classmates to perform in said play. I don’t think I would’ve been able to convince anyone of anything back in third grade.
To me, a good comedian needs three things: to be genuinely funny, be pleasant to listen to and have a lot of odd life experiences to pull jokes from. A bonus quality is that their jokes are funny because they’re true. And everything he says about autism, from another autistic’s opinion, is true. He makes so many excellent points about living with autism that I related to. Like how autistic people are taught how to act like “normal human beings” while the neurotypical aren’t taught on how to interact with us. Or to act nicely with anyone at all.
If you want to watch some of his stand-up routine, click on the link below. You’ll get a general idea of what he says about autism in this book:
Michael McCreary isn’t the only comedian who is helping humanize people with mental and/or physical differences to the neurotypical i.e. ‘normal people’. There are many other who use comedy to normalize their disabilities. To name a few, here are some YouTube clips, most of them from America’s Got Talent:
Ryan Niemiller – America’s Got Talent Audition
Lost Voice Guy – Britain’s Got Talent – Audition
Josh Sundquist – My Conversations with Children
Samuel J. Comroe – America’s Got Talent Audition
In conclusion, I think autistic and neurotypical people alike will benefit from reading this story.