Alt Comedy or Aspie Comedy?

A feature on the sketch group Asperger’s Are Us in this week’s Philadelphia Weekly:

The concept of “as­pie humor” was ac­tu­ally dis­covered in the 1940’s by pe­di­at­ri­cian Hans As­per­ger him­self. In his pa­per, “Aut­ist­ic Psy­cho­pathy in Child­hood,” he ar­gued that while aut­ist­ic people “do not un­der­stand jokes….” (es­pe­cially when the joke is “on them”). This can lead neur­o­typ­ic­als to won­der wheth­er the sub­jects are hu­mor­less or just re­pulsed by verbal cruelty. Far from hu­mor­less ar­gues As­per­ger that, due to their lit­er­al-minded­ness, “when mak­ing puns… aut­ist­ic people some­times shine… this can range from simple word­play and sound as­so­ci­ations to pre­cisely for­mu­lated, truly witty re­marks.”

“The main thing unit­ing most As­pies’ sense of hu­mor is our word­play,” the group says, “Be­cause we’re not that in­ter­ested in si­lent plays.” Per­haps in the jovi­al at­mo­sphere of 1940’s Aus­tria this sort of hu­mor may have been con­sidered hack, but in an era when irony and parapros­doki­ans (look it up!) are all the rage, aut­ist­ic hu­mor may at last have its chance “to shine.”

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