Saturday, March 3, 2018

Stand up comedy: A lighter side of autism's gadfly

For the past ten years since I've been writing this blog, I've been a staunch (and sometimes angry)critic of all the things I don't like in the autism world (and maybe even a few things outside the autism world.) There's a reason I named this blog "autism's gadfly". I've been critical of special education(which I spent eight miserable years in), Behavioral therapy (better known by its more modern moniker, ABA), the anti-vaxxers, and most of all the neurodiversity movement. As I said on my Stories website, I have something to piss everybody off.

Some people, John Elder Robison, most prominent among them, have criticized my anger and my negativity, stating I should devote more time to positive pursuits rather than spreading negativity. I've recently taken their advice and I'm now pursuing a new hobby, stand-up comedy. I've been taking a class in standup and two nights ago I reached a milestone at age 62 of performing my first open mike at a club. I was nervous and pretty sure I'd bomb before I went on. However, the performance went a lot better than I thought and I got some laughs and positive feedback from the small audience. I hope to do more open mikes in the future and I might publicize where i'm appearing on Facebook and Twitter.

I realize I'm not unique in being an autistic standup comedian. On perusal of the internet, I've discovered Byron Filler, Scott Vasquez, and Kevin Lucas. Better known than they are is the infamous Noah Britton and his Troupe Asperger's 'R' us. My short act includes humor about celibacy, The Good Doctor, celebrity diagnosis, my lack of success in writing, and that sick joke in the autism world, Autism Speaks. I haven't come up with any really good barbs about the neurodiversity movement, but I hope to do so someday as I still feel they are another joke in the autism world that's in poor taste.

My disability has made my life difficult. Humor can ease the pain of adversity, and might be useful as a Freudian-style defense mechanism. It's no coincidence that many comics have suffered from depression, Robin Williams probably the most well known of those. In my life, I may have made the mistake of taking a lot of my issues too seriously. I'm still not happy about autism or being autistic. However, I'm stuck with it and nothing I can do about it. Very late in life, I realize that sometimes you have to have a sense of humor about things.

I've had a multitude of interests: Poker, computers, writing, brain science, and, of course, autism. I tried to become a brain scientist or experimental psychologist many years ago, but failed to do well enough in college to get into graduate school. I took courses in computer programming, but was never good enough to do it professionally, and lost interest after a while. I've written some articles and books, both fiction and nonfiction, but was never able to get anywhere with my writing and have not been doing as much lately. I've lost a fair amount of money at poker, but it helped inspire my self-published novel, "The Mu Rhythm Bluff." Therefore, this standup thing may turn out to be another lark, and I may soon lose interest in it. However, it's good to have new hobbies and pursue shit and not put all your eggs in one basket.

Some people have asked me about videos or seeing a performance. I hope to eventually have some videos up someplace. I also may publicize where I perform at some point and people who are in the Los Angeles area or close by might get to see me live. We'll see what happens with this new endeavor and I may or may not keep people posted about it on this blog and social media.


Autism Investigated said...

Speaking as an anti-vaxxer, I find your anger and negativity to be great Jonathan! Keep it up, don't let up!

Jake Crosby

AutisticSince1957 said...

Congratulations and good luck with this new project.

jonathan said...

@autisminvestigated. I don't intend to let it up, but I'd like to present the lighter side of myself when appropriate, and though I've been angry about ND and other things, I've always tried to use tempered rhetoric, though perhaps I have not been perfect, but i'll keep trying.

Seeing Clearly said...

Pro-cure censorship is heartbreaking in Facebook and YouTube, sign up on and leave Twitter, and leave YouTube and Bitchute to leave YouTube.