“I thought people like you didn’t have a sense of humour” said a work colleague one day, “but you seem okay”.
I believe that’s being damned with faint praise.
I mused on it. Then I was amused about it.
People like me ?. Err, Male ?. Over 6′ tall ?. Bolton Wanderers fans ? (Well, okay, you need to have a sense of humour to follow them!), people called Patrick ? (Yes, that is quite funny. You can make cool anagrams out of my name like “prick at” or “pick rat”) but then she went on,
“You know, people with Autism”
So there it was. Autistic people didn’t have a sense of humour. And I wasn’t a person with Autism either. It wasn’t an add on, something I carried around with me, an attachment. It was me. I am Autistic. It’s an intrinsic part of my being.
Funnily enough (excuse the pun) I have met very few people who lack a sense of humour. But there is humour. And then there is humour.
Not everyone finds the same things funny. Much in the same way not everyone finds the same books or films to their taste, or goes to the same place on holiday, humour is very individual.
Some people are not, of themselves, funny but they find other things funny. There is enjoying humour and being funny yourself.
Without humour I couldn’t survive. I couldn’t get through the day. I am Autistic, I enjoy humour and, apparently, I’m quite a funny guy (Look, I know my face is funny. I can’t change it).
When I did some group mindfulness work, the psychologist leading the group asked me if I had ever considered a career in stand up. I told her no, but I had considered one in sit down. Oddly enough she didn’t get the joke. The thing is, I don’t think of myself as a teller of jokes. I am not a comedian but (it seems) I have this ability to latch on to what others say, to think quickly, to come up with outrageous puns and witty remarks, often quite caustic, sarcastic or cynical in nature. I just feed off others (Think of me as a comedic Piranha! Or don’t, that’s quite scary).
I don’t watch much comedy. Much of it I find very crude and tasteless. I do find it quite fascinating however that an ordinary “joke” is turned into something of extraordinary hilarity by using a swear word. It seems that, if you use the word “fuck” in a sentence and you are a “comedian”, your audience thinks it’s hilarious. When I hear it it said in the street I wonder why people’s vocabulary is so limited.
Most modern comedians leave me cold because of this over reliance on swearing and shock value. Give me a Michael Mcintyre (yes he does swear but it’s the occasional word rather than a barrage) or the puntastic genius, Tim Vine over a Lee Evans or a Chubby Brown, any day. As I said, it’s all about personal taste.
Sitcoms are, again, a matter of individual taste. I never really got “Only Fools and Horses” the pinnacle, apparently, of British comedy. I found it too bland and none of the characters were, in my view, likeable. My comedic tastes were slightly more bitter.
Of all the comedies, two of my favourites are “Father Ted” and “One Foot in the Grave”. Both contained an element of tragedy, being trapped in an island or things never going quite how you planned. Things I identified with. Not being trapped on an island as such but that sense of frustration at not moving forward. I found the dialogue clever and quick. Many of the situations in both series were,of course, bizarre but that’s why I liked them. They weren’t conformists. They railed against injustice. They had to overcome misunderstandings, breakdowns in communication (a very Autistic thing in my view) and the fact life never went quite as they had planned. I felt/feel, very at home with them.
So yes, I have a sense of humour. We, as a group have things we find funny. We, as a group, are made up of funny people. We have feelings, we have emotions, we have triggers to make us laugh.
So thinking that we, as a group, don’t have a sense of humour ?.
I don’t find that funny at all!.