Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Autistic Me Isn't Funny, Darn It!

"You're funny when you give a talk, but your blog isn't funny. I really wanted to like it."

You don't like the blog?

"Don't you read funny blogs? They deal with serious topics, but still make me laugh. You're too serious, darn it."

My wife and I do read the funny blogs. We were discussing two of the better blogs tonight:

http://thebloggess.com
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

When someone expects The Autistic Me to be funny after hearing me speak or reading some of the other things I have written, I feel like I've let down that visitor.

You just saw this (apparently) funny guy on stage and he was all witty (with a dose of sarcasm) so you rushed home to read… this blog. No wonder you're disappointed. This blog isn't like the public appearance. Maybe, just maybe, someone else writes the blog. Maybe you got the address wrong. This can't be that guy with the tolerant wife!

Sorry, but this is me. Yeah, I get it. You wanted funny when you tried to find me online. What happened?

When I started this blog, it was for a graduate course. The course required students (including me) to create online profiles and some sort of online representation of their lives. I didn't want to be all flippant and sarcastic, like I am when speaking in public, so I took the assignment seriously. I've been taking it seriously ever since.

Should I find more humor in autism? Hey, it couldn't hurt. If there was ever a set of communities in need of some levity, it's the various autism communities. There's some sort of annual stand-up for autism thing that I've never seen. Maybe I should give it a try to learn about making autism funny.

"You write comedy. Use that skill here!"

Well, it isn't quite that simple. Comedy takes a lot of work. My family and friends get to read the drafts, the not-so-funny first, second and third versions of scripts and essays. Sometimes, actors and directors get involved. They read the scripts and tell me what wasn't so funny. I revise the scripts again. Eventually, an audience hears me speak or sees a play or reads an essay and believes I have some sort of natural talent for humor. I don't. I'm not that funny. Just ask my wife. I'm not funny at all most days.

I've had professors ask why I'm not happier. Why are most of my comments negative? Don't I like anything?

My theory is that most humorists are unhappy people, willing to say or write what bothers them about other people and life in general. When I write comedy, I'm mocking humanity and its institutions. Sometimes (often) I am mocking myself, too.

No, this blog isn't funny. That's probably because I never looked at it as part of my creative writing. (Yes, all writing is "creative" — blah, blah, blah, other teachers will respond.) The blog was meant to earn a good grade in a serious class, which sucked all the humor out pretty quickly. All of graduate school lacked much humor; if you've read enough of this blog, you understand. The Autistic Me is probably too often the serious and frustrated me.

Am I going to start trying to be funny? No, because trying too hard would be too obvious, and not funny at all. I have a blog where I intended to post humorous thoughts. But, like so many other projects on my todo list, I find myself too busy to tackle the requirements of humorous blogging. I don't seem to have enough time to be funny on this blog.

Now, all this writing about humor reminds me that if you live in Pittsburgh, then May 19 and 20, 2013, you should try to see the premier reading of my play, The Gospel Singer at Bricolage. Here's the informational link to the production's website:

http://www.bricolagepgh.org/events/gospel-singer

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