Humor. It’s all around us. People make their livings from it. It makes life bearable for many of us. It allows Mr. Leno to own vehicles that make me swoon. (Thou shall not covet, thou shall not covet…)
Humor can be a very hard concept for those with Aspergers Syndrome to deal with.
In his paper Asperger’s Syndrome and Humor Jason McCormick, Psy.D. explains:
As a doctoral student in psychology thinking about my doctoral project, I wondered if part of the social difficulty experienced by individuals with AS could be attributed to problems navigating the complex language of humor.
…flexible thinking is important in understanding jokes. Punchlines in jokes are funny partly because they are unexpected. Additionally, according to…researchers, big picture thinking is essential in understanding jokes, as it allows the listener to understand how the surprising punchline coheres with the joke body. As individuals with AS often demonstrate rigid thinking, a desire for the preservation of sameness, and difficulties with big picture thinking, it seems that individuals with AS would have trouble perceiving and producing conventional humor.
My research suggests that [those with Aspergers] produce and perceive humor in ways that are different from [NeuroTypicals]. They tended to prefer jokes with straightforward endings more than did [NeuroTypicals] and [Aspies] humor production was often less organized and less formulaic. However,…[those] with AS both wanted to laugh and to make others laugh. Therefore, rather than calling this finding a humor deficit, humor atypicality is perhaps more appropriate.
An adult Aspie explains in her blog:
A misconception is that Aspies do not have a sense of humor. It is true that we can be very literal, so we often miss the humor in everyday banter, but we can and do enjoy even subtle humor. Our literal interpretations, however, can be problematic.
My own husband has a wonderfully dry wit at times. Other times he leaves me dumbfounded at his choice of amusement. My favorite comical skits are Abbot and Costello’s “Who's on First”, as well as Monty Python’s “Cheese Shop” and “Parrot” sketches. Steve loves them too. Slap stick comedy is guaranteed to leave him in stitches.
But he also loves toilet humor and ‘adult’ comedy which I don’t. Many times our youngest kiddo and I have to hide in another room in the evenings when the man of our house has comedy shows on that singe our ears. ‘Blue’ doesn’t begin to describe it.
Needless to say, my hubby and I don’t go out to comedy clubs. Nor do I watch cartoons much with him. But turn on SpongeBob or Napoleon Dynamite and I will always know where all my ‘kids’ are! Including, of course, my husband…
Anyone want to watch 'Uncle Buck' with me? Now that’s funny!