It’s Not Me, It’s You: Autistics and Humor

When my neurotypical parents have their neurotypical friends over, I sometimes remain the only silent person at the table when the rest are roaring with laughter. I remain silent for any of the following reasons:

  • I didn’t find the joke funny.
  • I didn’t fully process the joke. My mind may have wandered elsewhere, which happens.
  • The joke was not funny.
  • I’m still working out what the punch line is in the case of more complex or wittier jokes.
  • It’s possible that the joke was awful.
  • Because of the bombardment of sensory information, I’m so worn out that I just mentally checked out and so I’m not in the mood to laugh.
  • Did I mention that maybe the joke was terrible?
  • Or perhaps the joke was stale (read: shitty).

So when I don’t laugh at a joke, it’s usually because either the joke sucked or was in poor taste (eg. relies on stereotypes too much, racist, sexist, ableist, etc.). Though most people seem to be so convinced of their sense of humor being amazing that it can’t possibly be the reason that I don’t laugh at their jokes. They make jokes about ‘retards’ and then wonder why I look disgusted instead of amused. I find nothing inherently funny about it. I’m then told to ‘lighten up’ or ‘have a sense of humor,’ or ‘understand that this is their sense of humor,’ even though they feel free from the obligation to understand my sense of humor.

There’s stuff that I find funny:

And then there’s stuff that I don’t find funny (I believed in absolute freedom of creative expression until I discovered Vines):

The very fact that we don’t find the usual stuff funny doesn’t stop some people from assuming that we don’t have a sense of humor. You see, in order to legitimately claim that we don’t get humor, we must first have objective standards for what constitutes humor proper, which don’t exist and never will. It’s absurd to judge our humor based on arbitrary standards that no one can agree upon. The fact that I don’t find you or your jokes funny does not give you license to go around claiming that I don’t have a sense of humor. I don’t care if all your friends find your tasteless misogynistic joke funny.

Now, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite jokes:

Did you hear about the man who was hospitalized with six plastic horses up his butt? The doctors described his condition as stable.

A man is pacing around in a waiting room at the hospital while his wife was giving birth. The doctor comes out and says to the man “Sir, I’m afraid I have terrible news. Your wife gave birth but the baby is highly deformed.” The man is visibly upset. “WHAT? You mean it’s missing some fingers or something?” The doctor: “No. It’s worse.” Man: “You mean it’s missing a limb??” Doctor: “No. It’s worse.” Man: “You mean my baby is just a torso???” Doctor: “No, it’s worse. Your wife…gave birth to an eyeball.” Man: “…oh my god… well, it can’t get any worse than that.” Doctor: “No, it’s worse. It’s blind.”

One night, I was very curious to know if I snore so I decided to test myself. I stayed up all night to see if I snore and I didn’t!

Why is the store called 7-11? Because it’s open 7 hours per day, 11 days per week.

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