The Autism Angle
When I first began doing standup back in the early eighties it was mainly because I couldn’t clear enough time in my schedule to do a play. Standup allowed me to work on stage but still organize my time according to my family’s needs. My family had a lot of needs. Most of the time I was single parenting eight children: two biological, six adopted (Of the six, five were disabled, of the five, four were on the spectrum of autism). I say ‘most of the time’ because every once in a while I would get married for a day or two.
With marrying habits like that and a group such as mine you would think life was replete with material for standup. However, every time I tried to talk about these things, the audience just stared at me in open-mouthed disbelief. So I talked about stuff I thought they could relate to: sex and body functions. The audience stared at me in disbelief.
After several of my sets established comedians would run over and share their opinions. The most common bit of advice being ‘Write what you know! And make it something you have in common with folks.’ I thought ‘I am! I fart and so do they. Right?’ But I knew what they meant. I just didn’t know what in heavens name we had in common besides body functions and sex.
Of course kids could be common ground, just not kids like mine.
Time went on, my kids grew up and lessons were learned.
And after years of trying to make my kids normal, of trying to ‘make up’ normal jokes about my family life to take on stage, the world caught up to me: Autism became common. In 2010 I wrote a one-woman musical comedy called CRAZY TO SANE. The story follows my life and shares anecdotes about how different we had all been and how, now that we were normal, how different we still were. The audiences stared at me in disbelief. I learned to prove it with video clips.
Presently, I perform the show internationally to varying sizes of appreciative audiences. As it turns out, my comedian friends of the early 90’s were mostly right:
Write what you know. And make it something you have in common with folks.
But I would add, ‘As long as your common, isn’t.’ And trust me, my autism tale, isn’t, common.
Lynette Louise MS, BCN-T, CBS, PhD in M.O.M
Lynette (mother of eight, six adopted, four autistic) is a global autism expert, author, speaker/performer and show host whose one-woman comedy-show CRAZY TO SANE has been performed in venues around the world. The show is a bravely honest and intentionally hilarious telling of her family’s journey from crazy to sane. The audience is gifted with stories from a lifetime of mistakes, surprising answers and toe tapping tunes as Lynette reveals the lessons she learned while healing her challenged brain in order to heal the brains of her challenged children.
MS, BCN-T, CBS, PhD in M.O.M