Among the handful of singers and actors who have publicly admitted that they have autism is Dan Aykroyd. In a past interview with George Stroumboulopoulos, the Canadian actor and Saturday Night Live alumnus describes being diagnosed with Tourette’s as a young boy and how having Asperger’s Syndrome has impacted his life.
In the clip below (courtesy of The Autism Site), Aykroyd initially seems dismissive of his disorder, claiming he had both "a touch" of Tourette's and autism, but has since "overcome" it. (To my knowledge, ASD is not something you grow out of, rather simply become more adept at managing the characteristics.)
In the end, it's Strombo—"people's brains work in different ways"—who highlights the ways in which Aykroyd's neurological difference may have inspired and informed his unique brand of comedy.
"Maybe getting absorbed in a look, a face, a voice when I was a kid..." admits Aykroyd. "Like Jim Carrey talks about how he used to make faces in a mirror and become absorbed. I think maybe [my comedy] might have grown out of that."
Of the celebrities suspected or diagnosed with Asperger's—including Andy Warhol, Tim Burton, and Gary Numan—many are considered mavericks in their artistic fields.
Do you believe people with ASD channel a different kind of creativity?
Can autism ever be a laughing matter? Is laughter at your child's expense okay if he doesn't get the joke?