Wednesday, April 12, 2017 – 7:30pm
USA 2016. Dir: Alex Lehmann. 82 min. Blu-ray Disc
VANCOUVER PREMIERE | If you think it’s funny for a young man with Asperger’s to wear a T-shirt that reads “Ask Me About My Fear of Strangers,” then chances are you’ll enjoy the comedy of sketch troupe Asperger’s Are Us. Unafraid to present a can opener on a stool as a warm-up act before “thanking the opener,” Noah, Ethan, Jack, and New Michael met at a summer camp for kids on the Autism spectrum and have been performing around the Boston area since 2010. The film catches up with them as they write and rehearse new material for one last show before Jack leaves for a year to study abroad. Capturing camaraderie and occasional tensions, as well as sometimes-fraught family relationships, this quietly affecting documentary showcases the group’s “Aspie-centric” brand of absurdist deadpan humour and literal-minded wordplay. Fans of Andy Kaufman (a great inspiration for all four troupe members) will be amused!
Post-screening discussion with and stand-up performances by David Granirer, comic, counselor, author, and founder of Stand Up For Mental Health (who himself suffers from depression), and Jari Wilkman and Paul Decarie, two graduates of the SUFMH program.
Co-sponsored by Stand Up For Mental Health, a non-profit that teaches stand-up comedy to people with mental health issues, giving them a powerful voice and helping to reduce stigma.
Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.
“Delivers smart, perplexing humour … Asperger’s Are Us rarely stretches to be funny or poignant or touching, and that makes this documentary all the more of each.”
New York Times | full review