It’s hard not to invoke the ol’ “dying is easy, comedy is hard” adage while discussing Asperger’s Are Us, a Duplass Brothers–produced documentary starring the Massachusetts sketch-comedy troupe of the same name. These four men — Jack, Noah, Ethan, and Aaron (a/k/a “New Michael”) — are all on varying degrees of the autism spectrum; the film shows them preparing for a final show before one performer goes off to Oxford.
In comedy collectives, which tend to be full of people who think their material is sidesplitting as hell, heads usually butt. Feelings get hurt. The occasional writing apparatus — notebook, typewriter, laptop — gets hurled. Now add on a condition shared by you and your fellow crewmates that makes social interaction a continuous pain in the ass.
This quartet of “aspies” (hey, they call themselves that!) works hard to come off as the wackiest set of weirdos you’ve ever seen, even invading each other’s personal space in order to get together and write some jokes. They constantly talk about how they used humor in their younger days to put people at ease. And yet these guys don’t really find much else funny — except themselves. (The only comedian who gets love from these boys is a viral-video prankster who goes on morning shows and pretends to be a yo-yo champion.)
The team’s own comedy is an acquired taste. You’ll appreciate these dudes for making the effort to literally break out of their comfort zones in order to change people’s views on autism. However, there is a strong possibility you may not laugh at or with them during this whole doc.
Asperger’s Are Us
Directed by Alex Lehmann
Duplass Brothers Productions
Opens November 11, Village East Cinema