Posts Tagged ‘Adam Schwartz’

Well, the fringe festival is over so I am now going to reflect on this amazing experience.
Pre-fringe I sent out all the emails to all of the contacts that Fringe suggested, which was like 4 weeks ahead of time. I thought that everyone would be interested in my story because I am egotistical like that. I have a hard time taking the perspective of others, therefore, when things go badly its because of something I did and when things go well it’s because I got lucky. Nevertheless, in my head the world revolves around me. Therefore, when I did not hear back from anyone other than the Jewish post and Shaw at first I got really discouraged. (I still think the Jewish post, had the best article of the bunch =0 ). Maybe, I had miscalculated and it turned out no one would be interested in the message that I had to say. Maybe, only people with aspergers would care and everyone else would prefer something lighter. This was a stand-up comedy which is light, but also about a weighter topic Aspergers. My blog never had the biggest audience after all. Therefore, I began worrying that my fringe show would be a flop.
Slowly, however, three weeks after I had sent out all the emails, two weeks after I stopped thinking anyone cared and four days before the fringe festival started. I started hearing back from CBC and the Winnipeg Free Press. When CBC first contacted me I was in a hurry and had just woke up from my nap so wasn’t really coherent about what was going on. Therefore, when they interviewed me for the website I was just confused and thought that was that. Then they contacted me again to do a radio interview, at the radio interview they also talked about doing something for tv but when nothing happened that day I moved on. The television department actually contacted me the day before I was performing. On top of that I was still writing my fringe festival show because the original script was too darn negative.
My mom was still convincing me, however, that not everyone would be interested and only people impacted by the disorder would come to my show. On top of that people with Aspergers rarely like to leave their house so I thought my audience would be tiny.
In addition, I had got my tech time wrong and only out of mercy from the tech guy steve who waited late were we able to practice at all. I only knew, I got my tech time wrong because my mom called me on my cell-phone I had been out that day with some people putting up the great posters that Cory Falvo made for me.
The first night of my show I knew was going to be huge because it was all my parents friends who had read the article in the Jewish post and therefore, had come out to support me. Therefore, I figured I’d have at least one packed house and only one packed house. I was okay with that, because frankly I was not that comfortable with my material after writing and learning it all in a week. Granted it was based on my five years of stand-up comedy but everyone told me stand-up comedy doesn’t do so well in the fringe festival. Also, it wasn’t like I was on the pinnacle of Winnipeg stand-up and had already been looked past for many big shows like the Winnipeg Improv festival. As a result, I had every right to be concerned. Forunately, for me there were lots of people who came out to support me. My brother’s friends parents all the way-out in the country even drove in to support me that night.
The next day, was Friday. I was very nervous because my show started at 5:45 and my shift at work ended at 5:15. Forunately the two were very close to each other. Nevertheless, I was very nervous about not having lots of time to prepare, mentally that is, as my show had no props. I was flabbergasted when I got there and there was a huge line-up. The place had sold-out. The show is very strange for an audience member to know when to laugh because at the heart of it, the jokes are about something really sad therefore, it was hard for them to know when it was okay to laugh and not feel like they are laughing at the person with the disability. It is made tougher by my pedantic speech as a result of my disorder. I have faced this challenge often as a stand-up comedian and I didn’t know how this would fare for my show. This ended up not being that big of a problem. Nevertheless, I wasn’t thrilled with how my show went. My general awkwardness at the end of my worked in my favour, however, as the audience loved it. I wrote this off as a freak occurence and that my audience sizes would normalize for the rest of the shows. That my third show no way would anyone come out I mean it was at a god-awful hour of 11pm on a day that had been raining hard and was still coming down hard. Nevertheless, lo and behold this show almost sold-out as well. There were 5 seats still available.

I was a bit worried how, the critics would take it, however, as my show was barely 35 minutes at that time and I said it was a 42 minute show. One critic hated this and gave me a medicore review a 3. The other big critic, however, loved my show and gave me a 5 stars. Which is a miracle, since five star reviews should only be reserved for the best shows like the Hot Thespian Action one or Crumbs. You know, shows that would sell out automatically whether or not they got 5 stars.
After hearing both shows complain about my show being short. My brother and I stayed up late the Saturday before the Sunday show, my 3rd show, and worked really hard to add 5 more minutes. One of the jokes that came out of this session actually became one of my best jokes.
After getting the 5-star review I also got two super generous reviews from complete strangers in the Jenny’s which is the unofficial fringe newspaper. My shows now started selling out really quickly. I could only hope that the message that I was trying to send about people with Aspergers being just as capable and worthy as anyone else, despite having our shortcomings socially was getting through. One show sold out 5 minutes after tickets going on sale I’ve heard.
The final hurdle came after I won patron’s pick. I was going to be going up against the best shows from other venues in the exact same time-slot. Amazingly enough, the press and word of mouth was good enough that it was the only show that sold-out in advance.
The most rewarding part of the festival, however, was not selling out shows but having strangers who I did not know come up and talk about how they could relate to the show and how they too had Aspergers and appreciate what I had done. Some of them even shared their own stories.

In September, the show will air for one night only at the purple room as a fundraiser for Aspergers Manitoba.

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I like to get caught up in alternative realities. No I do not believe in witches or dragons, but when watching television I like to believe the characters are real and they are not just actors. If you asked me who played Aunt Zelma from Sabrina the Teenage Witch I would probably reply with an answer like I don’t know. I know that characters are played by actors I just don’t like to think about it. For example, I know Aunt Zelma from Sabrina is played by Caroline Rhea, but when I see her I prefer to think of Aunt Zelma. I don’t want to know that she does things that are out of character or that she is not always someone’s wacky aunt.  This could be for many reasons. One of the most prominent reasons is that growing up I did not have lots of friends because of my social awkwardness, therefore, the characters in the shows were my friends. They were always consistent and acted a certain way, as a result you knew how they were going to act. You could also visit them at any time and nothing drastically would have changed. Sabrina would still be getting in trouble Salem would still be a talking cat, but you knew by the end of the 30 minutes they would be able to solve any problem no matter how big or small. Another good friend of mine was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I could always count on her to make smart alec remarks which were never as funny as she thought they were and act like a complete ditz, but when it came down to it she was always extremely loyal to her friends and brave in the face of any dangerous beast she may face.

I could not say the same thing about the people I knew whose actions seemed random to me and made absolutely no sense at all. I was therefore, always on edge when interacting people and worrying when they would turn nasty and smack me, call me a nasty name or laugh at me.  Things could be going marvellously and I could spend an afternoon with nothing going wrong. Other times things could start off going marvellously and my friend may betray me to get on the good side of a girl. Then there were other times were I was just in social situations where I did not know how to act and anything I said or did was simply wrong. There was no way of fixing my problems or coming out on top of the afternoon by using a little spunk and wit.

Therefore, the realization that the person I thought I knew was only playing an actor and was as unpredictable in real life as anyone else was a nasty realization to me.  In my adult life I have been granted some amazing oppertunities. At the Winnipeg Comedy Festival last year, Caroline Rhea came to perform in a show and was going to the after party. I, however, did not want to meet her and have her shatter my illusions in any way. I apperently did not miss much because so many people wanted to talk to her she did not have any time to have any real conversations and had to leave early in the evening anyways.

 Actors, themselves, when they are in the public eye are a type of character. For example. not only is Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft the Tomb Raider but she is also Angelina Jolie the thrill seeker who adopted 5 children and is married to Brad Pitt. Jolie has always seemed exotic and dangerous to me filled with sexy energy. Therefore, I would be terribly disappointed to go over to her house for tea and see her have to do her children’s laundry or yell at her children to clean up after themselves. This would fit into the category of definitely not sexy.

   This line of thinking is particularly pertinent to me because recently my friend was at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal with her English boyfriend who was performing in it. She had an incredible time getting to attend many shows and many after-parties and even got to go on a double date with Patton Oswald and Asizz from Parks and Recreations.  At first I was jealous because Patton Oswald is one of my heroes and she was going to spend a whole evening with him.

                

I mean there is million dollar industries created on exposing these people for being as flawed as the rest of us magazines like entertainment weekly, shows like entertainment tonight, biographies about what their childhood was like. Do I really want to know how these people came to be where they are? Or do I simply want to look at them as Stars who live the most incredible glamorous lives imaginable. Lives that I can only dream about and aspire to, where there is more going on in a day than simply doing laundry and walking the dog to look forward to.

After all this thought, I say, go ahead have your great time. I am going to my computer room and am going to watch Paton’s one hour comedy special again. Don’t tell me any personal information when you get back just tell me it was incredible and the best night of your life.

 

Life is beautiful. Stop a second and smell the flowers. There are way too many unhappy people in the world. Sure I don’t have a monopoly on shitty lives and I am sure getting cancer or having your boyfriend sucks. But stop a second and think about it, I don’t have that many friends, I am still a 26 almost 27 year old virign who’se never even come close and has never had a relationship and all the other problems that I have mentioned in my blog thus far, and yet I am still generally pretty happy. Then there’s still even my whole dream of being a teacher which I aspired to ever since I was in Junior High falling apart on me and becoming a nightmare and I still move on. So whats’s your excuse from not seeing the sunnyside of life? Is your life really so bad?

I am not discussing the people who are clinically depressed here, because that has to do with a chemical in-balance in your body, but you know what you can still get some anti-depressants or there are treatments that you can recieve so that you can keep on smiling. People who walk around with crummy attitudes or an attitude “that the world owes them more” are just annoying. Only by being positive no matter how hard that is will you draw positive things towards yourself such as promotions, friends and yes even romantic interests.

So keep on smiling all you pretty people. Find the good things in life that make you happy like this Banana and Chocolate crepe.

 

As someone with Aspergers fashion is often the furthest thing from my mind. Usually I will just grab clothes and if they are clean then I’ll wear them. Also this seems like a futile gesture, however, because my clothes quickly get dirty when I wear them. You could say that I am not the neatest eater.I am horrible with color coordinating, or figuring out what is the newest fashion. I should be dressing better, meaning wearing less t-shirt and more shirts with collars. The only fashion trends that I have noticed creeping up is wearing Lou Lou Lemon Yoga pants to activities that have absolutely nothing to do with Yoga. Apperently, they make women’s derriere’s look better. Wearing pants that fit and are not to big or small do this just as well, nevermind buying fancy pairs of sweat pants. Another fashion trend that has started, who knows how long ago, is pre-teens dressing like they are going to the bar. When has it become acceptable to let your 12 year-old daughter to dress up like a hooker? I would assume its the whole Tracy’s mom let’s her line of arguement and Tracy is a 50 year-old mother who still dresses like she is ready to go to the bar and views her 10-year-old daughter as her best friend not her daughter. Parents, children do not need you to be their best friends (not true in your case Kikky but you still act like a parental figure not my peer) they need you to be their parent who sets rules and stops them from wrecking their lives and becoming teen moms or worse. Parents fun activities you can do with your children is reading books together, going to Stellas for bread pudding and tea, activities you should not do with your children prowl for creepy men. See who can drink more tequila without passing out.

Upper Arm Tattoo

Tattoos are bad-ass. Girls can be hot with tattoos with or without tattoos. I mean I like the pure and wholesome look, but I also like girls with tattoos. I am not so much into the whole piercing’s other than on the top of the nose and the ears and maybe the eyebrow. Not the booger peircing and I am not that into having too many peircings in the ears just a personal preference.

      The reason why I think tattoos are hot on ladies is it shows that these women can rebuke the system that they are free thinkers. It also shows their resolve because if you get a tattoo you are stuck with it for a really long time. I am into free-thinking chicks because as I mentioned in a previous post my mom is my best friend and that is a bit odd. I am a total mommy’s boy and not the most independent individual. Who can blame me I have a hard enough time fitting in without rebuking the whole system. Therefore, when I see an attractive girl with tattoos I can just admire their indepence streak and how they are so rebellious. I envision I need a rebellious girl who will push me to do new things break out of old cycles and be a more independent individual. Sort of like Elisha Cuthbert, in The Girl Next Door or whatever Cuthbert’s character’s name is in that film.

  Or is it that I just envision that a girl would have to be pretty rebellious to love me. Society and biology insists that they marry the best person possible with the least number of flaws clearly not the guy with a disability. Granted this makes sense as I definitely would not be the best breadwinner.

Tattooed girls are artists who see their body as simply another canvas which is a cool way to show their indepence. I hope it reveals something about them that I cannot usually get when staring at a girl because of my inability to read body language. Therefore, I hope girls with tattoos are as easy to read as a book. They easily make good conversation starters.  It also shows a certain toughness that a girl is willing to take being stabbed with needles for a long time in order to get it done which is hot like Joan Jett. Needles and pain are definitely not appealing to me and are simply another reason why I may not get a tattoo.

Joan Jett Carmen Electra rumored

If anyone has ever had a conversation with me in real life you will know that I suffer from the typical Asperger syndrome of not modulating my voice very well. At least every other week someone like Ryan Ash has to tell me to lower my voice because I am talking too loudly or ruining a conversation because I am standing in between the two participants therefore they cannot continue the conversation till I move.

This has not been a recent problem as you can imagine. In elementary school teachers were constantly telling me to use my indoor voice, when I was excitedly trying to get a point across or make one.

At B’Nai Brith overnight camp the other campers were so worried that I would be terrible at sneaking around that one of them offered to tuck me into bed every night as long as I don’t sneak out with them. Therefore, even, though, I missed out on any kind of teen summer romance at camp I always got a goodnight’s sleep. Maybe this is where my habit of needing twenty-hours of sleep per day came from. I was a terrible sneak because I would always talk way too loudly when trying to whisper. It practically became a joke in itself. Also I have terrible hand-eye-coordination so there was always the possibility that my fumbling around, falling down or stubbing my toe and swearing would also give the others away. Essentially, I am lucky that I was born, when I was born instead of at a time where sneaking around could be the difference between being alive and free, and dead.  I know these are all frothy cappuccino problems in a definitely not foamy world, but these are still my capuccino problems.

In a related thing, one of my teacher’s Mr. X when he was yelling would often say “i’m not yelling, what do you think this is yelling” it was quite strange any former high school graduate cohort can vouch for how odd and hilarious this was.

As I mentioned earlier in my posts that having Aspergers I do not make many friends, nevermind lady friends. In this blog I am going to talk about my best friend.

My best friend is my mom. We are constantly hanging out, reading books  or watching television series such as Sopranos or the Wire together. I never got into Mad Men. She is always the first person I tell everything to and the person who comforts me when I am really moopy. She also gives the best hugs. Really you should give it a try, she’s a really good hugger so if you see her out and about you should just give her a hug. My mom once tried to limit the number of times I can hug her in a day, ha that lasted a week.

My mom and dad have not had the easiest life trying to raise an Autistic child who just refuses to be normal always trying to balance my perspective by poo pooing my dreams and telling me to focus on things i really can do, while at the same time being very supportive.  My mom has often read my books since elementary school till my masters to discuss them with me and help me with my essays even when I don’t want her help. She was also a willing ear when I was doing my biology classes in university.

  Dont get me wrong she is not the perfect friend by any stretch or means.  She can be super naggy about some things like insisting that I shave every day (eww puke) or how I can’t wear shorts and runners (why not? I think I like cool in this combination). Also insisting that I am organized and know the bus schedule and don’t miss the last bus of the night. Always urging me to be responsible and catch an earlier bus. 

Ultimately, however I have to forgive her this nagging because she only has my best interests at heart when she does it. 

Here are some other things I like about hanging out with my mother:

When I hangout with my mom I never have to worry about being less attractive than the friend I am with.

My mom always picks up the bill when we go out, how many friends can you say that about?

She never shops around for better plans, but never has a problem when I cancel at the last minute because something better comes up. 

 

Biblography

image from http://weheartit.com/entry/8576627.

Aspergers on comedy. If you have been following this post you may wonder why I do stand-up comedy, because I am extremely self-conscious and insecure. However, for some reason I always want to be the center of attention. Which seems like a contradiction because if your standing in front of everyone they will see your flaws and your inadequacies. Perhaps I figure that if people are laughing at my joke it means they like me and accept me for who I am. Maybe if they see how funny I am they will want to be my friend. Even this seems contradictory like saying this is how I am messed up don’t you still want to be friends with me. Some people are really clever and are able to make statements about the outside world like Matt Nightingale and get their laughs that way, it definitely seems like the better way to go because you are not holding up your flaws in front of people, however I cannot, most of my laughs come from poking fun at myself.

I have always known I was funny or that at least people laugh with/at me and when your on the stage you definitely cannot tell the difference because a chuckle is a chuckle and a laugh is a laugh. I figured doing stand-up comedy would be easy just opening up a wound and letting the humor flow out. That I would be making money at it in no time. I was sadly mistaken and that it is much harder than it looks. It takes years before you can make a somewhat steady paycheque if you ever get paid at all. The only way however, is to charge forward in it as if you know you have talent that you may or may not have. Another interesting thing is it is impossible to know ahead of time what will work, there is no reason or rhyme to it.

Having Aspergers sometimes my sense of humor does not match the rest of the audience and sometimes things that I don’t think will be funny are hilarious. It’s impossible to understand what will get laughs and this is horrible for someone who wants the world to make sense and can’t just go with the flow. Therefore, you are constantly on the edge of quitting because you just want the world to make sense and are fustrated because some joke that killed in the past is bombing with the audience only to get back-up on the stage one last time and to become addicted to the laughter all over again. I guess that is why I do stand-up comedy.

Having Aspergers and living in the Star Wars universe would stink.

Here are the top 5 reasons.

1.People in the Star Wars Universe are constantly fighting and engaging in high speed chases neither action is easily accomplished when you have terrible hand-eye-cooridination.

2.People with Asperger’s are always trying not to be noticed. Being surrounded by all those different races you would think that it would be easier, however, being around people who are different or unhealthy like old people sometimes makes me nervous that people will realize how awkward and weird I am.

3.People in the Star Wars universe constantly have to be on the lookout for enemies, when you can’t interpret social situations and adapt very well it is hard to determine who is your foe and who is your friend.

4.In the Star Wars universe there is less room for insecurity. People with aspergers since sports and social situations often do not go their way, they are some of the most insecure people. In the Star Wars universe if you’re insecure you become a lackey who is usually the first one killed in a fight.

5.People with Aspergers are very disorganized and if you were in the Star Wars Universe you would be unable to find your blaster or lightsaber before being forced to fight.

Many groups of disabled people such as deaf people do not think of themselves as disabled. They think of themselves as “otherly” able. They form their own languages and have strong communities.

People with Aspergers tend to not think of themselves as “otherly abled”. For example, Spiderman and Superman can both do the same job but in different ways. Therefore, are differently abled, people with Aspergers do not have qualities that make up for their shortcomings; instead they are more like Rudy from the football movie about Notre Dame football, Rudy.

No matter what we work really hard but we are not as big or fast as the others playing the game. We have our own strengths such as being the hardest working people and we see the world from the perspective from the underdog which gives us advantages in certain areas but unlike the deaf community if you asked anyone of us if we would rather be normal we would jump if given the opportunity. Part of the problem why we do not establish the same strength of community is that we fit in different places of the spectrum for example, some people lead normal lives despite receiving a diagnosis of Aspergers, get jobs get married and have normal lives. Other people need more assistance. I am on the higher end of the spectrum and the only place my disability has a large impact on my life is with women. I still have not had my first relationship I have come close a few times but no success. I have had my first make-out session with a bride who was about to take the dive and get married the next day. She was also dressed as a hot pirate as was the rest of her bridal party. After the girl kissed me, however, none of them wanted anything to do with me and the experience, alas came to an end. While the deaf community on the other hand are united because they have their own language and are more separate from the rest of society.

Most articles about Aspergers in the newspaper are about how they do not have imaginations and lack a sense of humor. Therefore, when I say that I am the sexiest person with a blog out there, you can take it as a fact. This lack of imagination is one reason why people with Aspergers struggle with irony because they cannot imagine that something is true which is not. I am a stand-up comedian but how funny I am is up to debate, after all I did only make it to the semi-finals where I lost to Ben Walker, in my fourth year of the Rumors Funniest comedian with a Day job contest. This series of blogs, however, is to prove to the contrary that some people with Aspergers can understand humor and that there is more to us than you read about in the newspapers or in most books that are out on the market right now. Ultimately having Aspergers sucks but if I did not have Aspergers than I would not have this opportunity to prove how wrong you all are about our lack of imagination, sarcasm and sense of humor. We are in fact much more capable and less capable than others give us credit for. In case, you needed another example of our imagination I still think I am going to make a living as a travelling comedian. Maybe my problem is the opposite that instead of not having an imagination I live in my imagination and have no grasp on reality. At least that’s what my mom tells me every single day.

It’s annoying when people think of other people with disabilities as disabled people but it is equally annoying when people with disabilities and others think there is nothing wrong with disabled people and that they are just as good as everyone else. Yes we can accomplish the same things as “able-bodied” individuals but it is much harder to do so, do not delude yourself.