Ontario, Canada – Michael McCreary is an 18 year old stand-up comic who has Asperger’s Syndrome. We came across Michael’s website AspieComic and wanted to learn more about this young man with a gift for making people laugh while raising both autism awareness and empowerment. We were lucky enough to be able to interview him before he set off on his Canadian tour.
Below is part 2 of our interview with Michael. Part 1 can be found here
May we ask about the documentary that aims to raise awareness about ASD. How was it filmed and when/where can we see it?
With autism rates at 1 in 66 or whatever the number is, there are very few families who have not been touched by autism in one capacity or another. What we hope to make is not only a documentary about autism awareness, but also about autism empowerment. As we travel across Canada we will be meeting with families in every province and have them share their positive stories about things that they have done to empower someone in their life who is on the spectrum.
We are leaving to start the tour on October 7 in observance of Autism Awareness Month in Canada. We are taking a cameraman with us to film the whole trip and one of my best friends who is also an Aspie to do the sound. The trip will take one month, and when we are finished we have to buckle down and edit it. So, hopefully it will be ready to view for April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day. We will have a DVD available after that, fingers crossed.
We are flying out of Toronto and starting the tour in Newfoundland. Our first show is at Signal Hill in St. John’s. From there, we are flying to Halifax, Nova Scotia and loading up an RV and driving right across Canada. So I will be doing shows in every province. I would love to go to the territories, but the cost of gas would kill us.
How can our readers get in touch with you?
If people would like to see our progress across Canada they can watch for updates on Facebook. We will also be doing updates on twitter@aspiecomic once I figure out how to use it. Technology is not my strong suit. Our tour schedule is on the website and if anyone wants to get in touch I can be reached through my website.
May we ask about your future plans?
Most of my friends are off at university, but I decided to take a different route. After the trip I am going to be moving to Toronto and going to The Second City Training Centre. Many of my comedic heroes trained there, so I figured what better place to learn. They have amazing programs down there and I can learn so much.
Finally, what advice would you give to other young people who are in the spectrum and who perhaps are being bullied/having a hard time?
I hate bullying! For starters, always tell people if this is happening. Tell everyone.
Actually bullying was one of the main reasons that I got into comedy at age 13. Usually there are only a few bullies around and a whole bunch of curious onlookers who are just glad it’s not them being picked on but are too scared to say something.
My mom helped me look online for comebacks. They weren’t the best, but they were so much better than the calibre of the bullies. The curious onlookers thought I was pretty funny and would laugh. That took away the bully’s power.
I would like to be able to tell people to be true to themselves and what they are passionate about. The mainstream way of thinking tries to make everyone know a bit about everything. I think you should just build and improve on what you’re interested in. There are probably very few great things invented by people who were spread out all over the place. I can guarantee, no matter what your interests are, there are other people out there who love the same things that you do. To know you are not alone can build confidence and that make you less vulnerable. Do research and find these people. It doesn’t matter whether it’s cosplays, or science clubs or any other special interest groups. Just find them and surround yourself with those people. Find a way to that will teach you how to present what you love to others in a way that is acceptable. Consider things like the theatre, or improv groups or public speaking clubs to teach you how to present your interests in a way that people find acceptable. You are unique and you have a lot to offer the world. Remember that.
We would like to thank Michael for taking the time out to answer our questions and wish him the best of luck with his tour.
Michael’s website AspieComic can be found here