‘Asperger’s Are Us’ Documents Four Comics Who Aspire For More
While researching a character on the autism spectrum, indie filmmaker Alex Lehmann happened across an online article about the sketch-comedy troupe Asperger’s Are Us.
He was hooked.
“I immediately put down the script I was writing and went to film these guys instead,” says Lehmann, whose documentary about a group of comedians with autism opened recently at select movie theaters and is available on iTunes and Amazon.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Executive produced by Mark and Jay Duplass, the film “Asperger’s Are Us” centers on four friends — Noah Britton, Jack Hanke, Ethan Finlan and New Michael Ingemi — who are trying to cope with sensory issues and put together what could be their last show (it wasn’t).
Lehmann admits he couldn’t have timed it better.
“I didn’t realize where they were in their careers, and so when I reached out to them they told me, ‘We’re going to be doing one show this summer and it might be our last show, so you might want to come film it,'” he says with a chuckle.
He booked a flight.
With just a camera and microphone, Lehmann set out in the summer of 2013 to capture this coming-of-age documentary that premiered at SXSW. It’s filled with stories of camaraderie, father and son relationships and the struggle to find a place in the world as the majority of the troupe heads off to college.
The members of Asperger’s Are Us met at a summer camp for “aspies” where Britton was a counselor. They all shared a sense of humor, so they decided to form a comedy troupe and start performing.
“Everyone always says, ‘Oh, you’re name is so funny’,” Britton says in the opening moments of the documentary. “And I’m like, ‘No, we really do have Asperger’s.’ But two years or something into the troupe, I realized, I guess the name is funny because it’s grammatically incorrect. But I never thought about it.”
Ingemi chimes in: “Microsoft Word always corrected it: Asperger’s Is We.”
Not everyone will get the wordplay and jokes that leave this foursome in stitches, and that’s OK.
“They are incredibly inspirational, but they get to be that by focusing on their comedy and lives and not trying to be spokespersons for autism,” Lehmann says. “These are stories we can all relate to.”
© 2016 Los Angeles Daily News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC