Robert White can see funny side of Asperger’s

Robert White. Pic: Comp
Robert White. Pic: Comp
Have your say

BEFORE becoming a stand-up, Robert White went through 67 jobs in seven years. He went to prison for a misunderstood practical joke and even wrote symphonies for his sock puppet.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s later in life, White went on to win the Malcolm Hardee main award for comic originality in 2010.

He returns to the Fringe this year with his eclectic, off-the-wall jokes, improvisatory songs, barely believable stories and interactive music as he explains how he dealt with the world and the people in it, before being diagnosed with Asperger’s.

“Whether sent to my room for the ‘joke’ of throwing a plain biscuit across the room at my father as a child - it was plain! Get it? ‘PLANE’ - or any of my childhood indiscretions, I was always at odds with the world.

Pre-diagnosis, my habits, such as making fart noises in trumpet lessons, were not seen as Asperger’s, but instead I was ‘just naughty’, when really I was trying to connect as a person with limited social skills who often communicated in jokes, although not always seeing the greater context of such jokes.

So when I decided to do a ‘joke’ armed robbery (I found myself walking with a music-stand, dressed in an old ladies wig) and had the misfortune of crossing the road in front of a police car, on my way home after deciding NOT to carry out the prank, it was not as unusual for me as it would be for most.

The scenario was not easily explainable and I was in no state to explain myself, so instead of something so mundane as being sent to my room for biscuit-gate, it had much more serious consequences.

The police interview, with my literal use of language and my inability to grasp the seriousness or context lead to, well, put it like this, somehow the New Year’s Eve countdown to the millennium that I got was from the prisoners in Wandsworth banging from ten down to one on their cell doors as they shouted in unison across the landing.

But now, with ten years in comedy, and some songs, props, a trumpet, haphazardness and my idiosyncratic comedy style, I’m ready to touch on this and other stories, as I perform a show based on me and a show that explains my Asperger’s.”

Robert White: The Curious Incident of the Gag and the Gun Crime... Plus More Stuff, The Hive, Big Cave, until Sunday, 5.30pm, £5, 0131-226 0000