Does Karl Pilkington Have Aspergers?

Many believe Karl Pilkington has Asperger Syndrome, and I definitely think so too. In fact he appears to have so many symptoms of Aspergers, that I believe he is a “text book case” for high functioning Aspergers.

For those who don’t know, Karl was a radio producer on a show Ricky Gervais worked on. Ricky found Karl’s unique view of the world to be entertaining and he often ended up in hysterics after Karl had said something that Karl didn’t even know was funny. This article and interview should explain Karl quite well. But it’s better to watch him on The Ricky Gervais Show on YouTube.

So let’s look at the evidence of Karl having Aspergers:

  • Lateral thinker
  • Deep thinker
  • Thinks at the same speed as talking (ADHD)
  • Likes to be alone
  • Intolerant of certain things
  • Likes routine/Hates change
  • Talks common sense (even if he’s not too good at expressing the topic clearly)
  • Loves learning new and interesting facts
  • Is creative (DIY mostly)
  • Lazy
  • Lack of confidence
  • Takes things literally (such as metaphors)
  • Worries a lot

I can’t think of all the symptoms he has off the top of my head, so I’ll keep adding them to the list above, as and when I’m reminded of them.

In the interview linked to above, Karl says on the subject of becoming more famous;

“I don’t think it’ll happen. I don’t have the confidence Ricky has. I’m always worried about stuff.”

Even though he frequently states that Karl is an idiot, Ricky himself has admitted on The Ricky Gervais Show in 2011 that Karl does have plenty of common sense (I can’t yet identify which episode).  He actually stopped taking the piss for a few seconds and even sounded sincere when he said it!

I love listening to what Karl has to say because, like me, he is a lateral thinker and can observe things that other people miss. But unlike many comedians, for example, who deliberately make a living out of their unique take on the world, Karl is the reluctant entertainer. Although I sometimes get mad at Ricky for interrupting Karl or for turning an interesting discussion into sexual inuendo, I have to feel grateful to him for recognising how entertaining Karl is.

He knew that Karl would never make the decision to put himself on TV – even if he had the resources to. Karl admits he can be quite lazy and will fill his days with what seem to others to be mundane and boring activities. So he sticks to doing what he is familiar with because he does not like change. Not liking change and preferring to have the same routine every day is classic Aspergers behavior.

In every episode this is confirmed to me more and more. I always wish I had recorded each episiode, so I can analyse everything he says and talk about them here. But luckily people have uploaded various shows to YouTube, so it’s easy to go over them and embed them onto this site to show examples.

I end up watching them at least twice because I view them with two minds. One for sheer entertainment; the other to analyse Karl’s brain. Ricky named the show The Ricky Gervais Show, but once he invited Karl to participate, Karl soon became the star of the show, and now many feel there would be no show without him.

Many of the YouTube comments are from people who hate how Ricky always interrupts Karl and calls him an idiot. Others say that the people who criticize Ricky don’t understand the premise of the show.

I think they do understand, but Ricky seems to be ignoring the fact that the show has become something slightly different to what he intended. He just wanted to be silly and have a laugh, but he did not plan for Karl actually talking sense a lot of the time. It is obvious that he invited him on the show to provide his nutty anecdotes and bizarre opinions that Ricky and Steve find ridiculous.

Some people actually thought Karl was too funny to be for real, and thought that Ricky Gervais had “made him up”.

I knew straight away that Karl was for real, because I think like he does in many ways, and I keep a diary like he does. By that I mean I write it in a similar way to how he writes his diary. At the time of writing my diary, I won’t find it funny at all. I could be moaning about something that annoyed me that day and be feeling angry or embarrassed. But when I read it back months or years later, I can be howling laughing at what a plonker I was, or the way I phrased something, as they’re so random and not what you expect. I personally find Karl’s diary entries the most funny, and the best parts of the show, for the same reason.

Although Karl is a lateral thinker and often a deep thinker, he is not a fluent or articulate speaker. He will have an idea or read something fascinating and try to relay this to Ricky and Steve on the show, but as he is inarticulate, he is not able to do the story much justice. I feel for him when this happens too, because Ricky and Steve interrupt him to make jokes and he quite often is not able to finish what he was saying. That happens to me all the time too. It’s frustrating because it makes you wish you could sound clever, because you know you are clever inside your head!

I also think Karl has ADHD like me too. And I believe it is this that is responsible for him not remembering certain words or phrases, when describing something. I find myself shouting at the TV in an attempt to give him the phrase he’s looking for! But the same thing happens to me all the time too. I will forget the most obvious words that I otherwise use regularly. Just the other day I could not think of the word “articulate” – ironically!

So the Aspergers makes Karl have the random and funny thoughts in the first place, but the ADHD makes communicating his thoughts ineffective, but sometimes the lack of communication makes everything even funnier.

It’s a shame that some people form an opinion about him after listening to him speak for only a few minutes as a result of channel hopping, then they just think he’s an idiot, which is the idea Ricky is trying to promote. But Karl is not an idiot, and while he has me in hysterics, I also feel his pain at not being able to get his point across.

I loved how in this video Karl has noticed that old people’s noses and ears carry on growing. Because a lot of makeup people who worked in TV and film in the past failed to notice this, and “old person” makeup always used to look fake because the ears and noses were the same size as young people’s. They seem to have figured it out lately though. (although people who have had nose jobs look silly when they get old, as they have old faces with tiny teenage noses).

In some ways I think Karl is more of an aspie than me, because he can take things more literally or lack perception sometimes, but in other ways I think that I have aspergers more than Karl. For example, he can do relationships and I can’t.

He has a long-term girlfriend Suzanne, who he talks about a lot on the show (she is shown illustrated but you never see her face, which is cool, as she can stay relatively anonymous). I can’t do relationships, and cannot live with anyone or let anyone close, as I am intolerant and set in my ways. I had lots of partners when I was young, but they dumped me or I dumped them, and it was usually because of me.

But from what Karl has said about Suzanne, she sounds dyspraxic to me! Apparently she is heavy-handed and bangs and clatters about. Clumsiness is classic ADHD and dyspraxia. I have this too, but if Suzanne is on the autistic spectrum as well as Karl, she might be able to tolerate living with him more than other people can and this could be the secret of their longevity.

I know a couple where the guy has Aspergers and the girl has ADHD, and they have been together for ages too. And I have known couples where one is Aspergers with ADHD and the other is ADHD only. Those combos are ok – it’s when you have two aspies together that you get fireworks!

In the above video at 4:25 Stephen reads out a section of Karl’s diary where Karl wonders if other people think in their own accent, as he himself does. I understood this immediately when I first heard the podcast years ago, and was surprised to hear Stephen ask, “What’s this? What are you talking about?” Pardon Stephen? You mean you DON’T think in words?!!

When things happen fast, I don’t think in words particularly, but if I’m just strolling through the park and think something looks weird, I will actually say in my head “That looks weird” and I’ll imagine my voice saying it, just like Karl describes in the video. But Ricky and Stephen seem to think that you’re not supposed to think in words. This prompted me to ask people about this myself.

The people I have spoken to say the same as me; that they think sometimes quickly without words, such as when you get a whole idea in just a split second, and sometimes they think in realtime dialogue. But they were all strong contenders for having ADHD! So I suspect thinking in actual words could be a symptom of ADHD. Or is it that we ALL think in words sometimes, but that people with ADHD are the only ones honest enough to admit it?!

People with ADHD/dyslexia usually cannot read faster than they speak, unless scanning classified ads for example, where they’re only picking out key words. Let me know in the comments what you think – or rather, HOW you think!

Do you think in your own accent like me and Karl?


I don’t mind commenters disagreeing with me, but I’m sick of people saying the same thing; eg: “You shouldn’t label people” etc. They clearly haven’t read the other comments. One person even admitted not having read the whole article!

I have already explained in the comments here why ASD cannot possibly be a label; because it is so diverse.  And the people who insist it is a label still view ASD as a negative thing. ASD is a gift more than it is a disorder. It should be called ASG! It’s the people who think of it as a negative, who are doing the labeling.

It also seems obvious that people are commenting here without reading the Home/About page, so do not know what this site is about. If people have a hard time believing Karl Pilkington has High Functioning Aspergers (a more obvious case), then they are at the wrong site, because I believe at least half of everyone is on the AS spectrum.

I have talked to lots of people with first hand experience of living with, or working with High Functioning Aspies, who on the whole think that Karl has aspergers. The people who refute the theory seem to be those who, for example, know ONE person with aspergers, and because that person is nothing like Karl, Karl can’t possibly have aspergers!

Someone tells me that Karl’s own parents think he has Aspergers! I am still looking into that.

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66 Responses to Does Karl Pilkington Have Aspergers?

  1. Anon says:

    I also believe that Karl is on the autism spectrum, most likely high functioning aspergers. One symptom he doesn’t seem to have shown much is obsession(s) with certain topics, which often exists in aspergers. But apart from that I think its a case study example. Good on you for writing this article.. its funny to see everyone else asking whether he is acting or a comical genius, which I questioned at first too, but am certain its due to autism/aspergers.

    • Anon2 says:

      But Karl clearly has an obsession. He is obsessed with deformed people such as an elephant man, conjoined twins and similar. Also, probably insects. I’ve never seen anyone take an interest in insects as much as Karl does.

      • Autastic says:

        Yes, I think you are right! He’s like a 5yr old in some ways, including his intense fascination with bugs!

  2. Autastic says:

    Hi Anon,

    Thanks for your comment (I love all your poems btw!)

    I think you are right. Karl does not appear to have many obsessions, although did you hear him say the other week, that he sat in the garden drooling for 15 minutes? (sadly not a turn of phrase!) – he leaned forward with his mouth open, because he was doing an experiment to see if he could run out of saliva.

    What the hell?!! – I was doing stuff like that when I was about four! (and even then; I wouldn’t TELL people!) Fifteen minutes sounds a bit obsessive for a grown man. God, I hope his garden is not overlooked!

  3. Audism says:

    There are still many people who don’t understand aspergers and autism, let alone high functioning aspergers. I am glad for Karl making his appearance on tv, because he would have saved a lot of people with this condition from a sad and lonely life of never being understood, even by themselves. Finding people like Karl I can call my own was one of the best things I’ve come across in life~

  4. Jared says:

    Karl Pilkington is Chauncey Gardener

  5. Pete says:

    Karl clearly has an obsession with insects!

  6. Jack Durrant says:

    I have autism, and I think Karl Pilkington is smart and hysterical. I watch shows like the Ricky Gervais Show and An Idiot Abroad to see him and his character, but I think Karl Pilkington could do better without Ricky Gervais, if he put his mind to it.

    • Autastic says:

      Hi Jack, thanks for your comment. I agree – Karl is a legend. Just saw your site – It looks great. I have bookmarked it to read more later.

  7. Jena says:

    I have also wondered whether or not Karl has aspergers. Autism runs in my family, so i know the signs. He is very interested in people like the spider sisters but he really does not mean any harm. He never laughs at any jokes. At the same time, maybe he is just British? My father in law is British, same council estate kind of bachground, and he acts a lot like this. He does not have aspergers (it comes from my side of the family). Not sure if anyone else thinks Kal is just the product of low education, British council estate without actually knowing the man? He did have a proper job which can be hard for some aspies, others not so much. I couldn’t believe Ricky Gervais would knowingly take the piss out of a guy with aspergers on purpose. He might be a dick sometimes but I believe he really does care about Karl.

    • Autastic says:

      “maybe he is just British?”

      – So all Brits have Aspergers? I think a lot do, but that generalization is a bit over the top – even for me!

      “My father in law is British, same council estate kind of bachground, and he acts a lot like this… Kal is just the product of low education, British council estate…”

      – So now just underprivileged, uneducated people? But Boris Johnson, Germaine Greer and Prince Philip (among many other “educated” people) are strong contenders for being Aspies as they have a lot of the signs of Asperger Syndrome. Stephen Fry also has many Aspergers traits, and having a Bipolar diagnosis makes him a prime suspect. In addition, most gifted Autistic Savants have also been found to have Aspergers.

      I think you might have confused Karl’s accent with his condition. Yes, many “uneducated” people can sometimes sound less articulate when talking, but I have picked Karl out, not just because of his inarticulacies, but specifically because of his lateral thinking and the random things he notices; his heightened abilities more than his inabilities.

      You may also have confused his accent with “uneducation” and “council estates”. Firstly, living on a council estate doesn’t mean “uneducated”, and secondly, I lived in Salford as a child, and myself and everyone I knew spoke very similarly to Karl, though none of us lived on a council estate.

      Also, some underprivileged people are on the autistic spectrum, but could it not be that their lack of opportunities are because they (and their ancestors) are on the autistic spectrum, rather than their lack of opportunities being the cause of their ASD? Most successful people who are are on the spectrum had to work a whole lot harder than their peers due to their diffuculites. Most people under-achieve, but for sufferers of ASD, the social difficulties especially, can result in having even fewer opportunities than most.

  8. George windsor says:

    I have asberges syndrome and i think almost the same way as karl but i see the world the same way as a leopard would

  9. Laura says:

    I definitely think in dialogue, and as far as I know, I do not have Asperger’s or ADHD.
    It’s funny, sometimes I watch this show and understand exactly what Karl’s saying, even when Ricky and Stephen don’t.

    • Autastic says:

      “I definitely think in dialogue, and ***as far as I know***, I do not have Asperger’s or ADHD.”

      Exactly! That’s the point of this site. Most people who are on the Autistic Spectrum don’t know they are. Do any of the characteristics on my Symptoms page apply to you?

      If so, how many?

      If it’s a lot, don’t fight it – You are in good company!

  10. Peter Andrew says:

    Reading this post and the replies has been truely fascinating for me. I am 34 , I live in London, up until last week I would describe myself with labels/diagnoses and self diagnoses.. It is my business strength to label people as I am self employed and this method helps my networking skills… I went to rehab in 2007 came out telling the world I am an addict in recovery. In the last few months I have made the most profound discoveries about myself, I relied on YouTube allot to get me through the winter..watching phychology documentaries..any documentaries, I kinda started finding myself again… I redound my strengths, what makes me unique and good and why I have failed.. I realised it came from age 12 when I was labelled dyselxic.. And then after my mum died&loosing my first business I found recovery through identifying with labels.. Ie my name is…and I am an ‘x’ ‘y’ ‘z’ …

    To tie my story up to date, through this time I was referred to a cbt councillor and an addiction councillor who is a polish philosopher (as in she has studied philoshical for many years and uses her own journey of self discovery through philosophy to mould her counselling style. (I have friends who are councillor s and through my journey up to date have tried everything, particularly liking the person centred aproach) so yes, Wednesday last week the polish philoshical said drop all your labels… (Which have self defeated my life) ..this advice clicked for me as it was an instinct I had when I was a teenager (never label people). So now I have or am dropping ‘all’ my self defeating labels.. Labelling helped me to a point in my life, but hey, in a mid life cris kinda way, I will move away from the labels…

    Reading all your own opinions on karl, a creative mind, with a kind and loveable soul, your opinions of him and his his possible ‘spectrums’ of autism et al has really shone a great mirror in my face.. So thank you guys.. Good luck on all your journeys of the self.. To label is a strength, to label is a weakness. I trust in my aproach to life now that I will better myself, by how much only time will tell but for me (and I can only ever speak for me/and at this point in my life), I will step fourth by dropping my labels… Anyway I’m. Back to a bit more karl Ricky and Steve.. (You guys should watch DERIK) it’s a series Ricky has just made, it stars karl.. It is not a light comedy, I guarentee the series will make you cry.. Cry with sadness, cry with joy.. I found it very cathartic.. You can get the series on DVD or watch bbc I player search Derek. Peace and love : )

    • Autastic says:

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your great story of self improvement!

      Yes, I also loved the series Derek.

      Take care

  11. sam says:

    Karl has numerous obessions. A few of them are jellyfish, elephant man, oddities of human and animal nature.

  12. Kate says:

    I do not have Aspergers, although I am BiPolar.
    I think in words. Most certainly. (Unless I’m manic, then I think in colours, sounds, snapshots etc)

    • Autastic says:

      “I do not have Aspergers, although I am BiPolar.”

      I don’t know how much of this site you have read, but I believe BiPolar could be a result of Aspergers.

      “…I think in colours, sounds, snapshots…”

      Have you seen the Symptoms page?

  13. RR says:

    I’ve been recently diagnosed with A.S. (and Dyslexia…..)
    I can certainly relate to Karl vision or perception of the world.

    However I’m a bit sceptical about he is an actor and its personage has been created, as from what I experienced during group supports “we” are ultra organic individuals and playing a role at this level does seems conceivable (to me).
    Bearing in mind the level and form of affectations varies considerably from one individual to another.

    The diagnostic is certainly a fastidious draining ( 6 hours my case) and complex process as some others conditions shares similar symptoms BUT i would not be that surprised if one day it is revealed Karl is an Aspergers …

    Kind regards


  14. justin harford says:

    Absolutely fascinating and eye-opening article.
    I don’t “suffer” with any of the condintions you have mentioned, so my view-point is obviously one of ignorance. But i think that you’re spot-on with your diagnosis of Karl.
    He is definitely a lateral thinker who’s theories on most topics come out of left-field. You suggesting that this can be attributed to Aspergers certainly explains his incredible thought process to me, and i’m sure, his legions of fans.
    I think he’s up there with the likes of Descartes and Freud.
    I look forward to reading any further theories you have on Karl Pilkington.

    No way is he an actor. As Steve Merchant once said, “It takes Ricky and me about 3 months to come up with 27 minutes of The Office. Do you think we could write the comedy gold Karl comes up with every Saturday? (XFM radio show)

    • Autastic says:

      Hi Justin,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, he is definitely the real deal; not acting.

      He’ll spout, what on the surface, seems like twaddle – and a lot of it is of course, but then he’ll come out with something really profound and you’ll find yourself unable to disagree with him. He’ll be making perfect sense, and he’ll be the first one to ever notice such a thing.

      He really should be a writer – absolutely. Then he can earn millions (instead of having to wait months for Ricky to pay him!) And he should start with publishing his diaries.

      It actually makes me think I could publish parts of my own diary, as I know I write in a very similar way to Karl’s diary. If I see an animal that fascinated me, and nothing more important happened that day – (quite often!) then it gets reported in the diary. I even drew a beetle in my diary the other day to show how massive it was! My animal anecdotes seem like those of a child, just like Karl’s do.

      Take care

  15. Parl Kilpington says:

    I didn’t read the entire article because I got the gist of it about half way through. You are completely discrediting Karl Pilkington as a person by suggesting that the reason he is so great and unique in many peoples eyes is not down to him as an individual, or unique person, but because he shares a condition with you. I’m sure if this article was brought up to him, he would say that he doesn’t need this label. And that if whoever had spent so much time analyzing him had only this to say about him, then them and himself likely do not have the same condition at all.

    And just so you know, I have almost every single ‘trait’ that you listed above, yet am in no way autistic. I mean, who the hell isn’t intolerant of certain things? Only idiots would be tolerant of every single thing.

    • Autastic says:

      Being occasionally intolerant of some things is a world away from being “an intolerant person”.

      You say:
      “I didn’t read the entire article because I got the gist of it about half way through.”

      If you worked for an ad firm, your campaigns would go like this:
      “This product is rubbish!
      – But here’s why you should buy it anyway…”

      • Parl Kilpington says:

        You failed to address the main point of my comment. Just in case you didn’t realize… Although I’m sure you do.

        • Autastic says:

          For someone who didn’t read the whole article, you sure labored over whether I replied or not! Ok, I will address all the points in your insincere comment (you can’t call yourself “Parl Kilpington” and expect to be taken seriously).

          I was not discrediting Karl, because I spent the whole article stating how brilliant he is. I was not saying he is only brilliant because he shares a condition with myself. Hitler was also on the autistic spectrum. So was every serial killer, every addict and most criminals, so if you think I was flattering myself, you have failed to address the main point of this whole site.

          The autistic spectrum cannot possibly be a label as it is so hugely varied. It causes anxiety, obsession and creativity, and all the millions of resulting phenomena that each of those bring.

          “And just so you know” – if you have “every single trait” mentioned above, then you most likely ARE on the autistic spectrum. I would suggest reading through the Symptoms page, but as you couldn’t be bothered reading this blog post, I expect that clicking elsewhere will be too much for you.

  16. Lola says:

    Is it not possible for someone to be differently minded without having to fit a lable. Karl seems very much wired the way I myself am with a lot of the same idiosyncrasies. I have been tested many times for various syndromes over the last 30 years ( usually to oppease others) but have come up blank. Many neuro typical people with high IQs are like this, just most don’t have a tv show for the world to watch the way they work. My daughter has high functioning autism and the idea of her being able to hold a relationship for 20 years seems inconceivable, let alone holding eye contact with a total stranger which Karl seems to have no problem with. Either way Karl is an amazingly entertaining man.

    • Autastic says:

      I agree with you – Karl is a very entertaining man.

      This site is about people with high functioning ASD and Aspergers, so much so, that they can often be successful in several areas of their lives, making the condition difficult to detect.

      I said earlier in the comments that the autistic spectrum cannot be a label, as it is so hugely varied. ASD is not a one size fits all condition / gift / disability / ability. The spectrum is very multi-faceted, and will be as unique for everyone on it, as people’s DNA. People who refer to it as a label, usually mean they think it is a negative label. I don’t think Aspergers or High Functioning ASD is necessarily a negative condition for most people who have it.

      Below is what “Julaybib” on has to say:

      Speaking as a professional autism educator, I’d say Karl may well have Asperger Syndrome (AS).

      First, AS is an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Indeed, the proposed new DSM — a leading US-based psychiatric diagnostic tool — wants to get rid of the term Asperger and just use the term autism for both autism and AS. According to the UK National Autistic Society, 1 in 100 people have an ASD.

      People who have personal experience of AS are mistaken in assuming that their experience is “typical” and leaves them able to judge – roughly – whether someone is likely to have AS. The fact is, AS cannot be diagnosed solely on the basis of observable behaviours using a tick box list. All forms of autism are spectrum disorders, with an underlying set of deficits known as the triad of impairments, manifesting themselves in different ways according to each individual, on a spectrum of ability which takes in profoundly autistic people for whom autism is one facet of global brain damage, to people at the genius end of intelligence. Tony Attwood, the world’s leading expert on AS, claims to have diagnosed one person with AS who has a nobel prize. I personally know one person with autism who has an M.Eng and a man with AS who has a BSc 1st class honours degree in Physics. Both are in FT employment.

      Certain facets of Karl’s personality point towards AS. Some are outwards signs which, while not in themselves signs of AS, point to a likely diagnosis. These include his lack of intonative range, his flatness of affact, his social oddness, and his fixation on certain interests. Some are these are indicative of atypical communication and social interaction, two of the three underlying deficits in autistic spectrum disorders. More significantly, I would say, is Karl’s problem with abstract ideas, such as infinity and time — the third of the triad of underlying impairments in autistic spectrum disorders.

      People with autism have atypical development, and when high functioning, their intelligence often allows them to compensate for their underlying problems. However, it should be noted that IQ is no measure of “intelligence” in this context. Very high functioning individuals with AS and autism often score moderately or even poorly on IQ tests because their profile of abilities are extremely uneven.

      Finally, AS is a developmental disorder, and does not manifest itself in the same way across a person’s lifetime. Some children with AS learn to fit in by socialising with people who are outsiders or share a niche interest. Some people with AS learn how to “pretend to be normal”, and learn social skills intellectually that most acquire intuitively. According to Tony Attwood, some people with AS “click” in middle age, fit in, and look for all intents and purposes “normal”. For some, however, it remains a lifelong disorder, and diagnosis is perhaps more indicative of an individual’s inability to cope than anything else. If Karl has AS, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for him. In fact, it might be his blessing.

  17. Eleanor says:

    I don’t have any of the symptoms listed above although I have looked into the symptoms of ADHD as I often forget really obvious words (not just every now and then it’s a regular occurrence) and I do think at the same speed of talking. Other than that though I don’t have any other symptoms.
    My husband however could be Karl. We watch Karl on TV and I just cannot believe the similarities. My husband hates change, he has his routines, he is very honest but sometimes that can be embarrassing when people don’t know him very well as he’s not quite sure how to gage social situations. Things like small talk or pretending to be interested in something because you don’t want to be rude are among the things he just can’t do. He’s quite intolerent to smells and some noises. For example he has to buy my perfume now as he says the stuff I choose makes him itch and he just cannot sleep if he’s in a bed with clean sheets haha I am laughing away as I’m typing this as I find all his quirks so endearing and makes me love him even more. I find the way he thinks about the world so refreshing and he makes me laugh every day whether that be at him or with him.
    He is my husband so obviously married and I know that isn’t your typical aspie or whatever you want to call it. However he does have a hard time keeping down a job which I here can be quite normal? It’s great to see Karl doing so well for himself. It’s very frustrating at times because my husband is so clever and can be such a hard worker but he has to be interested in what he’s doing and he’s clever in areas that people don’t really pay money for hehe. Like he can name all the Capitals of the world or every breed of tiger just to name a few.
    Anyway my main reason for originally posting a comment was to tell you that I don’t have Aspergers but I think in my own voice most of the time and I think that is normal?
    I loved this post as I love Karl and the fact he may have Aspergers makes me love him even more. My husband has very low self esteem and to see someone like Karl think exactly the same way is just brilliant 🙂

    • Autastic says:

      Hi Eleanor,

      It’s great to hear that you think your husband’s aspie triats make him more loveable! That isn’t always the case for many aspies.

      You say he is clever in areas people don’t pay for, but if you think he has interesting stuff to say, then why not set up a blog and/or a YouTube channel for him? Then if he gets lots of subscribers, and enough people think he is cool/funny/interesting then he might become a hit, and get hired to be a writer. Maybe it’s worth a try.

  18. Muddyrunnergirl says:


    I’m so glad to see you using ‘traits’ instead of ‘symptoms’…. I could see where anyone who might be along the Autism Spectrum who indeed understands connotation and other subtleties of language might find it offensive to have their persona identified as one may attempt to diagnose Kidney Stones, Cancer, or Typhoid lol. I agree with the gentleman who advocated the abandonment of labeling oneself. For some people, it can be cathartic to identify with understood and partially studied phenomena— but then some take it to extremes and become self limited. Those ‘scholars’ who create the labels often have inadequate research behind their work– the landscape is ALWAYS changing. Just be you.

    • Autastic says:

      I have already explained in the comments here why ASD cannot possibly be a label. But the people who insist it is a label still view ASD as a negative thing. ASD is a gift more than it is a disorder. It should be called ASG!

      Regarding using traits instead of symptoms; I don’t know of any neurological or psychological condition where the symptoms are NOT character traits.

      It also seems obvious that people are commenting here without reading the Home/About page. If people have a hard time believing Karl Pilkington has Aspergers (a more obvious case), then they are at the wrong site, because I believe at least half of everyone is on the AS spectrum.

  19. Kevin Mathers says:

    I thought it was a given that Karl has aspergeres because his parents think he has it.they should know him more than anyone?no?

  20. Therapist says:

    As a therapist and fellow Aspie, I would give Karl the diagnosis if he was my client. I cannot understand how anyone could not come to the same conclusion.

    • Autastic says:

      Thank you. And I can’t understand how I missed this comment!

      Two therapists I know reckon he has it too. It seems to be those who have met LOTS of people with the condition, and know it’s different in everyone, who can spot it better than those who only know one person with Aspergers.

  21. reikigirl says:

    Has anyone ever thought that the whole programme is staged? You are all so quick to jump in and label him!

    • Autastic says:

      Label. There’s that word again. I have stated in many places on this site (and this post) that the people who use (read “OVERuse”) the word “Label”, are those who think only of the stigma of autism, not the amazing things about it.

      No, Karl is not acting; he is the real deal. That is why Ricky knew his views and “can’t-be-arsed” style would cause controversy. But Ricky himself did over-do or force his laughs somethimes in this show, to try to make Karl’s comments seem funnier than they actually were. That was the only way it was staged. But definitely not staged or acted by Karl.

  22. Jen says:

    I completely agree and think you have provided good evidence to the theory that Karl has the GIFT of Aspergers… Also further evidence, from An Idiot Abroad, his intense dislike of being in crowds and his sensitivity to sounds and other sensory input. I think Ricky knows that Karl is a genius in his own right and I am grateful that he shared Karl with the rest of us!

    • Autastic says:

      Thank you – Aspergers IS a gift – espcially in Karl’s case!

      • karlfan says:

        I am a huge fan of Karl. Years ago I could not convince myself he was ‘for real’ as I only had podcasts to listen to. After several years of watching him on television, it is obvious that his insight on and misunderstanding of human existence in general has to be from a place on the autistic spectrum. Aspbergers is used consistently in this string of posts. Karl is definitely on the very high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum as he has no problem with general interactions, relationships, and even flat out humor on some occasions (which seems to be a tough ask for many with similar traits on this spectrum). He is however, no sevant by any stretch. I think it is the unique mixture of attributes that I have summarized that make Karl so inexorably entertaining and interesting to Ricky and the public at large.

        • Autastic says:

          Hi KarlFan,

          No, he’s not a savant, even if he does seem to say the odd ingenius comment. (And it most likely would be odd too!)

  23. Flat Out Wrong says:

    I have not seen any indication that Karl Pinkington had Aspergers. I more see people identifying with some of his traits. The reason your article bothers me if someone wrote this kind of an article about me, I would be mad. It is labeling him and unless he comes out publicly with Aspergers, no one else, especially a stranger, should be making and sharing these assumptions.

    • Autastic says:

      Hi “Kori”, “Sadey”, “Kat” or indeed “Flat Out Wrong”(!)

      Thank you for your comment.

      I guess you haven’t seen the home page then, where I share my suspicion that possibly more than half of everyone could be on the spectrum, or elsewhere on this site that ASD could be responsible for ALL mental health issues. I had done some research before writing this post, and I am far from the only one who thinks Karl could have Aspergers. There is stuff all over the internet on the subject.

      And if you cared to read any of the comments here, you would see that several other people think it’s possible too.

      Just because you don’t see “any indication that Karl Pinkington had Aspergers” does not mean you are right. That is your opinion. What I said is my opinion, which is made clear in the very first sentence of the post when I wrote “Many believe Karl Pilkington has Asperger Syndrome, and I definitely think so too”. I also make it clear on every post, every page and on the Disclaimer page that all statements on this site are my opinions. You say “Flat Out Wrong” (as your name, strangely, but it’s obviously refering to my opinion). What makes your opinion fact? Or any better than my opinion?

      The fact that you call it “labeling” indicates you are still viewing ASD and HFA as a negative thing, rather than a positive thing. I have already explained several times on this site why it is not “labeling”.

      If you don’t want me to know that you are the same person who commented on another post, then you should probably use a different computer. Submitting a different name and email isn’t enough because this site records IP addresses too.

  24. Derek says:

    Dangerous and fallacious labelling. Pop and pseudo diagnosis. This article is awful and harmful.

    • Autastic says:

      YOU Derek are awful and harmful if you chose to ignore that I stated it was my opinion. And if I was being fellatious, I would not be performing it anywhere near you!

  25. Ollie says:

    I agree that he most likely has Aspergers, but I don’t think you should have written this article unless he publicly acknowledged to having Aspergers, or gave you special permission to write the article

    • Autastic says:

      It’s a fact… that it’s my opinion… that he has aspergers. I could not have made it more clear that it is my opinion. There’s nothing wrong with stating my own opinion on my own blog.

  26. Teefromdownunda says:

    ha ha… I knew it!!!
    Ive been watching the series Än Idiot Abroad 1 & 2,
    and at first Im going…WTF Like.. I didn’t get this guy
    who one moment is acting like a droll whiney git,
    to having some incredibly profound thoughts interspersed.
    It took me until the second series, but I just had a strong feeling
    he is Aspergic. I went from finding the show funny,
    to actually seeing it as a form of exploitation on this guy.
    Some of the situations they put him in, knowing that he is uncomfortable is actually
    quite cruel, and I no longer find any of it amusing.
    Aspies genuinely can freak out being in confined spaces, and loud sudden noises scare the bejezzus out of us.
    Poor bugger.
    As long as he’s ok with it, and knows whats going on.
    I know I would not be able to handle any of this.

    Thanks for the confirmation on what I thought. Im pretty sure too that you are correct
    that he has ADG.

  27. Mr. K. Dilkington says:

    I’ve probably heard almost everything Karl has recorded, at least twice.
    If he is not in fact a high functioning aspie, then he must have studied it to ape it. Ricky studied Psychology in uni, and has used many other simple psychological principles to generate the comedy in his writing (he’s a master of the “uncomfortable” laugh, and awkward timing, for example). It is possible to imagine Ricky recognized it, and seized on the humor aspect. Is Karl really an idiot? Is it cruel or exploitive to make people laugh at his insights? Of course not. Karl plainly does not mind, and has likely made a MINT just being himself.
    Who loses? Anyone truly believing that the shots are mean spirited, or that Ricky & Steve take the piss too much, has clearly not listened to the early XFM shows. Karl gets in his share of shots, and succeeds in besting both Ricky & Steve on several occasions. Please search & listen to (no video- radio show) “steve vs. karl xfm compilation. All will become clear.
    If Karl has some degree of ASD, it’s made him a wealthy comic genius. Doesn’t sound too bad to me!

  28. bbug says:

    This is interesting. I’d never thought about Aspergers, I always thought maybe he had PTSD or something. He grew up on a fairly rough estate and it sounds like his family wasn’t very supportive or stable. His parents went through a number of jobs, his brother was kicked out of the Army, and he used to use a litter box as a small child. He didn’t have encouraging teachers, he remembers being told he’d never be a high flier. He kind of never had a chance to learn to socialize normally, he’s a sensitive, anxious guy (saving insects etc) but it seems like he never got to feel secure as a kid.

    • Autastic says:

      I try to save insects too. I put a bee on a flower the other day, but it was still there over an hour later. I think it was dying 🙁

  29. Sudoku says:

    I don’t know if Karl has aspergers or not. I was diagnosed at 15 (30 now) and I tend to have a lot of random thoughts like him and test things out constantly to see what will happen and why. Sometimes people find this odd or inappropriate, but luckily they usually laugh and assume I am being funny on purpose. Karl seems to do the same from what I’ve seen. I think I am more logical than Karl due to having a very good education, whereas Karl sometimes struggles to explain his thought process and lacks scientific reasoning behind his ideas. But he constantly questions everything around him, even small things that the average person would miss. I think that’s a fairly typical autistic trait. his ‘odd behaviour’ has earned him a lot of money though, so it makes me hopeful about my own chances (although not on TV).

  30. Joshua says:

    Either that, or he’s an INT type with psychological issues…

  31. Shan says:

    I think in my own accent. I’m sure of this because if I’ve been immersed in another accent I can hear that accent when I read. If something is written by someone whose voice I’m very familiar with (like a celebrity) I hear it in their voice.
    I don’t know if I lean toward aspy or not. My therapist doesn’t think so but I can relate to some of what I read here.

  32. Moira says:

    Having lived in the north this is just normal northern humour and cos his show is comedy he just exaggerates. Think you’re reading too much into the way us northerners are like.

    • Autastic says:

      Thanks for your comment Moira. That argument would have some weight if I hadn’t grown up in Salford. So not only from the North, but the exact place Karl is from!

  33. Scott says:

    I also have high-functioning Aspergers/autism and have been researching the topic for almost 10 years. I agree that Karl is a very strong candidate for high-functioning Aspergers/autism. His difficulty understanding traditions and thought processes of other cultures is a very good indication of a deficiency in “theory of mind” one of the hallmarks of ASD diagnosis. His “sensory overload” issues and fixation on certain topics are also very good indicators. The fact that his parents believe he has it would also be highly instrumental in receiving a formal diagnosis if he wanted one.

    The fact that he can behave relatively normally, is not a strong argument against it. Look at Temple Grandin, she is able to make eye contact, have a full time job, and hold a conversation because she learned how. Many individuals on the spectrum are able to learn social rules and conduct themselves appropriately by building a repository of knowledge with regards to social experiences. For an example of this, look at how Karl acts in the first season of “An Idiot Abroad” vs how he acts in the 2 following seasons. How he acts around new foods, crowds, and awkward encounters changes from active avoidance to a more passive tolerance as he learns coping techniques. This is typical of an aspie social learning curve because people on the spectrum need to learn social cues like neurotypicals learn math or foreign languages. This is the main reason why the early intervention and specialized attention are crucial for children on the spectrum.

    Personally, I view autism as similar to being color blind. Except, instead of lacking color vision, people on the spectrum are “blind” to social cues like subtext, body language, and facial expressions. And without training or assistance, people on the spectrum cannot see beyond the literal interpretation of their experience. I recently learned that objects on TV shows like apples and guns are viewed by neurotypicals to mean abstract concepts like education and violence.

    I agree that labeling can be harmful, but it can be useful in helping others to better understand you and helping you to better understand your weaknesses so that you can overcome them and take full advantage of the many benefits of autism. 🙂

  34. Kyle says:

    He definitely has an obsession with physically deformed people and bugs.

    To me the biggest indicator is his complete inability to understand metaphors, not matter how many times ricky and steve would go over the idea with him, he simply cannot see past the literal meanings of proverbs and sayings.

    I will agree he’s a lateral thinker, but I’d ask for more specificity when you call him a deep thinker. due to his inability so see the greater meaning or import of things, he just tends to simply make up and infer details. I would instead say he thinks incredibly deeply about the shallowest, most meaningless and ridiculous things. mostly things he’s simply made up in his head.

  35. Robbie says:

    WOW…….has this opened up an interesting 24 hours or so for me!! I’d never really watched any of Karl’s shows due to competing priorities. I had them here and I started watching them a few days ago. I was mortified that essentially they were calling him an ‘idiot’ because pretty much ALL of his thoughts on everything is ME and MY thoughts. I’d never heard of him and the more I watched him, I thought “the guys got anxieties” – hence me landing on this site and reading this reasoning for his ‘behaviour’. So, like I said….I think he’s all me. More and more in the last year or so I’ve slipped into a recluse like state and am extremely disgruntled and disappointed with human beings… I’ve spent 24 hours researching and by God….I’ve got Aspergers. All the things I’ve put down to anxiety etc et all the people who hate me and won’t talk to me because I tell it how it is… all fits in now. I’m kind of upset in a lot of ways…..been crying….both with frustration and relief.
    I was watching Karl’s face when he says what he says and then R & S laugh at him…..he’s so hurt and confused- this is what I feel with most human interactions. I only have good relationships with animals. Even something that other humans would be fearful of….im able to just interact with, like I’m one of them and don’t even belong to the human race!!

    • Autastic says:

      Welcome to the club Robbie!

      It’s up to you from now on, whether you deem this discovery to be positive or negative. We can still improve ourselves, but being aware of our limitations and weaknesses is half the battle won.

      I currently recommend watching Xandria Ooi’s daily 2 minute videos on YouTube and/or Facebook. She is excellent at pointing out what is important in communication and attaining happiness.

      I think people on the autistic spectrum can especially benefit from her advice, because we can often lose sight of what is important, and remain in a downward spiral of negativity.

      Good luck!

  36. Mrs Ellen L Bryer says:

    No! Karl, very clearly, has ADHD.

    • Autastic says:

      Thanks, I said in the article I believe he has ADHD as well. It’s possible to have both ADHD and aspergers. I have both.

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