Why Dan Aykroyd Is Trending For Having Aspergers

While Dan Akroyd has publicly talked about his diagnosis many times over the years, it's now trending. Here's why.

By Faith McKay | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

dan akroyd

Actor Dan Akroyd is not actually a big Twitter user. He uses his account mostly to share news about his vodka company, Crystal Head Vodka. But today, the man is trending on the social network as his fans want the facts to be made clear after a statement made during the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live. During host Elon Musk’s monologue, he said that he was making history as the first person with Asperger’s Syndrome to host SNL. This was a bold statement and one that Twitter hopped on to fact check right away. Actor Dan Akroyd has been public about his Asperger’s diagnosis that he received in the 1980s. He was not only a long-running cast member on SNL in the 1970s, but hosted the show in 2003.

Now, Dan Akroyd’s name is trending as Twitter users are setting the record straight. Many of the tweets are focused on stating the facts and correcting Elon Musk’s statement. Others are focused on a general dislike of Elon Musk and his arrogance. Others want to make sure everyone remembers that Akroyd is awesome.

Dan Akroyd has been fairly public in interviews about his experiences. As a child, he was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome. Therapies helped him adjust his behavior in ways that helped with his career. He went onto to be an early case member for Saturday Night Live in the second half of the 1970s. He was part of many famous sketches, including The French Chef, where he played Julia Child teaching the audience to debone a chicken. The skit became part of SNL history and was shown in the Julie & Julia film in 2009.

In the 1980s, after Dan Akroyd’s run as a cast member, his wife urged him to see a doctor. He was then diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s worth noting that today, this is considered an outdated term. Asperger’s stopped being used by the medical community in 2013. Today, it falls under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

While some have said that their diagnosis made Hollywood more difficult for them, Dan Akroyd has said in several interviews that he found advantages in his diagnose. For example, he says he is obsessed with ghosts and law enforcement. In the early 1980s, around the time of his diagnosis, Akroyd co-wrote Ghostbusters with Harold Ramis, a movie that involved both ghosts and law enforcement. He credits his interest in Hans Holzer, a famous ghost hunter, with the original idea for Ghostbusters.

dan akroyd

While it’s long been known that Dan Akroyd received an Asperger’s diagnosis, it isn’t clear when he first started publicly talking about it. It is still possible in 2003, this wasn’t something Dan Akroyd publicly spoke about. In that case, Elon Musk may be correct in saying he was the first person publicly to host and acknowledge his diagnosis at the time, but it’s still a bold statement in that context. It’s strange that the team behind Saturday Night Live didn’t catch that one. Twitter, of course, is always there to catch these kinds of errors.

While Dan Akroyd is more focused on his vodka business these days, he’s still around in the movie making business. Currently, we’re waiting to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife. While the story centers on new characters, Dan Akroyd does have a cameo. After a few delays, that movie is expected to premiere in theaters November 10, 2021.