Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Seinfeld arrive on the red carpet at the 2014 Women's Leadership Award in New York City on Nov. 13, 2014. Controversy erupted over the comedian's remarks that he believed himself to be autistic. He now says he isn't. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo
NEW YORK, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Following a storm of controversy from people and their loved ones grappling with autism, comedian Jerry Seinfeld has decided that he's not autistic after all.
Seinfeld had said in a recent TV interview that he believed he's "on the spectrum."
But he now tells Access Hollywood: "I don't have autism. I'm not on the spectrum."
Earlier he had told NBC's Brian Williams that he had just seen a play, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time," about a boy with autism and he "related" in some way to the character's behavior . He noted that he "never pays attention to the right things" and "basic social engagement is really a struggle."
He also described himself as "very literal — when people talk to me and they use expressions, sometimes I don't know what they're saying."
But, he added, "I don't see it as dysfunctional. I just think of it as an alternate mindset."
Seinfeld's remarks attracted a storm of criticism that he was taking a cavalier attitude about a difficult condition.
"My kids' lives are irrevocably altered by autism and not in a good way," Kim Stagliano, the managing editor of the Age of Autism, told The Washington Post after Seinfeld's self-diagnosis. "Autism is a neurological condition. It's a medical diagnosis, not a personality or a gift."
As for being sociable, that's something he'll always have trouble with, along with most comedians, Seinfeld said.
"Comedians never talk about normal things," he said. "They don't talk about the weather and how you're doing. They're always talking about something weird."