There is an accurate stereotype when it comes to autistic folks not being very good at understanding implied meaning, subtle hints, subtle facial expressions, and sarcastic humour—even irony. What is NOT accurate is that it cannot be learned.
I still have to think for a few seconds after someone says something “dry” or sarcastic or doesn’t give any indication that he/she was not being serious. While I was growing up, it was a far greater struggle until I learned how to beat it all.
How did I do it?
With the help of British humour, of course!
The Brits are masters of sarcasm and irony. It only seemed logical to me to seek them out in order to learn how to overcome this very unusual deficit.
Monty Python was the biggest contributor for me because their very core is silly humour, but there is a high level of intelligence and implied meaning behind everything they do, and it was invaluable to me. Are You Being Served was another essential learning source as that show was based heavily on silly irony and implied meaning.
Another unlikely source was—not British—The Marx Brothers. Silly slapstick, sure, but the idioms/ironic sayings and responses were incredibly intelligent and so subtle that they could very easily be missed. This is precisely the learning tool someone like me needs in order to help “bridge the gap” in processing time during humourous conversations. Groucho and Chico, in particular, require regular rewinds/replays just to grasp the subtle genius of their comments (p.s. Harpo is still my favourite of them all).
Even if you cannot appreciate the humour, itself—as it is an acquired item—I highly recommend anyone immerse his/herself in any of the above comedy sources in order to overcome the sarcasm/irony/implied meaning deficit.