Michael J. Fox Explains Why He ‘Can’t Stop Laughing’ at His Own Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

The best medicine. Michael J. Fox explained in a new interview with AARP why he sometimes cracks up at his own Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

“The truth is that on most days, there comes a point where I literally can’t stop laughing at my own symptoms,” he told the magazine’s April/May issue. “Just the other morning I come into the kitchen. Oh good, coffee. I’m gonna get some! No, wait — I’m gonna get some for Tracy — who’s at the table with the paper. I pour a cup — a little trouble there. Then I put both hands around the cup. She’s watching. ‘Can I get that for you, dear?’ ‘Nah, I got it!’ Then I begin this trek across the kitchen. It starts off bad. Only gets worse. Hot java’s sloshing onto my hands, onto the floor …”

Still, the 55-year-old actor persists. “… And Tracy’s watching calmly, going, ‘Darling, why don’t you [expletive] let me get it?’ ‘I’m almost there, babe!’” he continued. “Of course, by the time I reach the table, the cup’s all but empty. ‘Here’s your coffee, dear — enjoy!’”

Michael J. Fox AARP The Magazine
Michael J. Fox on the cover of 'AARP The Magazine' Jeff Lipsky for AARP

Fox added that though he knows it can seem like a negative situation, he can’t help reacting positively. “There’s the fact that it’s 7 in the morning and ‘this is how we begin our day — the right way!’” he said. “But the thing that makes it hilarious to me is when I think of someone else watching all this and thinking, Poor Michael can’t even get the coffee — it’s so sad!

Fox went public with his diagnosis back in 1998, and ever since then, he’s had to grapple with not only the disease itself but people’s reactions to the condition.

Christopher Lloyd Michael J. Fox Back To The Future
Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox in 'Back To The Future.' Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

“You deal with the condition, and you deal with people’s perception of the condition,” he told AARP. “It was easy for me to tune in to the way other people were looking into my eyes and seeing their own fear reflected back. I’d assured them that, ‘I’m doing great’ — because I was. After a while, the disconnect between the way I felt and the dread people were projecting just seemed, you know, funny.”

The Good Wife alum added that one of the most moving moments was when he talked to Muhammad Ali, who also suffered from Parkinson’s for 32 years before his death in June 2016. “Muhammad Ali called me at home,” Fox recounted. “And in this raspy, paper-thin voice, he said, ‘Ahhhhh … Michael, now that you’re in it, we’ll win this fight.’ What could I say? Sitting there alone listening to Muhammad Ali, this giant — I was welling up, almost openly weeping.”

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