Island-grown comedian Charlie Nadler will headline “Charlie Nadler and Friends,” a four-part comedy night on Saturday, August 22, at Alex’s Place at the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA.
Mr. Nadler will be preceded at the mic by improv group the IMPostors, as well as comedians Cord Bailey, and Devin Gati. It is recommended to buy tickets ahead of time, as Mr. Nadler also performed here last summer to a sold-out house at Alex’s Place.
Mr. Nadler, a 2002 graduate of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, has been busy, and bicoastal, for the past few years. After graduating from Boston University in 2006, Mr. Nadler worked in Los Angeles for Rob Reiner’s movie production company while he wrote screenplays at night and dabbled in comedy at open mics around the city.
He relocated to New York City nearly two years ago with his girlfriend, Cary Kandel. While he continues with a day job, he has completed a screenplay and is becoming an increasingly hot ticket in the funny business. Mr. Nadler was a finalist in the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival in New York City, and was one of 30 comics from around the U.S. selected to perform at the Orlando Indie Comedy Fest. He does standup in clubs around New York City, and has worked at the famous Canadian comedy chain Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto.
We caught up with Mr. Nadler last week by phone from his apartment in Astoria, Queens, where he lives with Ms. Kandel and Miso, a cat of undetermined age and origins.
“We adopted her from under a car and named her Miso because Cary was carrying a container of miso when we found her,” he said.
Mr. Nadler is now in his early 30s, a fully-developed, intelligent man who sees life in terms of whimsy and funny. Think about it. Who names a cat after a bag of food? He does not seem to be needy or an f-bombing shock comic. In my generation, he would be sort of Mort Sahl meets Jack Paar.
Q: You’ve got some great creds in the past year.
A: Well, you know, that is very validating in a business in which validation can be hard to come by. It represents progress to me.
Q: Where do you get your material?
A: I always try to have it come from a conversational place. Happenings in my life, things I overhear. Riding the subway is great for that, friends telling stories about their lives. Just being present. A benefit of coming later to comedy means I have a backlog of experiences.
Q: How do you keep it fresh?
A: Life is constantly changing, so new material gets created. I find I’m doing a lot of retrospective this year. I keep it pretty personal. A lot of comedy works the same threads — men do this, women do that, white people do this. I want to avoid the potential that it’s already been done.
Q: Who’s funny to you today?
A: Louis C.K. is funny. John Mulaney is smart and funny. So is Bill Burr, a Boston guy and politically incorrect.
Q: Speaking of political correctness, will you be doing any Donald Trump material?
A: How can you not? He forces you to. He’s attacking political correctness, but he’d do better if he could do it without the anger. If he said some of this stuff to Putin [Russia’s president], we’d get nuked.
Q: Last week a panelist at the Writing for Laughs panel at Islander’s Write said one of the shifts in comedy is that comedians used to make fun of themselves. Now they make fun of others. Your view?
A: I think there are two sides to that argument. In Jack Benny’s day, the pool was smaller, and there were fewer distribution outlets for comedy. Now, Amy Schumer, for example, is self-deprecating and very successful. Humor is delivered in shorter forms today; there’s no time to build a character, so ideas become the character.
Q: You come from a comedic gene pool. Your dad, Marty Nadler, has written comedy (long-run sitcoms and movies) and performed comedy. Your mom, Holly Nadler, is a successful author and a funny writer (including at The Times). Did they influence your comedy career turn?
A: I grew up watching my dad working in the business. He never expected me to do [comedy], and he never cautioned me against it. They have been 100 percent supportive even when the work wasn’t very good. You know, there’s a lot of rejection in this business, and a low probability of success. I got from them that you always have to be ready to be successful even if that’s not true at the time.
Q: What can people expect on Saturday?
A: Well, all new material for one thing. I won’t do anything I used last year. This is a family-oriented show, PG-13, so I’ll be aware of that. Since I’m doing a lot of retrospective, there will be references that Island people will get, one of the reasons I love working Alex’s Place. A major theme of my material this year is past, present, and future, looking at my past missteps, poking fun at the world we live in now, and hypothesizing how life might change.
“Charlie Nadler and Friends,” August 22 at 8 pm, Alex’s Place at the YMCA. Tickets are $12 online and $15 at the door. Open to the public, rated PG-13, as part of the YMCA Summer Concert Series. Proceeds will help Alex’s Place off-season creative arts programs. Advance tickets are recommended, and are available at charlienadler.brownpapertickets.com or at the door, depending on availability.