How I Got Into Stand Up Comedy, Thanks To My Mom’s Third Marriage


Charlie Nadler grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and graduated from MVRHS with the class of 2002. He lives in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles where he works in the film and television industry and regularly performs stand up comedy.  In the twice-monthly “From Afar” column, Charlie will muse about the Island from his perch in LA.

“Charlie, I have something to tell you; I met someone!”

It’s always great news when your mom is happy. It was late spring in Los Angeles and I looked forward to an upcoming trip home in a handful of days, not just because home is the best, but now I would also meet this guy.

I get off the boat. We sit down to lunch on the harbor, and somewhere between ordering sandwiches and learning this guy’s last name, they tell me they’re engaged. This trip turned out to be a two-for-one because I’d now be returning in October for the nuptials.

It’s always great news when your mom is happy. It’s always great news when your mom is happy.

He had three kids from a previous marriage and they wanted the four of us to read benedictions. Before I agreed I had to look up what a benediction even was, but my mom made it easy and clarified that it could be anything, either a reading or something we wrote ourselves.

The wedding immediately became secondary to me, because public speaking was my number one fear growing up, ahead of anything else. I graduated 6th in my high school class, which could not have been more ideal for the shy 17-year-old me because the top five had to talk at graduation. For a good chunk of my life I was more scared of giving a full speech than dying halfway through one.

I’ve always loved moving words around, so luckily love trumped my fear and I wrote my benediction despite my “crowd disability.” I knew I could type funny words onto a computer screen, but the jury was out if I could speak these words in a public setting without spontaneously combusting.

I think the most successful humor comes from being the first person to say what’s on the tip of everyone else’s tongue. It’s that perfect combination of relatable and fresh. So I stood up in front of about 70 friends, family, and strangers, and the first words out of my mouth were, “When my Mom and Jack met last week…”

The laughter felt like a jet engine on my face. It was the greatest sensation in the world and I was immediately addicted. I soon discovered my shyness only came from a lack of self-confidence. You get enough booster shots of audience appreciation and it all melts away.

Unfortunately my mom’s third marriage didn’t work out. It wasn’t meant to be. But she’s happy, and the whole experience still led to matrimony; me and the microphone.