Charlie Nadler arrived in the world at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on July 11, 1984 — and I can attest to this because I was right in the middle of the action. He was a native millennial, in other words. In his early years, his TV-writer parents moved him around a lot, from New York City, then out to LA, where his dad Marty worked as a staff writer and producer on “Perfect Strangers” and “Valerie,” plus “She’s the Sheriff,” in which Suzanne Somers played a high-heel-wearing police chief. Young Charlie, at the tender age of 5, was taken to a cast-and-crew baby shower, where he set eyes on the gorgeous star and realized, from the tapings he attended, that he was in the presence of royalty, and could not stop staring at her.
You would think the scene had been set for the kid to get an agent and begin auditioning for Twinkies commercials, but in 1991, when his folks realized they could no longer support a home on each coast, they moved full-time to Martha’s Vineyard and their seaside cottage in East Chop. The Island native, appropriately enough, as he entered the second grade, enrolled in the Oak Bluffs School. Remember the old one? With the trailers and elderly indoor basketball court? Charlie went on to the spanking-new Oak Bluffs School, then the high school with its tennis team that took him in and taught him a mean serve.
Four years at Boston University rounded out his degree in communications. He knew he’d be a writer. Not only were his parents writers, but his maternal grandparents were professional writers as well — his grandpa a documentary filmmaker, and grandma a fiction writer. It’s all in the DNA. But another spark from his DNA, mostly from his comedy dad’s side — i.e. standup comedy — emerged during his mama’s third wedding in 2009, when the young lad was asked to roast the frequently married (and soon to be divorced) parent. He realized — as so many comics have before him — that he loved to receive laughs. It’s a reaction, or even over-reaction, acknowledged by all seasoned comedians. Since then, Charlie has been off on a quest to rise from open mic nights, where the tender comics receive payments in French fries, to bookings with an agent, Degy Entertainment, which initiates college gigs and appearances with accomplished comics such as his tight comrade-at-comedy Dan Altano, and others who preselected him — and he them in other similar situations. The pay is real. Money can buy wagonloads of French fries.
And then there’s a fellow comic, also tied to Martha’s Vineyard. Charlie asked him to join in on the Edgartown library night, and he said “Yes!” It’s Cord Bailey, and here’s a little bit about the funny boy, and his answers to this journalist’s questions:
“Yes, Cord is my name. I’ve been a practitioner of tae kwon do for about 18 years now. I also do jujitsu iketo and Okinawa and Okinawa karate, and maintain a working relationship with just about every martial arts group on-Island. I’ve never been cut out for having a boss or working behind a desk, so as soon as I got out of high school, I grabbed a rake and went out digging clams for a living. After I managed to buy my first decent-size dump truck, I started my own small landscaping business. Seven years later, my name is the first to come up in any Islanders Talk request. I’ve lived on the Vineyard all my life, and no matter how difficult the Island life gets, I will always call this place my home. I had the honor of getting into standup comedy and performing on the stage at Alex’s Place at the Oak Bluffs Y way back when my dear departed friend, program director Tony Lombardi, may he rest in peace, set up this great venue for young Island performers. This is going to be the first time I’ve done standup comedy onstage in a very long time, and it will be dedicated to Tony and all the great people I once shared the space with. I’m looking forward to putting some smiles on people’s faces, and maybe giving them a little insight to what being an Islander is really all about.”
So how did Charlie’s and Cord’s standup date at the Edgartown library come about? Not surprisingly, there’s another Islander in the picture, and it’s Emily Gray, program coordinator and, also, aha! a classmate of Charlie’s from the class of 2003. Emily is married to another showbiz guy, Oliver Becker, who nowadays is head of production of Circuit Art Films, part of the M.V. Film Festival, and he’s making short documentaries about the Island, the first in a three-parter, this one about Great Pond.
So young people stay in touch, thanks to social media, better than we earlier crews ever did. Emily, Oliver, and Charlie, back in the 2000s, found themselves together in the Silverlake section of the Hollywood Hills. Years later, with two little ones in tow — Flora (who calls herself an LA girl), 5½, and Felix, 1½, the small family found its way back to the Vineyard and a house in the Christiantown area of West Tisbury. Emily, in her library capacity, saw that Charlie, now living in the Berkshires with his wife Cary, after a quick circle from LA to NYC, had recently performed comedy at the Film Center with his dad Marty. They got lots of laughs, and Emily reached out to her old classmate and invited him to a full evening of comedy in Edgartown. He, in turn, invited Cord to go first, and, opening for these two hilarious boys, an open mic will sit ready for whomever feels disposed to putting in a few minutes of getting laughs.
French fries, anyone?
The show starts at 7 pm. An evening of standup comedy with Charlie Nadler and Cord Bailey at the Edgartown library, Saturday, August 27, 7 to 9 pm.