It was early morning at Edgartown’s Espresso Love last month and some regulars sat joking about the turkey and piping plover stories that had just unfolded in the Island papers.
Chilmark police shot a wild turkey six times only to be assaulted by a man claiming to be its owner. On the other side of the Island, authorities had been called in to investigate the death of an endangered piping plover. Both were font-page stories,
The turkey episode was a running joke around the Island, e-mailed to friends as one of those only-on-the-Vineyard news clips. Scenes like the one in the Edgartown coffee shop were common.
Enter Island comedian Marty Nadler, whose job had just got easier. With curly brown hair falling out the back of his baseball cap, he chimed in, citing the Gazette headline, “Plover killed, State investigates.”
“Meanwhile some poor Brazilian guy’s been missing for two years,” he said. The group laughed.
“You must get a lot of material from this,” a woman asked.
“Oh yeah. I’ve got 10 minutes just on birds,” Mr. Nadler said. “You know, the one bad thing about plovers is that they taste so good.”
His impromptu audience was crying at this point. Others in the shop looked up from their newspapers and smiled.
This, along with shops and restaurants across the Island, has been Mr. Nadler’s drawing board as he’s prepared for his Very Vineyard stand-up comedy show at the Tabernacle on Saturday.
“It’s a way to test it out,” he said from his cell phone Monday. “When I was doing stand-up years ago I could try things out and see what works. Here, I just go on.”
His set will be unique in two ways, he said. First, it’s entirely about the Vineyard. He combs the papers, finding punchlines in the Island’s cat-caught-in-tree quaintness. The result is custom-made localized comedy for anyone who’s ever caught the ferry or felt the love-hate relationship between year-rounders and summer people.
And it’s clean.
“No F-bombs,’’ Mr. Nadler said. “But you can tell people that if they’re disappointed that it’s clean, then they can come up to me after the show and I’ll curse at them.”
As he spoke, Mr. Nadler was boarding a flight to Los Angeles from Logan Airport. For the next two days, he would be meeting with a director to add some funny lines to a script about a Renaissance fair. Mr. Nadler is a script doctor, a comedy consultant brought in to give movies a little more humor.
He’s worked on films like Runaway Bride, Raising Helen and the Princess Diaries.
“I also write myself in to the movie so I can get an acting role, too,” he said. “Not big parts, a line or two.”
His most recent self-made role was as a rabbi in the Princess Diaries 2.
Mr. Nadler, whose been coming to the Vineyard for 42 years, has wanted to be in the comedy business since he was eight. He first tried stand-up at a high-school talent show and continued when he went off to study theatre at Ithaca College, hiring himself out to Lions Clubs and high-school proms.
Now, when not slipping lines from developing routines into every-day conversation, he writes. He said he has six or seven projects in the works including a novel and some screenplays.
Listening over the phone as Mr. Nadler found his seat on the plane was like wiretapping a comedy think-tank, a small hint of the monologue constantly running in his mind.
“I’m not a big fan of flying,” he said after finding his spot by a window. Earlier in the day, officials had taken away his shaving cream.
“Obviously my shaving cream was too big. They were afraid I’d hijack the plane with it.”
He had to buy some new shaving cream, paying $3 for a container he described as the size of a chap-stick container. “I don’t know if I could get my whole face shaven with this.”
He settled in for his five-hour flight, but not before finding his pen and paper so he could record ideas as they came.
“I’m going to call my stockbroker,” he concluded. “And tell him to invest in miniature shaving cans.”
Comedian Marty Nadler will perform Vineyard Review 2008 at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Tabernacle. Tickets are $10 and limited premium seating is available for $15. Proceeds will benefit the Tabernacle Restoration and Program Funds.