San Joaquin County is a place in the valley that is home to approximately 800,000 people. Small towns, Delta landscapes, and a couple of cities surrounded by farmland. Being just outside of the Bay Area; the valley is mostly a place that outsiders pass through onto other places for destination-entertainment and travel. For stand-up comedians seeking clubs and professional stages, it has been the same song and dance. A struggle felt by local performers and audiences alike. That is until this year came along. The 209 will be home to its very own club, the ‘Deaf Puppy Comedy Club’ and that is set to open mid-April.
Meet the man behind it all:
Chris Teicheira is a comedian, writer, entrepreneur, and (soon to be) first-time comedy club owner. The nucleus of the ‘Deaf Puppies’ comedy crew; he is a friend and inspiration to many, including myself.
Chris Teicheira was born and raised in Manteca.
In 1999 he packed his bags and moved to L.A. with dreams of comedy, but admits he had never even performed at an open mic. He ended up doing a few mics while there and finding a job managing a Golf Shop in North Hollywood.
“Four years later I was home on a tractor…
It’s much clearer now years later that moving to a bigger city to attempt stand-up, if you’ve never even [been] established in your own area, is a total pipe dream,” Teicheira explains.
In 2008 Chris began bartending at a place in Modesto called Banana Joe’s. It didn’t take long for him to realize that the Central Valley had no established comedy scene at the time, and what existed was miniscule.
Chris started hosting an open mic.
One month into it, an established comic from Sacramento named Jason Resler showed up to do a show, and they quickly connected. Within a few months he was opening for Resler, often traveling to Sacramento and the Bay Area to seek these opportunities. Six months after his second start, Chris met Anthony K (Krayenhagen), a fellow 209 native; at an open mic. Together they started establishing rooms in the area such as the Fat Cat, Guru Lounge and Isadore’s Pub and Lounge.
Before long, upcoming comics took notice and were willing to travel to the valley to work with them. “We’ve picked up and laid down many comedy cohorts along the way, and are proud to see there is a thriving comedy community with the 209 these days. I don’t wanna take full credit – but I’ll take full credit,” Chris wrote half-jokingly in a text with a smiling emoji.
The ‘Deaf Puppy Comedy Club’ gets its name from the crew behind it all. ‘The Deaf Puppies’. With a name so unique it must have some great backstory with a vision in mind. If you thought that, you’d be dead wrong.
“It’s funny that you ask when I ‘formed’ the Deaf Puppies, cause that’s a thing that literally never happened. I’ve even had a few people ask ‘What was your thought process as you formed? Diversity? Like one of each?’ To which I reply ‘WTF?’,” Teicheira continued.
“There were 5 of us; Ant K, Saul Trujillo, Nick Larson, Jason Sohm, and myself on a [Facebook] Group Chat. And we used it just like anybody else does — to talk s**t about everyone.”
By everyone he means everyone, including each other. Roasting is a part of the fun and the culture in the comedy community.
In 2015 he found a puppy online, a miniature Australian cattle dog, and as it turns out she was born deaf.
“Jason Resler was my roommate at the time and made a couple “Def Puppy” album covers parodying Def Leppard. [I] made some different tee shirts, and it just kind of stuck. There wasn’t a meeting or an official recognition that ‘We are now the Deaf Puppies’,” Teicheira wrote.
Fellow comic Jason Sohm said, “That’d be a cool name for a punk band,” according to Teicheira.
Four more comedians later joined the ranks of the original five.
Taylor Evans, Connor Martin, AJ Demello, and Andre Morton.
Legend has it, the San Francisco crowds would see the group of comics together wearing the parody ‘Deaf Puppy’ tee shirts, referring to this group of funny friends as ‘The Deaf Puppy Guys’.
Chris Teicheira says he embraced this early on and so did the rest of this rag-tag, punk-rock, joker-squad of microphone killers.
“I very much got a kick out of it, [because] it mostly stems from us all loving this stupid little deaf dog I have ‘Banshee’,” he said.
Despite this love and acceptance of their origin story, speak to any of these comics today and all of them will agree that the name was a joke, and their group is just friends bonded through the craft of writing and performing stand-up comedy.
“Let’s be honest, having a comedy crew with a hopefully hip nickname is lame out of the box …But here we are.”, said Teicheira.
Having always wanted to establish a comedy club, Chris Teicheira has been scouting locations for over three years. By April of 2022, the location was found and acquired right here in the 209 community. I took a trip to the building where this club is being built, located at 127 Main St., Manteca, where Chris gave me a walk-through of the floor space. The showroom has a square footage of 2,400 feet, where at maximum capacity it will seat an audience of 120 people. With a total floorspace of 4,500 square feet; complete with a full bar, a full kitchen with a custom menu, plus an abundance of parking, this ambitious build is hitting all the marks to be something great.
Teicheira is designing this room to not only be a viable business and local hang, but a place that puts comedians and stand-up comedy first. The ‘Deaf Puppy Comedy Club’ is truly a place built by a comic, for the comics.
According to Chris, the club is on track and set to open mid-April, with construction and installations taking place at the time of writing this.
Following the opening, we can expect ticketed shows every weekend, weekly showcases for upcoming comics, and even an open mic for new and existing comics to practice their craft.
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