In a career that has spanned decades, there aren’t a whole lot of places in Northern California that Jason Resler hasn’t performed comedy.
But on Saturday, the former Manteca resident will say goodbye to the beloved scene that he helped establish in a farewell performance at Strings Bar and Grill.
Resler, who started performing regularly in the 209 back in the mid-90s, is set to take the stage at Strings at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19. Tickets are $10 in advance – they can be purchased at the bar at Strings, located at 680 N. Main Street – and can be purchased at the door until the venue reaches capacity.
And the 209 will always have a special place in Resler’s heart.
It was the unruly crowds at a now-defunct Modesto sports bar that gave him one of his first regular gigs – with patrons that would walk up on stage and try and take the mic out of performer’s hands during the show scaring off many of the Bay Area comics that were initially booked as the scene was getting started. It was those same crowds that allowed him to hone his acerbic wit and command that have made him a national touring favorite.
Resler, a onetime roommate of Chris Teicheira, left the 209 several years ago to live in the Bay Area, but is now heading east to enjoy a slower pace of life with his new wife.
“I’m going to miss the relationships – the camaraderie amongst the comedians around here,” Resler said. “Part of it is that I’ve been here so long that a lot of these people have become as close as family to me – it feels a lot like Cheers when I walk into a comedy club anywhere here in California.
“I’m going to feel like the new guy when I get out there, and that’ll be the case until they see me get up on stage – then they’ll realize that I’m definitely not the new guy. Well, that and the grey hair.”
Resler was living in Elk Grove when he first started making regular trips down to Modesto to perform at area spots. He vividly recalls a night at a now defunct brewery in Downtown Modesto where a disagreement in the crowd resulted in somebody getting a drink thrown on them, and the ensuing melee ended the show only 20 minutes into his set.
Little did he know that one of the people in that brawl was a young Anthony Krayenhagen – who was upset with a chatty table because he couldn’t hear the comics performing. Resler would move into Krayenhagen’s old room when he moved out of Teicheira’s South Manteca home, and the two have become close friends in the years that followed.
It is in that vein, Resler says, that he’s proud of the work that he’s done in the scene in the 209, and glad that he got a front row seat to watch comics like Krayenhagen make a name for themselves and become touring headliners themselves – a far cry from the barren landscape that he discovered when he first started performing in the area.
“I’ve always kind of felt like a big brother responsibility towards the comedy scene here, and I’ve always wanted all of the guys who came up to become good comedians – I’ve never understood why comics, musicians, entertainers were jealous of the success of others, because somebody being good raises things up for everybody,” Resler said. “It’s good to see your art alive and thriving, and that the next generation is going to carry to the torch.”
Featuring for Resler on Saturday will be established Bay Area comic Emily Van Dyke – who has been invited by Krayenhagen and other members of the Deaf Puppy crew to perform in the area before. Teicheira will serve as the host.
For tickets, visit Stings Bar and Grill – located at 680 N. Main Street – before the show where they can be purchased for $10. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door until the venue reaches capacity.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.