MODESTO – He’s not Susan Lucci anymore.
After spending the better part of a decade as a nominee for Best Comedian at the Modesto Area Music Awards, Mantecan – and Manteca Bulletin guest columnist – Chris Teicheira snapped the streak on Tuesday night at the awards ceremony at Modesto’s State Theater.
Then he proceeded to insult, in some form or fashion, just about everybody in the room by targeting the specific comics that were all awarded before him.
And it was glorious.
Several years ago Teicheira asked me if I wanted to accompany him to the yearly fracas that caters to the independent music scene that has somehow flourished in Modesto for decades. The way it was initially described to me was that “they don’t even want us there” – a disparity between those that pick up and instruments and sing and those that stand behind a microphone and try to make an entire room full of people laugh with some of the most off-the-wall and at times insane things that were ever conceived.
Nobody cares about the attention but everybody cares about the attention.
In my first trip it was exactly as described – a bunch of guys that collectively are as funny and twisted as a human being can be trying to get over the fact that they’re stepping on a stage and practicing an art form that literally nobody inside that theater recognizes.
Teicheira even said nearly as much when he performed last year, and the other Manteca comic that graced the stage on Tuesday – Saul Trujillo – was encouraged not to do the same thing.
He did manage to describe somebody walking past the front of the stage as “The Cryptkeeper” and fire a shot across the musician’s collective bow by delivering a sharp one-liner about the ska bands who were all present, so I don’t know whether he qualified in toeing the company line or not.
But Trujillo was brilliant. Even the people sitting right in front of me, that were drunkenly shouting obscenities when he walked up behind the microphone, had shut their mouths by the time he started delivering what former MAMA Comedy recipient Anthony K estimated to be the first ever “true set” delivered by a jokester.
And when Teicheira’s name was finally called, he made sure to hand Trujillo – who by now was sitting in the front row, his cell phone to take a picture of him receiving an award that has eluded him for years.
Make sure you get a good one. I only get one shot at this.
That hunk of metal was proudly displayed by Teicheira to anybody who would care to stop and look at it as he strutted through the lobby like a peacock and even took a picture with one person as he headed outside and towards The Speakeasy Longue – which just before the show was closed for a private party and was desolate and abandoned with the 209 comedy crew strode through the doors.
“10 kamikazes,” Teichiera demanded of the bartender.
Drinks were drunk. Laughs were had. And a group of razor-sharp men all reveling in the victory of one of their own – a crew that named itself the Deaf Puppies and made videos vying for votes after Teicheira’s deaf puppy Banshee – laughed and joked and talked and drank and did what they do when they’re out on the town.
To the outsider it must look like a bunch incomprehensible non-gentiles.
But in truth they’re really anything but.
Krayenhagen, who just returned from a stint at the Big Sky Comedy Festival in Montana, serves as the glue for the group as he embarks on a career where hopefully his brand of comedy will pay the bills. Trujillo talks about moving to Los Angeles. Mantecan Jason Sohm makes the circuit of local open mics and showcases regularly and still holds on the funniest jokes I’ve ever heard in person – about the Manteca Police Department’s SWAT carrier and the impending invasion of Ripon citizens that warrant such a massive piece of equipment.
And then there’s Teicheira – loud and boisterous but also thoughtful and compassionate. He was the toast of the local comedy town on Tuesday night after years of being the bridesmaid, and although any one of the members of the group would proudly claim that they don’t care about awards, winning the approval of one’s peers in addition to the public is an honor.
Even amongst a bunch of scoundrels.