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Teicheira throws in towel in bid to open comedy club in Manteca
Jason Campbell

Chris Teicheira was so happy when he finally lined up the resources to make his dream a reality. 

After years of plodding around the Central Valley performing comedy in places never designed for it, Teicheira and his crew of comic friends had finally built a strong enough local following – and developed enough contacts from accomplished touring comedians from larger Northern California cities – to justify the opening of the city’s first comedy club. 

And it wasn’t just going to be a comedy club, either. 

To hear Teicheira tell it, it was going to be more like a “supper club” – a place where people could come and grab a bite to eat and a drink or two and enjoy entertainment ranging from comedy to music to live drama. 

But this week the local farmer turned funnyman finally admitted that his dream of opening a comedy club in a town he loves dearly appears to be at an impasse. He was unable to find anyone willing to rent him the space for such a use despite the fact that it would generate large amount of business and have an economic ripple effect for all other culinary and night life businesses in the vicinity. 

To be honest, the announcement is really, really disappointing to hear – not because of anything that Teicheira has done, but because it appears that in some respects Manteca is still stuck in the mindset of a small town grappling with its growth spurt while the rest of the world shoots past it. 

Despite Manteca’s eventual growth into a midsized city, Teicheira wasn’t able to convince the powers that be – in this case, the property owners with the space that he thinks would best be suited for such an endeavor – to take a chance on something that he wholeheartedly believes can make it in the long run. 

His idea location – inside of the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley – ran into the roadblock of the developer not wanting to lease any new spaces while they try and figure out what they’re going to do with the currently vacant spaces now that they can’t write them off as a loss on their taxes anymore. 

Even though he went into the meetings with the funding in place to launch the business immediately, there will be no new businesses coming to what supposed to be a bustling retail and commercial development because nobody knows what is going to happen. 

He couldn’t gain any traction in the Stadium Center either. And while Orchard Supply Hardware is no longer, the building itself is still under lease by parent corporation Lowe’s that has a provision in their lease that they can’t be located next to any business that serves alcohol. Never mind the fact that there’s a liquor store on the other side of the complex – the fact that adults are going to enjoy a few libations while the adjacent space sits vacant is apparently too much for the company that will likely sit on the space and do nothing with it until the lease finally expires – and Teicheira can’t wait that long. 

What’s even more frustrating is that Teicheira could have taken his investors to a place like Modesto and gotten into a property near the bustling downtown culinary scene – where people have disposable income, and they’re looking for something do after their gastro adventures – the next day. There is no shortage of available spaces, and the landlords in Modesto would have probably bent over backwards to have the business that his venture would bring to the area. 

But that isn’t what he did. He held out for Manteca – beating every bush that he could to wrangle a space that he could proud of.

He met with elected officials. He talked with landlords and leasing agents. He did his homework to find out the places that he thought would cater to not just Manteca residents but regional residents without sacrificing his desire to take care of the people here at home that have supported him for so long. 

And at the end of all that, he’s holding the exact same thing that he had in his hands when he started – a big bag of nothing. 

I have no doubt that Teicheira’s comedy club will be a success wherever it ends up. While he comes off as the carefree party boy that has never turned down a good time, he’s also ridiculously sharp in ways that most people wouldn’t expect – that “devil may care” attitude belies a keen intellect and a drive that will undoubtedly serve him well as he ventures into the world of business. 

I mean, just look at what he has done with the monthly Strings comedy showcase that he routinely packs with people who come out to see his friends from places like Sacramento and the Bay Area – and sometimes even out of state – to enjoy crowds that always deliver. Imagine what he could do with a space that is set up specifically for comedy – where he’ll be able to have those friends perform all weekend, and program shows that he knows will keep people doubled over in laughter as they forget about the worries of the world for a brief moment and enjoy being transported to wherever the man with the microphone chooses to take them for the evening. 

I just wish that he could have brought a permanent home for his laughter to Manteca – which he has defended fiercely for so long – instead of being told that there’s nowhere he for him to do just that. Whether it’s the owners of the Promenade Shops or bureaucratic red tape that are to blame, it’s the people of Manteca that are going to lose out on this most of all. 

Everybody says that they’re for progress, but when it comes down to it, this entire example proves otherwise.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544.