Sid Juwarker, founder and operator of Teehee’s Comedy Club, says his venue gives local aspiring comedians a voice.
Writer: Luke Manderfeld
Sid Juwaker, who founded and operates Teehee’s Comedy Club, an independent comedy venue downtown, uses his platform to tell stories about his experiences in Greater Des Moines—a perspective many may not be accustomed to.
“Being an immigrant brown person in Des Moines, these are things people haven’t heard before,” Juwarker said on the latest dsm CultureCast podcast. “I tell people I got into stand-up because it was cheaper than therapy. You stand there and open your heart to a bunch of strangers who had no idea who you were or cared anything about you. It is cathartic and helps me sleep at night.”
To hone his stand-up skills, Juwarker performed in cities across the country while traveling for work and eventually joined the Funny Bone Comedy Club circuit. He opened Teehee’s Comedy Club last year. The venue hosts weekly open mics and shows, providing an opportunity for aspiring local comedians to perform in front of crowds.
The pandemic has forced the club to shut down a handful of times, even though it has adhered to social distancing and mask requirements since reopening in early summer, Juwarker said. But when open, the club has still been a safe space for people to perform and get some laughs.
“We’ve so many first-timers on that stage, and that’s the beauty of it,” Juwarker said. “It’s about watching the Des Moines comedy blow up on this stage, where it’s a place to feel accepted. That’s pretty much the only thing I care about. And that’s why it’s successful.”
You can find more information about Teehee’s on its website. You can also listen to the rest of the podcast, including Juwarker’s creative process and memories from his first few shows, here. Subscribe to the dsm CultureCast on Apple Podcast, Spotify and more.