Teehee's Comedy Club in the Western Gateway neighborhood of Downtown Des Moines is the new home of local and independent comedy in the Des Moines metro. Over the past decade, the central Iowa comedy scene has not only built and grown a following of passionate fans, but has also cultivated a crop of local talent that has, in some cases, even continued on to perform in larger cities and venues and in front of increasingly larger national crowds.
But it hasn't necessarily been an uninterrupted upward line of trajectory for local comedy in the Des Moines. There has been some starts and stops. A lack of consistency in venues and a loss of some of the biggest talent to other cities has slowed the growth at times. However, you can feel the momentum building again with the widely anticipated opening of Teehee's Comedy Club late last year. It is now abundantly clear that local and independent comedy in Central Iowa has once again found a welcoming space to call home.
Their mission, as outlined on their website, is "an independent comedy club owned by comedians, who understand and love comedians. We want to ensure that anyone seeking to do comedy in Des Moines has a stage, microphone, and audience to perfect their craft. That’s why Teehee’s Comedy Club is Iowa’s premier independent comedy venue."
The Western Gateway neighborhood of Des Moines is famously home to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the brand new Krause Gateway Center. As it continues to be redeveloped with breweries, restaurants, condos, and entertainment venues like Noce, a jazz cabaret, and now Teehee's, the neighborhood now has a bit more of an identity. The area is quickly becoming a destination for those who appreciate the arts and quality entertainment. Teehee's is located in corner one-story brick building that, up until recently, was occupied by an antique store.
I used to pop into that store from time to time but can assure you that the building definitely has a lot more life now than it did in it's most recent former use. As they note, on their website, "The building has been completely overhauled from top to bottom to create a beautiful, intimate comedy club in the spirit of a southern speakeasy." The space is now filled with a full bar, a stage, polished concrete floors, an assortment of tables, and unique lighting elements, like this beautiful chandelier.
There are a couple of other nearby tenants and they share a common set of restrooms that are handicap accessible.
There is a full bar that is quite spacious and attractive.
They do not serve food but they do offer beer, wine, and liquor as well as non-alcoholic beverages such as soda and water.
Each table has an "orb" on the table that has a button on it. If someone needs service or another drink, they can touch the orb and it will change colors.
As someone who has done both improv and stand-up, I am friends with many of the performers and even a couple of the owners of this new venue. They have regular short-form and long-form improv shows as well as weekly "open mics" for local men and women to come try their hand at their latest stand-up material. You can check out their website to see a regularly updated calendar of events. They also offer classes, will do private or corporate events, and their space is even available for rental.
I'm a bit partisan toward improv as opposed to stand-up, but that's just personal preference. They have regular cast shows as well as special shows from time to time.
On a recent weekend, I was actually invited to host one of the specialty shows. Chowdown, one of the premier improv troupes, does a monthly show at Teehee's. I wrote about one of their previous shows at the Bricker-Price-Block in downtown Earlham last year.
I enjoyed the chance to host their show in front of a sold-out audience.
It was a great valentine's themed show that included the warm-up act of "Alien Head Emoji", another local troupe.
If you are in the Des Moines area and are looking for somewhere new for a fun group or date night out, Teehee's probably should definitely be on your list of places to try. If you are in town visiting and are looking to get a flavor of the local comedy and entertainment scene, you would do well to visit this vibrant neighborhood of Des Moines. Check out Teehee's Facebook page and give them a like and a follow and be sure to keep a keen eye on their upcoming slate of fun local and independent comedy events.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Polk County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you have a good idea or would like to host the Iowa Adventurer, please drop me a note through this website.