Now as traditional a part of Seattle’s holiday scene as the lighting of the Christmas Tree at Westlake Center, Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt return for their thirteenth Ham for the Holidays this month.
The pair have been performing together as Dos Fallopia since 1990. Their shows Twin Sisters of Different Cul-de-sacs; Pretty Girls, Not Too Bright; and Deja Poo have gathered great reviews in London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Indianapolis as well as Seattle.
But talking to Koch, it is clear that Ham holds a very special place in their hearts.
This year’s show occupies ACT’s Falls Theatre downtown. Ham for the Holidays: Close Encounters of the Pork Rind runs through Dec. 22. Tickets are available through ACT’s website.
What inspired you to create the original Ham for Holidays?
Peggy and I had been writing and performing in Seattle in the early 1990s with Alice B. Theatre's Holiday Survival Game Show. Then Alice B. folded in 1995. Peg and I wanted to continue with some kind of Dos Fallopia holiday show, so Ham was born in 1996. We couldn't find a theater to produce us, so I took on producer duties. The show was very successful (despite the greenhorn producer!), and we have produced a holiday show almost yearly since.
Did you ever think it would last as long as a fruitcake?
God, no. We're amazed we're still a working comedy duo after all these years. It's very rare for any band or act to stay together this long. And rarer still to have a long running show that continues to be popular. We made a pact years ago that if we weren't having fun, we should quit. Apparently, we're still having fun.
So how do you bake a Ham year after year and keep it fresh?
Peggy and I write the script together, and I write the parody lyrics and original songs. We have an arsenal of characters, and some of them (like The Spudds) return every year, with a new sketch. We always work in topical material, political digs, and lots of local Northwest references. We never know if something will work until we get it in front of an audience. Our only barometer is, if something makes us laugh, there's a chance it might make an audience laugh, too.
Do you have any favorite characters?
I have so many favorites. We've created quite a list of characters over the years. I do love our country mother-daughter duo The Spudds (Euomi and Wynotta). White trash mother, lesbian daughter, and really fun country music. Peggy absolutely inhabits Mama Spudd, she's hilarious. I also love our granola folk duo, Compost Morningdew and Dolphin-Free Tuna Womon, aka Mud. Created lovingly from our experiences at women's music festivals. Also I'm very fond of our bottom-feeding lounge act, The Colonel and Shenille. It's a little slice of every lounge band I've ever been in.
For those new to the show, what should they expect from the 2013 production?
Ham for the Holidays is a ridiculous, smart, left of center, Seattle-skewering musical sketch comedy written by two insane women who call themselves Dos Fallopia. Think Carol Burnett on steroids. It is an evening of sketches, music, video, and dysfunctional characters, all created in two hours by four actors.
For those who have been to Ham before, what should they expect?
The return of Jewish lounge act, Schmeck Attack; more from the angst-ridden Slam Poet; new songs from the Sequim Gay Men's Chorus; the smutty game show Crassword; Seattle billionaires and icons form a super band; and country-western superstars The Spudds premiere Mama Spudd's latest mangling of the holidays, "Meet Me in Mayberry with a Vengeance."