I finally found someone to come with me to this year's Ham for the Holidays show with Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt -- I was on Facebook Messenger with Evan on Wednesday night, and asked if she was working the next (Thursday) night -- she said no, and when I offered her my extra ticket, for free, she accepted. The alternative was for it to go to waste because Laney didn't want to go this year; Danielle was unavailable; and Shobhit refused to go. It's just as well; it was honestly one of their weaker shows -- I mean, I still enjoyed it but I was glad I got the half-price Preview Night tickets. Evan had a good time.
She told me she saw it once with me several years ago but I discovered this morning she has to have it confused with some other show. I actually went through my archives and figured out all the times I've seen Ham for the Holidays -- and I've seen it way more than I thought. Eleven times! Here's the rundown of all the shows I went to and who I saw them with:
1. 2000: Barbara
2. 2002: Barbara
3. December 2, 2004: Barbara
4. December 22, 2007: Shobhit and Barbara
5. November 28, 2009: Shobhit and Barbara
6. December 10, 2010: Susan
7. December 4, 2011: Susan
8. December 22, 2013: Shobhit
9. December 20, 2015: Laney
10. December 23, 2016: Laney and Jessica
11. November 30, 2017: Evan
I saw it with Barbara five times; with Shobhit three times; with Susan and Laney each twice; and Jessica and Evan each once. I can only tell you about the shows I saw pre-2004 because of my journal entry about seeing it that year, in which I wrote that Barbara laughed so hard she cried. Last night's show was entertaining but wasn't near that funny, although, to be fair, the 2004 show was apparently a "best of" retrospective of many years of Ham for the Holidays even before that. I also noted that as of that year, Lisa and Peggy had been performing together for 15 years, which would mean they started in 1989. As of this year then, they've been performing together for 28 years!
I have to admit, there's a slight element of their shows having gone into a slight rut: at least three of their skits have been recurring every year in recent memory, including "The Spudds" -- specifically with the mother-daughter duo putting on some ridiculous stage play, this year being The Music Manchurian Candidate; the Slam Poet; and the Sequim Gay Men's Chorus. As I said, all skits were still entertaining this year -- just not their best.
Another moderate disappointment: the last couple of years featured a young gay performer named Joel Domenico, who was very fit, super hot, and super talented, with a great singing voice -- after last year's show I started following him on Instagram. (He has a more than passing resemblance to Tommy, my previous roommate, incidentally -- although I was not especially attracted to him; too young.) I don't know if it was scheduling conflicts, or what -- he currently performs with The Can Can -- but this year the role of "hot young gay supporting player" was filled by another guy, who was both cute and talented enough, but honestly doesn't hold a candle to Joel.
Of course, Evan would be aware of none of this; everything about it -- the skits, the performers -- was new to her. I, only the other hand, have seen Peggy Platt dressed as a member of the Sequim Gay Men's Chorus deliver the punch line, "I'm a bass 'cause I'm a bear; grr!", easily five times over now. It gets a laugh every time, which means clearly most people are not the devoted fans that I have been for going on two decades.
I'll probably want to go again next year; for me it's a Christmas tradition, even if who I go with widely varies over the years. I think I'll deliberately go to Preview Night again next year, though, just to get the tickets cheap. The house was hardly even half full last night and the show was indeed in need of some slight polish, but for fifteen bucks a ticket it was still totally worth it. I'm not sure I would have felt the same had I spent $30 per ticket.
Evan, as it happens, is much more consistently aligned with my other Christmas tradition of a show to see, which I'll be seeing for the fifth time with her this year -- the Dina Martina Christmas show. She asked if I wanted to meet for drinks before the show, which had me leaving on short notice and earlier than expected; the bus was in terrible traffic and I wound up getting off and grabbing a Spin Cycle, meeting her at Elephant & Castle and finding them far too busy. We then walked over to the bar at the Sheraton Hotel and we each had one cocktail there.
While there, one of the things we talked about was Dina Martina -- and we finally purchased our tickets, settling on December 30. We had previously agreed on December 22, but she kept having to postpone for budgetary reasons, until I told her yesterday that day's show was already sold out.
Anyway, Evan said Dina Martina was her one Christmas tradition; she's been going for many years before she started going with me in 2013. Last year was the first year with Elden, her boyfriend; he'll be there this year too, and maybe even some other friends of theirs as well.
Like the history of Ham for the Holidays, I drew up a history of Dina Martina and who I saw her with as well:
1. December 18, 2013: Evan
2. December 20, 2014: Evan
3. April 18, 2015: Evan [spring show]
4. December 31, 2015: Evan
5. May 15, 2016: Shobhit [spring show in L.A.]
6. December 4, 2016: Evan and Elden
7. December 30, 2017: Evan and Elden
So! As if this year, I will have seen Dina Martina with Evan six times; specifically the Christmas show five times; and overall seven times -- thanks to the one time I saw her in L.A. with Shobhit. Shobhit was not super impressed, so there's no need to ask him to come to that show anymore either. Shobhit just doesn't like fun stuff, and wants instead just to complain about spending money.
At least he seems to be looking forward to going to Yellowstone National Park for our anniversary next year.
Anyway, even I would say the L.A. show was the weakest of all shows I've seen, thanks to its much smaller, tighter and less elaborate set and venue. She's always hilarious, though. I wish I could get Gabriel to come see her with me sometime; I'm certain he would enjoy it. But Gabriel can never plan far in advance and these shows always sell out. Maybe one of these years I should just buy him a ticket for Christmas and then he'll be forced to come!
I was home beforehand for maybe forty minutes after I arrived from work, and Shobhit had already made chili mac for dinner -- at my request! It was super tasty, too. We watched an episode of The Golden Girls. Once I was back again, it was already hitting 10 pm and it was time to get ready for bed.
[posted 12: 22pm]