Ham-to-Ham Combat

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
When the unstoppable pork meets the immovable sausage.

Rico: Why did you judge me?!
Dredd: You killed innocent people!
Rico: The means to an end!
Dredd: You started a massacre!
Rico: I started a revolution!
Dredd: You betrayed the Law!

When a work is populated by more than one Large Ham, and at least two get a scene together, it will usually turn into Ham-to-Ham Combat, where they try to out-over dramatic each other. The scene can become either really funny or really corny, and really fast. If it goes too far, it may reach a Hormel Event Horizon.

Note that they do not have to be enemies. It can be the Big Bad and The Dragon trying to out-evil-laugh each other, or a pair of heroes spouting Bond One Liners as they mow down the Mooks. The point is that their screen presences and overacting are competing.

Compare World of Ham.

Examples of Ham-to-Ham Combat include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Ouran High School Host Club, anything involving Lobelia inevitably turns into this.
  • In Baccano!, someone managed to get Ladd Russo and Graham Specter into the same enclosed space for a bit. The results were...explosive.
    • About five minutes after Graham's introduction at that!
  • Mazinger Z: In the Dynamic Heroes e-manga (a Crossover featuring the main Go Nagai series), Kouji Kabuto fought Great Marshall Of Hell as riding Mazinger. The two of them have very hammish tendences. It is noteworthy as it was, maybe, the first time in the history of the franchise Kouji and Dr. Hell faced each other directly as both were riding giant robots. Too bad it was a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • And in Great Mazinger the legendary duel between Tetsuya and Great General of Darkness. They were trying not only to kill each other but also out-ham each other.
    • And in UFO Robo Grendizer the final battle between Duke and Emperor Vega.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is essentially a continuous series of Ham-to-Ham Combat scenes, with all moments of Kamina and Viral together on screen automatically topping the list.

Simon: Take this! Finishing move! Super Tengen Toppa... Giga... Drill... BREAKER!!
Anti Spiral: Interesting! Then; Anti Spiral... Giga... Drill... BREAKER!!

Guy: I'll show you...the true power of courage!
Palparepa: You will show me?!

  • The Angel Beats! OVA takes this Up to Eleven. As part of a plan to trick Angel, Yuri pretty much orders an Apocalypse of Ham where everyone tries to out-ham each other with the Tension Meter. If the plan fails, everyone fasts (including no water) for a week. Shiina of all people wins, bringing the Tension Meter up to 9999 just by saying "CUTE!!!" The plan still fails, though. Good thing Death Is Cheap!
  • Bleach gives us the amazing porkitude of Yumichika Ayasegawa vs. Charlotte Cuulhorne in the Arrancar arc. Once they call each other "ugly troll", thus pressing their same Berserk Buttons, much screaming and attacking and Volleying Insults ensue. Bonus points to Tite Kubo for knowing when to stop. The fight flips from Ham-to-Ham Combat to Let's Get Dangerous before the fandom can say "Curb Stomp Battle".
  • Nichijou: Makoto vs Manabu Takasaki, Go-soccer match.
    • Mio and Yukko often sometimes Mai even joins in.
  • Mawaru Penguindrum. Masako Natsume vs. Yori Tokikago. Much awesome, dramatic flail and weapon flinging issue whenever these two meet.
  • Puppetmon versus MetalEtemon in Digimon Adventure.

Audio Adaptation

Comic Books

  • Tintin: The "I am more evil than you!" argument that Rastapopulos and Lazlo Cariedas have in 714 after they both take truth serum.


Jessep: You want answers?!
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth!

  • Pirates of the Caribbean, in the first movie where Barbossa and Jack Sparrow face off with each other, and really, whenever they share a scene at any time in the film trilogy.
    • By the third movie, pretty much everyone is trying to out-ham the other, including Hans Zimmer, the sound-track composer.
    • Which makes perfect sense that the next film will focus around Jack and Barbossa. Because like the first film proved, how can one not have fun watching Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, two of the finest actors alive, having a ham contest in pirate garb and dialogue?

Barbarossa: What ARR ya doin'?
Sparrow: What are YOU doing?
Barbarossa: NO! What ARRRR ya doin'!?


  • In the Ciaphas Cain novel Cain's Last Stand, the confrontation between Cain and Warmaster Varan starts out like this. Then they fight.
  • The Duel of Insults from the Redwall novel Marlfox certainly counts as this.
  • The argument between Severus Snape and Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix escalates quickly into childish name-calling. Considering both characters are scene-stealing and bombastic on their own, the fact that they have a scene together at all should make the wizarding world explode. Just imagine if the scene had been in the movie.

Live-Action TV

  • A scene in Friends has Joey and Gary Oldman devolving into one of these as both attempt to spit more in their dialogue.
  • Doctor Who is a bastion of Ham-to-Ham Combat.
    • In "The Christmas Invasion", the Tenth Doctor argues with the Sycorax leader.

The Doctor: I! DON'T! KNOW!!

    • When the Tenth Doctor and Donna get into a ham-off, it's epic.
    • Any time there's a multi-Doctor story:
      • The Three Doctors between William Hartnell (First Doctor), Patrick Troughton (Second Doctor), and Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor). However they are all restrained thespians compared to OOOOOOOOMEGAAAAAAA!!
      • "The Five Doctors", between Richard Hurndall replacing Hartnell, Troughton, and Pertwee, with Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor positively restrained in comparison. Extra ham from Anthony Ainley as The Master and Richard Mathews as Rassilon.
      • The Two Doctors, with Troughton and Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor.
      • "Time Crash", 7 minutes of non-stop hamming from David Tennant (Tenth Doctor) and Peter Davison.
      • Even "The Next Doctor", while not a true multi-Doctor story, has David Morrissey out-hamming Tennant.
    • The Mark of the Rani has a three-way ham-fest among Colin Baker's Doctor, Anthony Ainley's Master and Kate O'Mara's Rani, and it is glorious.
    • The King's Demons, for the master class in ham from Gerald Flood's King John and Anthony Ainley's Master. Gerald Flood's performance is utterly magnificent. It's been a while since they boilllled someone in oilll.
    • There's a truly spectacular ham-off between Colin Baker and Brian Blessed in The Trial Of A Time Lord (episodes 5-8). No wonder Peri (Nicola Bryant) left the show after this; it would be physically impossible to be exposed to such overwhelming hammy glory for more than five minutes without ending up either dead or pregnant.
    • Colin Baker again in Timelash where he squares off against Paul "Avon" Darrow. As has been said elsewhere, the resulting combat has to be seen to be disbelieved.
    • This happens any time one of the Doctors confronts Davros.
    • Don't forget showdowns between the Doctor and The Master. Any of them.
      • The entire Pertwee era is just one huge Ham-to-Ham Combat zone. If it isn't Pertwee and Delgado, it is Pertwee and Nicholas Courtney.
    • The mexi-ham standoff between the Doctor, the Master, and Timothy Dalton from "The End Of Time".
    • In "Doomsday," the Cybermen and the Daleks meet for the first time... and promptly proceed to bitch at each other for a good five minutes. It's hilarious.
    • Even the cast and crew weren't averse to a bit of Ham-to-Ham Combat among themselves. Roy Skelton, one of the Dalek voice actors during the classic series, says he and his colleagues would often compete with each other on set, to see who could be the most evil-sounding Dalek.
    • In The Horns of Nimon, Lalla Ward almost manages to out-ham Tom Baker himself. He resists the onslaught, but then, unbelievably, they are both beaten—completely and utterly beaten—by Graham Crowden as Soldeed. His famous DREEEeeeAAAAaaAaAAAAms of CONquest are only the icing on the cake.
    • The serial Ghost Light is famous for two things, its Neon Genesis Evangelion level of incomprehensibility, and the sheer level of glorious over-acting by every. single. cast. member. Even the extras. Somehow, though, it manages to be utterly awesome and a firm fan-favourite.
  • Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris in Glee, competing for a role in Les Misérables, singing Aerosmith's Dream On and getting progressively more over-the-top. It is unbelievably awesome.
  • In Robin of Sherwood, guest star Lewis Collins and Nickolas Grace had a competition to see who could out-camp the other. The results are magnificient and full of glorious Ho Yay.
  • Basically, any time any group of Power Rangers face their Big Bad. Especially when a Hot Blood'd Red Ranger faces their Big Bad.

Devastation: That was your lesson for today! Your homework: Feel the emotion that rages within you. It is called--FEEEEEEEEAR! [Best if imagined in Macho Man Randy Savage's voice.]

  • Any scene in Mork and Mindy with Exidor and Mork. Exidor is a role that requires the finest hamming, and Mork is... well, Robin Williams.
  • An episode of Roseanne had Roseanne's cousin Ronnie visiting from New York. Cousin Ronnie was played by Joan Collins. A rare female case of Ham-to-Ham Combat ensued.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat was really the basis of Hawkeye and Trapper's (later B.J.) whole relationship in M*A*S*H. This was as much their characters desperately trying to deflect the horror around them with silly puns, as it was Alda, Rogers, and Farrel having altogether too much fun working together.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Londo and G'Kar, pretty much every time they met in the first couple of seasons led to a spectacular argument with actors Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas trying to out-ham each other.
    • Ham is part of the job description for any Centauri ambassador.
    • The climax of "Moments of Transition" turns into three-way Ham-to-Ham Combat between Delenn, Neroon, and Shakiri. The part where Neroon makes his Heroic Sacrifice elevates the whole thing to Narm levels.
  • The British impressions show Dead Ringers had a repeated sketch in which Ian McKellen and Alan Rickman battled it out in Ham-to-Ham Combat for token British bad guy roles. They were inevitably blown out of the water by a dramatic entrance from BRIAN BLESSED!!.
  • Frasier:
    • The rivalry between Frasier and Cam Winston was truly a joy to behold.
    • Whenever Frasier and Niles got worked up with each other was the cue for an impromptu ham-off, due in equal parts to their natural pompous demeanors, their high education levels and established familiarity with theater, opera, and musicals, and their Sibling Rivalry urging them to show off by trying to outdo each other in the dramatically complex insults and long, hard-to-pronouce words departments. Also, Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce having too much fun for their own good.
  • iCarly: Spencer and Jack Black in "iStart A Fan War".
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun: John Cleese versus John Lithgow!
    • And when Lithgow's boss, the Big Giant Head, appeared, he was... William Shatner!
  • On 30 Rock, whenever occasional guest star Will Arnett's character gets into it with Jack Donaghy.

Devon: I'm honestly not trying to make this sound gay.
Jack: No one is, it's just happening.

Kirk: "Beamed your crew down to the planet? But there is no planet!"
Decker: "Don't you think I know that? Don't you think I know that?! THERE WAS! BUT NOT ANYMORE!!"

  • In the finale of each episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, the two worst contestants are forced into a "Lip Synch for your LIFE!" dance-off.


  • The song "Under Pressure". Freddie Mercury and David Bowie duet.
  • Anywhere that Gackt and Yoshiki appear together. Also contains major shades of Ho Yay or possibly Foe Yay.
  • We could be here all week if we tried to list all the examples in the genre of Power Metal considering the prominence of Large Hams and guest vocalists. Special mention, however, goes to the following:
    • Ayreon is described on its page as an excuse for the "who's who of Progressive Metal to compete to out-ham each other."
    • Avantasia, much like Ayreon, gets this as a direct result of the numerous guest vocals. The songs "The Wicked Symphony" and "Stargazers" in particular have managed to bring together three (four in the case of "Stargazers") of the largest hams in power metal by having Tobias Sammet, Russell Allen, Jorn Lande and, in the case of "Stargazers," Michael Kiske all sing on the same songs.
    • Allen/Lande is a superband that came together entirely for the purposes of this trope in regards to the afformentioned Russell Allen and Jorn Lande.
  • From the realm of classical music comes Rossini's "Duetto buffo di due gatti" ("Comic duet for two cats"). Any sopranos who do not use this song as an exercise in competitive hammery are just doing it wrong.
  • Heavy metal is made of this trope, especially if a band has two lead guitarists (Glenn Tipton and K. K. Downing of Judas Priest, most famously). They'll hit all the highest notes, play the fastest riffs, and do everything short of tickling their guitars to death. The hammiest of them can not only short-circuit their guitars, but cause them to melt.
  • In Journey's "Chain Reaction" music video singer Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon engage in this, culminating in Steve laying the smackdown on Neal.
  • The Flanders and Swann song "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" ends every verse with a singing duel between the two duetters. The ham level is high enough it can alter your blood cholesterol.

Professional Wrestling

Shawn Michaels: Bullets hurt me...


  • During the legendary Jack Benny-Fred Allen feud, any time either of the two appeared on the other's show, the hamminess reigned unrestrained.

Jack Benny (as his pants are being removed): Allen, you haven't seen the end of me!
Fred Allen: It won't be long now!

Theater and Opera

  • A Very Potter Musical has three extremely Large Hams (Voldemort, Malfoy, and Snape). They finally get a scene together, which was once pictured above, and it turns into this. And it's totally awesome.
  • The two princes singing "Agony" in Into the Woods frequently takes this form.
    • It's in the script. "Agony! Far more painful than yours!"
  • Older Than Radio: Mozart's opera-within-an-opera Der Schauspieldirektor has two sopranos both insisting "Ich bin die erste Sängerin" ("I am the prima donna") and seeking to prove their claim with abundant coloratura.
  • Wicked has a scene set almost immediately after Dorothy leaves munchkinland in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz where Elphaba and Glinda begin bickering and eventually catfight. Now, Glinda is miscast if she's not a Large Ham but the special treat in this scene is the actress playing Elphaba beginning to ham it up as well. It's also the last comic scene in the show too, so the actresses clearly like to have fun with it.
  • In a recorded production of Jekyll and Hyde starring David Hasselhoff as the eponymous character(s), he's at his highest level of ham in the climactic song "Confrontation". Why is that an example of this trope? Because Jekyll and Hyde both sing that song. That's right, The Hoff can have Ham-to-Ham Combat with HIMSELF.
  • Cirque Du Soleil's Mystere turns the eternal struggle that is Order Versus Chaos into this, pitting the conceited emcee Moha-Samedi against story-intruder Brian Le Petit. This climaxes with the emcee declaring "Get Out!" and Brian taking on a look sooooooo pitiable that one can't help but "Awwwww..." for him... which is his intention -- effectively calling upon hammy reinforcements!
  • Chicago: The climactic scene of the original play [1] is a contest between Billy and Roxie to decide who can do more to guilt the jury into exonerating her. Billy makes his closing argument furiously Chewing the Scenery, but Roxie, not willing to let her lawyer steal the show from her, wins without uttering a single line of dialogue.

Video Games

Irenicus: Once my lust for power was everything, but now I hunger only for revenge, AND I. SHALL. HAVE IT!
Minsc: I am tired of shouting battle-cries at this mage! Boo will finish his eyeballs once and for all so that he does not rise again! Evil! Meet my sword! Sword! Meeet eeeeviiiil!


  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: Pretty much any voice-acted scene where the villains are talking to each other counts. Doubly so if Kefka or Exdeath is involved.
    • Since voice-acting was introduced, Final Fantasy games seem to do this rather regularly. Special mention has to be given to Tidus and Yuna's Stylistic Suck laughing scene in Final Fantasy X, although Wakka and Rikku came close to out-doing them with their regular sentence-ending occurrences of "yah?" and "y'know?"
  • The final boss fight in Dead Space 2, where both Issac and Nicole/The Marker take their scenery-chewing levels Up to Eleven.


  • Planescape: Torment has one where Ravel (Crazy Ham) meets The Transcendent One (Evil Sounds Deep). Or the ending sequences of PS:T in the Fortress of Regrets for that matter. You don't even need the sound. The writing at that point is sufficiently epic to convey the "hamminess" all by itself.
  • Dante vs Agnus before their fight in Devil May Cry 4. A bizarre in-universe example, complete with stage lights and noticeably more poetic dialogue than usual. It really has to be seen.
    • The fight just happened to be on the stage of an opera house. Dante decided to behave accordingly, and Agnus followed. The people running the stage lights must have still been there and helped, possibly for fear of evisceration.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. Any stronghold mission featuring two of the following: Space Marines, Orks, Chaos, Imperial Guard, and Eldar (exception: if Eldar are on defense). Two grimdark hams will duke it out along with their armies.
  • BlazBlue
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney "OBJECTION!" "I SAID OBJECTION FIRST!"
  • At the end of the level "The Covenant" in Halo 3, the Arbiter, Gravemind, and the Prophet of Truth all have a scene together. Truth's participation ends with;

Truth: I! Am! Truuth! The vooiiice of the Covenant!
Arbiter: And so, you must be silenced. (stab)

    • At that point, Gravemind chimes in with an evil laugh and a rhyming verse describing how he's now unstoppable.

"Now the gate has been unlatched, headstones pushed aside! Corpses shift and offer room, a fate you must ABIDE!"

    • The levels in Halo 2 when you fight the Elite heretics as the Arbiter. The Elites being a race of BigHams, this trope crops up frequently.

Sesa Refumee: I wondered who the Prophets would send to silence me. An Arbiter... I'm flattered.
Rtas Vadumee: He's using a holo-drone. Come out so we may kill you!
Sesa: Heheh... get in line.

    • Also:

Arbiter: Turrrrn, heretic.
Sesa: Arbiter. I would rather die by your hands than let the Prophets lead me to slaughter.
Arbiter: Who has taught you these liiies?


Web Comics

  • Drowtales
    • Just about anytime a fight gets serious you can expect this. Quain'tana, Zala'ess (even more so when they're in the same scene) and pretty much all of the Knight Templar Kyorl'solenurn clan seem to have a steady diet of the comic's scenery.
    • The hammiest moment, bar none, is during Sil'lice's flashback where she battles the equally hamtacular Kalki, and Sil'lice's ham-a-thon when she returns to the Sharen fortress afterwards. They literally start knocking down the scenery.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Transformers:
    • Optimus and Megatron are the masters of this trope, pretty much in every continuity (and they usually play it up during actual combat). Megatron and Starscream have their moments, too.
    • Unicron, Primus, and the Original 13 (7?), too, ham it up every time they activate their vocal processors, and go into overdrive when running combat subroutines.
    • In Beast Wars Megatron and Tarantulas have formulated an Evil Plan. They begin to laugh in celebration. This becomes an Overly Long Gag as they try to have the last laugh.
  • The Great Mouse Detective: Vincent Price and Barrie Ingham.
  • Xavier: Renegade Angel: Shakashuri Blowdown- the ridiculous fight that Xavier has with himself. (There are 2 Xaviers.) This produces exchanges (said in the hammiest voices imaginable) like "You sound like THE ugliest son of a bitch I have EVER HEARD!" "YOU sound like the PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION of some LOSER'S inner DEMONS!"
  • Invader Zim: Anybody going against Zim will inevitably be involved in one of these, although Tak is probably one of the best examples.
  • Danny Phantom: Technus (who was a grade A ham from the start) versus Super Danny (who, apparently, is one of the hammiest characters of all without his human side to subdue it).
  • Colonel Gathers and General Treister in The Venture Brothers.

Gathers: Don't kill yourself, you crazy bastard!

Xavier: You sound like the ugliest son of a bitch I ever heard!
Other Xavier: YOU sound like the physical manifestation of some LOSER'S inner DEMONS!
Xavier: YOU sound like some total chode's inability to confront his past actions!
Other Xavier: If I ever hear one more word from your stinky mug, I swear to Jack-off I'll knock your clock off!

  • There are a lot of these in Adventure Time, but special mention has to go to any scene involving Finn and Lemongrab together.

Finn: *puffs out his chest and slaps Lemongrab on the hand* WATCH your MANNERS with the PRINCESS!
Finn: What the HUH?!
Lemongrab: *frowning* MMMMMM...! *gasps* -MUH!

    • Any scene with Finn and the Ice King.

Real Life

  • Frequently seen in high school drama classes, both on stage, and even more often it will happen when participating in improvisation games.
  • Model United Nations can on occasion descend into this when representatives of two unpopular countries, like North Korea and Myanmar, end up in a debate with each other.
  • Hitler vs Stalin
  • Speaking of World War Two: Patton and any other general. Special note goes to him and Montgomery: The invasion of Sicily would have probably been a lot less bloody for the Allies if the two weren't trying to show each other who's the better conqueror.
    • The movie Patton had Patton say this line:

Hell, I know I'm a prima-donna, I admit it. The thing that bothers me about Monty [UK General Bernard Law Montgomery] is he won't admit it.

  • The British House of Commons, because of the incredibly adversarial setup of the Chamber, often features attempts by the Members to out-ham one another. A typical exchange generally goes like this:

Minister: (*outlines government policy)

  1. not the musical