(ED..The following post appeared in our Holiday 2018 print issue)
by Lisa Koch
I miss Peggy Platt, Mary Margaret “Peggy” Platt. My brilliant friend, my infuriating sister, my hilarious writing partner, my Dos Fallopia twin, my Ham for the Holidays marathon partner. She left us April 2, 2018, and I have not found my center since. We were a comedy duo for 28 years—that’s probably some kind of record. I’m still getting used to not being able to call her up and say, “Okay, how about this for a sketch idea?” Her loss is huge, to me, to all of us. She was truly one of a kind.
I first met Peggy in 1989. We were both cast in Alice B. Theatre’s The Holiday Survival Game Show, and I thought she was insanely funny. That was the start of our connection. We kept getting cast in shows, and started creating characters backstage in green rooms. In 1990, Peggy was commissioned by Bumbershoot to write a comedy piece, and she called all her friends to be a part of the merriment. She asked me to write a song for a lesbian folk duo, and I came up with “Sister Song.” We named our characters Compost Morningdew and Dolphin-Free Tuna Womon, and Dos Fallopia was born.
We called ourselves “twin sisters of different cul-de-sacs.” We toured the country, did a ton of women’s festivals, comedy festivals, and Pride festivals. We did shows at the Cabaret de Paris and kept inventing characters, like the Spudds, the Colonel and Shenille, the Dweeb Girls, the Matrons of Blues.
When Alice B. folded in 1995, we knew there would be a big gaping hole from the loss of the Game Show, so we came up with Ham for the Holidays. I became our producer, Peggy made all our props and styled our wigs, and we crossed our fingers that we might break even. Our first Ham in 1996 was at Theatre Off Jackson (which would remain our home until 2012). The cast was me, Peg, and Sandra Singler, plus Mark Rabe on piano. The show was a hit, and the next year we came back with Son of Ham for the Holidays. We followed that with Bride of Ham for the Holidays. And we just kept going. We’d take a year off now and again, but we always came back to Ham. It became a tradition for our loyal Seattle audience, and for all us cast and crew.
Andrew Tasakos was a troupe member for several years, as an actor/writer. Kevin Kent joined us in 1997. Chris Jeffries, Bruce Hall, and DJ Gommels were our kick-ass musical directors, pianists, and actors over the years. Michael Oaks played every weird character we ever wrote for him and was so important to our show. Our directors were Kit Harris, Burton Curtis, Sandra Singler, and Valerie Curtis-Newton, among others—but my brother David Koch helmed the most Hams (10).
We cranked out 17 Hams over the years, with a cast of familiar characters in changing settings. Dysfunctional mother-daughter country-western duo The Spudds showed up every year, along with the always bickering Sequim Gay Men’s Chorus. We all perversely looked forward to the most heinous scene-change videos between sketches. Mama Spudd’s fractured Xmas extravaganzas were the thing of legend—Spudd Trek, Double-Wide Indemnity, It’s Wonderful Wind, How the Bitch Stole Xmas, and The Music Manchurian Candidate, to name just a few. We spent our final five years at ACT Theatre, and the crowds just kept coming. Crazy!
Writing with Peggy was my greatest joy, and we laughed that wheezing-honking-squeaking-crying kind of laughter when we came up with something weird or heinous. Performing with Peggy was intense, so much fun, and never, ever boring. Peg often went up on her lines, and so we would improvise, God help us. And our audience loved being in on the train wreck. Peggy was truly brilliant, and so loved by this city.
Pegster, we had a great run. I will forever miss Mama Spudd (“Oh, my heart is so full…”) and Toby (“I sing bass because I’m a bear…GRRRR!”) and Shenille and Vision and Dot and Vi and Dolphin-Free Tuna Womon and Margaret and Spike and Nicky and Fran and Dale and Moishe and Archie and all the rest of our quirky little family. You were one in a million, sister. Keep ’em laughing up there.