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, or both, 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.
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.
Can't forget whenever Alex is in the same room as Izumi's husband Sig Curtis. Pec Flex contests inevitably ensue.
Or when Alex and Sig teamed up to take care of Sloth.
In the first episode of Brotherhood, Isaac MacDougal gets a chance to do this with Alex.
Pretty much every card game in the Yu-Gi-Oh! series.
Just one example would be Marik vs. Yami Bakura in Battle City in the 4Kids dub. The two feel the need to remind the other every ten seconds that Once they lose this duel they'll be BANISHED TO THE SHADOW REALM! MWA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
In Sgt. Frog, the snowball fight between Giroro and Paul was at least one of these in the dub.
The final 15 minutes of AKIRA: "TetSUOOOOOOOOO!" "KaneDAAAAAA!"
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!
In Kotoura-san, Manabe and Kotoura's grandfather get into a perverted argument about Haruka in episode 4, the grandfather bragging about direct contact with her thighs and butt, Manabe about the joy of seeing her flustered face, by deliberately thinking dirty things about her so as to invoke herDirty Mind-Reading.
Judge Dredd. Dredd, as an over-the-top police officer, and Rico, as an over-the-top villain, ham it up throughout the entire movie. When they finally meet near the end, though, the pork hits the fan. Justified, in that they are revealed to be long-separated twins. Clones, actually.
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?
Pintel: STOW IT! THE BOTH OF YOU! THAT'S AN ORDER! UNDERSTAND?! (Jack and Barbossa stare at him in surprise) ...Sorry, I just thought with the captain issue in doubt I'd throw in my name for consideration.
Obviously for a movie set in a World of Ham, Repo! The Genetic Opera encounters this quite a bit. The most notable example is in the song "Mark It Up", where all three Largo siblings are trying to out-ham each other.
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Emperor, Mace Windu and the Emperor (during the lightning-fest) and Luke and Vader during The Reveal.
Flash Gordon, especially the 1980s movie. Pick any scene with more than one character on screen. No exceptions.
Very interestingly averted in The Princess Bride. When Cary Elwes and Chris Sarandon finally meet, it looks like they're about to engage in ham-to-ham combat, but Elwes' character instead instantly defeats the prince with his classic To the Pain speech. The "Battle Of Wits" between Cary Elwes and Wallace Shawn, however, definitely qualifies.
YOU'D LIKE TO THINK THAT, WOULDN'T YOU?
Mary of Scotland: In the 1936 Katharine Hepburn and Fredric March film, the entire cast seems to be engaged in ham-to-ham combat, with the possible exception of John Carradine, who during filming once said to "Katherine of Arrogance," who had expressed a desire to play both Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I, "If you did that, how would you know which queen to upstage?"
Batman Begins makes this a plot point; Ducard teaches Bruce Wayne that theatricality can be a powerful weapon, and Bruce Wayne, the character, starts Chewing the Scenery to intimidate criminals. He ends up facing Dr. Jonathan Crane, who dresses up as Scarecrow and uses similar tactics. The Dark Knight follows the same concept; Bale vs. Ledger is going on, but Batman vs. Joker is ham to ham combat in the story.
And then there's Batman vs. Bane, whose nature is also rather hammy.
In the film version of Arsenic and Old Lace, director Frank Capra told Cary Grant and Raymond Massey to go wild on camera. The result is Grant playing the dashing yet hapless hero Mortimer to the scenery-chewing maximum, while Raymond Massey plays his psychotic older brother Jonathan in reverent homage to Boris Karloff whom his character is supposed to resemble.
Twisted in on itself when Men In Black 3 uses time travel to have Jemaine Clement's character trying to out ham his younger self.
The famous darts scene in Son of Frankenstein. You might as well replace Basil Rathbone and Lionel Atwill's dialogue with "See here, I'm about to out-act you!" "Oh really? Well, I say I'M about to out-act YOU!"
This scene parodied in Young Frankenstein, that is, if it's possible to parody something by doing basically the exact same thing.
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.
The first meeting between Gustav Adolph and Mike Stearns in 1632 is described as a lion (Gustav) fighting a tiger (Mike).
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.
In "The Christmas Invasion", the Tenth Doctor argues with the Sycorax leader.
Sycorax: I DEMAND TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE! The Doctor: I! DON'T! KNOW!!
Whenever the Tenth Doctor and Donna get into a ham-off, it's epic. And Catherine Tate's very first appearance as Donna Noble had her up against the Racnoss Empress, truly one of the largest hams the series has ever seen.
Tate as Donna Noble also has another special distinction: In "Partners in Crime," thanks to a sheet of soundproof glass, she and David Tennant had, what might be, one of the first silent examples of Ham-to-Ham Combat.
"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.
Even "The Next Doctor", while not a true multi-Doctor story, has David Morrissey out-hamming Tennant.
"The Day of the Doctor" has Tennant's Ten, Matt Smith's Eleven, and John Hurt's Eight-and-a-Half hamming it up together.
"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 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. (Not in the least because they're all voiced by magnificent ham Nicholas Briggs).
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.
River Song is an incredible ham when she's very young, and Alex Kingston has a lot of fun overacting when her character gets to meet the Doctor for the first time (from her perspective). Eleven decides to accessorise with an impeccable top hat and tails tuxedo for the occasion while wildly gesticulating with a cane. It's glorious.
"The Crimson Horror." In one corner, Matt Smith as the Doctor. In the other, Dame Diana Rigg as the Ax-Crazy old crone Mrs. Gillyflower. The winner: Everybody.
"Nightmare in Silver" has Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor compete against an even hammier Matt Smith as the Cyber Controller, and it is glorious.
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 Mash. 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.
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 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.
In a similar vein, Colbert squared up with Papa BearO'Reilly on an episode of the O'Reilly Factor. It was Colbert with his energetic antics versus O'Reilly and his legendary Snark. The battle was truly legendary.
Kirk: "Beamed your crew down to the fourth planet? But there is no fourth planet!"
Decker: "Don't you think I know that? Don't you think I know that?! THERE WAS! BUT NOT ANYMORE!!"
The TOS episode Whom Gods Destroy featured a veritable clash of the titans between Shatner and Steve Ihnat. When Inhat's character disguises himself as Kirk (and is thus played by Shatner) it's a miracle that the universe didn't collapse in on itself.
Then there was the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Rules of Engagement". In the red corner: Avery Brooks as Ben Sisko, one of the few Starfleet captains who could give Kirk a run for his money. In the blue corner, Ron Canada as targ-acting Klingon Amoral Attorney Ch'pok. Given that the judge was a Vulcan, and thus unlikely to be swayed by mere volume, presumably they were trying to intimidate each other.
In the finale of each episode of Ru Pauls Drag Race, the two worst contestants are forced into a "Lip Synch for your LIFE!" dance-off.
In the second episode of Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza, Jeff Davis and Chip Esten get into one of these while singing that little-known jazz ballad "Dust Storm". Near the end, Jeff puts his hand over Chip's mouth, then Chip grabs Jeff's microphone and sings the last line into two mics at once.
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.
Depending on whom you ask, Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman's Spirituals in Concert & Mythodea concerts were either the most sublime music of their genre (especially the latter) or a massive friendly showdown of two divas trying to outham each other (especially the former).
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.
This is part of why the rivalry between The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was so fun to watch (the other was that the men were good friends in real life and relished the opportunity to give the other a good-natured ribbing).
Just about any time The Rock and Mick Foley were together could be described as this. Whether they were feuding, or teaming up as 'The Rock N Sock Connection', they always seemed to be trying to outdo one another in hamminess.
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-operaDer 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 & 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 note not the musical 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.
Les Misérables: Any scene between Valjean and Javert. Notable on the original cast album with Colm Wilkinson and Roger Allam , taken to extremes with Alfie Boe and Norm Lewis in the 25th Concert.
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?"
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.
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.
Especially apparent in the Disorder campaign of Winter Assault. Watching the Ork Warboss and Chaos Champion talk to each other is...impressive. .
Tiberium Twilight gives it a good showing between Joseph Kucan and Iona Morris.
Tiberian Dawn averts this for the vast majority of the game... but not through a lack of ham from the actors (most of the recurring ones ham up at one point or another). There just aren't all that many scenes with more than one actor.
Almost all dialogue in the God of War games defaults to this. It was ancient Greece, they hadn't invented indoor voices yet.
Shadow vs Mephiles in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Mephiles spends his sweet time chewing the scenery while Shadow tries to shut him up. In Shadow's self-titled game, it's basically him vs. Black Doom vs. Dr. Eggman. Oddly enough, Shadow's fairly low-key in Sonic Adventure 2, his debut game.
Air Force Delta Strike: The combat flight sim has the "Stand By" missions and the largest aerial ham to ham combat ever produced in a videogame.
"WHERE'S YER DRIVE, GAWD-DAMMIT?!"
The Witcher: Though Geralt of Rivia tends to play low-key, the banter between him and Azar reaches a crescendo with the climax of their battle.
Dantes Inferno: Dante is rather hammy by himself, but it's only when he faces Old Nick that they both crank it up to sufficiently scenery-chewing intensity.
Vaida: There you are, you bald old fossil. Still smarting from our competition? Wallace: Bald old fossil!? You spitting cobra! Are you trying to make me share in your bitterness at being so soundly defeated the other day? Vaida: Spitting cobra? I rather like that! But victory was mine the other day... So now which one of us is bitter? Wallace: You talk madness, woman! By that reckoning do you believe I lost to your pathetic display? Surely we are not talking about the same battle! I was perfection unleashed... Those lance thrusts were blindingly fast, intoxicating in their sublime form! Vaida: Wishful thinking, teapot! You were no prize on the battlefield! I saw you poke each unit one by one with your little needle... The whole thing took ages! Wallace: Well, all I saw was a big lump of grey flesh flitting about in the sky and belching on occasion! And your wyvern wasn’t much better! Vaida: ...Well, obviously, we have not settled our score at all!
First take Jack, whose natural hammy theatrics are Turned Up to Eleven when in Musical Assassin mode then pit him in dance fights with huge song and dance sequences - complete with backup dancers (No, really, you can actually sing and dance most the bosses into submission Broadway style) - against the following:
Oogie Boogie, who is voiced by Ken Page, who has voiced some of the hammiest musical characters in in the last 30 years.
Killzone 3 casts Malcolm McDowell and Ray Winstone as Chairman Stahl and Admiral Orlock, the top rivals for leadership of the Helghast. They chew much scenery during committee meetings, and eventually go to the logical extreme of literal combat while still spitting scenery at each other.
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 literallystart knocking down the scenery.
Dragon Ball Abridged. The latest thus far is Goku vs Frieza. The latter loses his cool the more Goku demonstrates his stupidity by being oblivious of Frieza's insults and making random shouts at each other. Frieza finally snaps and goes all Large Ham and so does Goku upon becoming Super Saiyan.
Recoome spends his sweet time boasting and yelling in his fight with Vegeta, who in turn tried to shut him up, right after they had a theme song introduction.
Ginyu vs Goku. Impressive considering the fight was only seen for a few seconds. Ginyu compliments Goku's skill in battle whereas Goku comments on his skin color (purple).
And again in The Langoliers, when the very hammy villain gets into an argument with a hallucination of his equally hammy father; the Critic decided to give them points based on how far their mouths opened while screaming.
The ham continues and escalates in To Boldly Flee as we get scenes with General Zod (played by Doug Walker) and Terl (played by Noah Antwiler). It is pure, unfiltered pork.
Apparently it's some kind of employment requirement (along with being freakinggorgeous) for Channel Awesome to be able to ham it up when necessary. And sometimes when it's not, too.
Lindsay, Elisa and Nella go all out with each other in the Dark Nella Saga. Nella just about wins through Evil Is Hammy, but the other women put up a surprisingly good fight.
Speaking of World War II: 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.