Follow TV Tropes


Cold Ham

Go To

"So Johnny finally throws the bitch out as he throws the most over-the-top and yet somehow nonchalant temper tantrum."
The Nostalgia Critic on Tommy Wiseau in The Room

Not all Large Hams have to bellow at the top of their lungs to make their hamminess clear. Enter the Cold Ham, who manages to be both a Large Ham and The Stoic.

These types of characters are quiet, reserved, and may speak in a monotone voice, but they still manage to pull off magnificent feats of overacting. Perhaps they swing between the two modes, at one moment being quiet and the next being outrageous. More commonly, this trope comes about when a character delivers their dialogue in a calm voice while the actual words they speak are typical hammy fare. Dramatic hand gestures and flowery dialogue can help sell the effect.

In some negative cases this can come about because of bad acting, with the actor attempting to overact but clearly they're just pretending.

Compare Mood-Swinger. See also Dramatic Deadpan, Dull Surprise, Tranquil Fury.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kaoru Seta from BanG Dream! often makes grandiose gestures and her speech is always structured as if she was on the theater stage, all while rarely raising her voice. In a cutscene introducing her as Kokoro tries to recruit her into a new band, Kaoru could've simply said "sure, I can join your band," but she decides to go above and beyond:
    Kaoru: (in a CG where roses line the background while she gets on one knee and reaches a hand out) As the great bard once said, actions speak louder than words... I have been approached by many a scout in my time, but you, my princess... Fufu. You are a strong one.
  • Cells at Work!: Basophil cell speaks in a bombastic and poetic way, but never raises his voice, even when outside organisms are attacking the body.
  • Vicious from Cowboy Bebop. He never raises his voice yet manages to chew the scenery with the best of them.
  • Adam Smasher from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. He's not as loud and vitriolic as his game counterpart, but he's no less short of bloodthirsty boasts.
  • Lucemon from Digimon Frontier. While his speech is rather subdued, what he says is very dramatic. It only serves to emphasize his lack of empathy and self-importance.
  • Seth from the anime of Dinosaur King embodies this, remaining quite stoic in both voice and facial expressions through whatever scene he's in, certainly compared to the other incredibly zany members of the Alpha Gang. And yet he manages to draw every eye with his presence, helped, no doubt, by his brooding and foreboding Leitmotif that plays whenever he appears. Even after he betrays the rest of the Alpha Gang, he maintains his calm demeanour...well, at least until he accomplishes his goal of creating a powerful, mutant dinosaur. Then he transitions into one of the most over-the-top piping hot hams EVER seen...
    Seth: EH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I've done it! I've created my black T.rex! Hahahahaha...EH-HAHAHAHA!!! EH-HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
  • Most of the time, Goku Black from Dragon Ball Super has a calm and soft voice and speech patterns, while at the same time carrying a lot of weight, like his entire monologue after transforming into Super Saiyan Rosé is all about how beautiful he has become and how he's at a realm that no mortal can reach, all without him raising his voice much. He also declares to Future Zamasu that he will kill Goku, all with only a slight vocal change. Earlier, when he tells Future Trunks why he's killing humans, he did it with a huge slasher grin and wide-eyed with madness, and his voice didn't raise in volume.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure villains tend to be extremely controlled and stoic, but right below the surface is a truckload of hamminess and eccentricity. DIO in particular tends to be extremely nonchalant over spectacular displays of villainy. On the hero side, Jotaro Kujo's extreme stoic brooding and no-nonsense attitude comes off as theatrical and over the top, whether it's a Dramatic Deadpan or The Comically Serious.
  • Nagato Yuki from Haruhi Suzumiya is usually The Quiet One. But when she plays the Evil Witch in the SOS Brigade's amateur film, she delivers her very hammy lines in a dull monotone.
  • Fumikage Tokoyami from My Hero Academia is a reserved, serious young man who looks like a bird, who manipulates shadows, and says the most serious, dramatic things about considerably less serious situations.
    Fumikage: Revelry in the dark.
    Ochaco: Why does he keep saying that?
  • Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, especially with her tendency to appear out of nowhere. Everything she says is as melodramatic as it is deadpan, except in occasional cases of Not So Stoic. By the time The Rebellion Story movies hit, however, Homura goes the Love Makes You Evil way and from then on she embraces her once-restrained inner ham.
  • Death Gun/Sterben from Sword Art Online. He never raises his voice above a creepy Machine Monotone but, he loves to bring on the Badass Boast and remind the heroes that he holds all the cards.
    • Akihiko Kayaba. Be it as himself or his avatar as Heathcliff, he never raises his voice in any of his personas above normal speaking volume, even in battle, the sheer coldness of the gentlemanly malice dripping from his every word can practically freeze lava solid.
  • Seto Kaiba from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series. He's usually stoic with a near-perpetual frown or smirk. When he gets fired up though, he really gets fired up.
    • In a similar vein, Yami Bakura in the 4Kids dub, as well as the first season of the original Japanese run when he was voiced by the late You Inoue, who's generally an unflappable Soft-Spoken Sadist but will eagerly go from a Cold Ham to a Large Ham when he gets the opportunity.
  • Zane from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is even more stoic than Kaiba, rarely ever smiles more than a brief smirk, and doesn't have to be fired up to make a lasting impression.
  • Reiji Akaba from Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. Reiji is eternally calm and collected, but when he duels, especially when he summons his D/D/D monsters, his facial expressions and shouts are as hammy as anyone else.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men:
    • Whenever Magneto isn't being a Large Ham, he usually defaults to this - same dramatic dialogue, just more understated.
    • Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man starts out as a textbook Large Ham (unsurprising, given that he was raised by guerrilla fighters who disguised themselves as a travelling troupe of Shakespearean actors), but eventually evolves into this. One more recent quote, when facing one of the most powerful teams of X-Men of modern times: "You will break against me like waves against a stone." They do. Oh, and he's dressed like a stereotypical second coming, outright states that he IS the second coming (though that was part of a gambit to get everyone's attention).
  • While Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is well known as a classic Large Ham, his reboot/Alternate Universe counterpart from Boom Studios comics has cooled his hamminess down quite a bit. He's every bit as snarky, cynical, and overly-dramatic as always, but he's a lot calmer and with more self-control. His big moments of drama are if possible even more over-the-top than before, but he does them in a much more stoic fashion.
    • To illustrate the difference: When the Spike of the TV show tried to commit suicide, he was in tears all the while and tried to fall on a stake. When the Spike of the comics tries to commit suicide, he calmly spouts some dramatic dialogue and flings himself off a tall building, finishing his melodramatic tirade with "Let's see if I can hit that Benz."

    Fan Works 
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls:
    • Starlight Glimmer is Older and Wiser than her pony counterpart and sees herself as above villain cliches acting detached and casual, but her inability to not monologue about something, long-winded manner of speech, Dramatic Deadpan one-liners, megalomania, and dressing like a Tetsuya Nomura villain complete with Too Many Belts makes her just as hammy in spite of that.
    • Captain Platinum puts on the facade of a cool-headed and icy mask fit for a noble and her element but is ultimately driven by a fiery passion hidden under her stoic demeanor making her tremendously dramatic in whatever she does. When she undergoes a Villainous Breakdown she becomes a full-on Large Ham.
  • The Good Hunter from The Night Unfurls. He's not into theatrics, yet his voice is occasionally described as filled with conviction and menace.
  • Bellatrix in Holly Potter and the Witching World. She's no less of a sadistic psychopath than her canon counterpart and just as fond of dramatic moments, but she's notably colder, calmer, and more calculating.
  • Rise of the Minisukas: After being pranked by one of the Minisukas, Rei becomes obsessed with getting even, constantly expressing her desire for revenge in a very ominous, creepy way. Nonetheless, her obsession and talking about it at length has not made her raise her voice at all.
    ""Very well. I have no ill will towards you. But to the one who transgressed against me, you will relay a message." Rei did not wait for a confirmation before continuing. "Tell the one who transgressed against me that I, Rei Ayanami, will not take this act of disrespect lying down. I will enact upon them a vengeance so grand, so sublime, that future generations of mankind will write epics about my victory. Plays will be written about my conquest over your compatriot, sonnets depicting my revenge will be distributed to schoolchildren to teach them of the folly of men perpetrated by the one who wronged me. And when my dread vengeance is brought to fruition, when this Prankster who had defaced me lies broken and defeated at my feet, I will say nothing. As nothing needs to be said to mere dust" Rei pauses to take a drink of water, her vocal cords are quite out of practice for such lengthy use. "Could you tell her that, please?" She almost forgot to add please, she was always instructed to be polite when possible.

    Films — Animated 
  • Judge Claude Frollo fromThe Hunchbackof Notre Dame Disney. He has moments of this, such as when he rants to Phoebus about the dangers of the Roma and how they must be stopped, or when he propositions Esmeralda when she's about to burn at the stake. But, it usually is done in a dour, subdued tone most of the time, except when he doesn't.
    Frollo: The time has come, gypsy. You stand upon the brink of the abyss. Yet even now it is not too late. I can save you from the flames of this world, and the next. Choose me... or the fire.
  • Tempest Shadow from My Little Pony: The Movie (2017). She doesn't raise her voice often, but she manages to be over-the-top and threatening while speaking in hushed, stoic tones. Typically, when she's really about to turn up the ham, she'll sport a Slasher Smile.
  • Ratatouille: Ego spends almost the entirety of the movie being dour and quiet. Despite this, both his body language and speech have a distinct dramatic flair to them.
  • Pitch Black of Rise of the Guardians swings between unabashed scenery-chewing and this. The way his voice echoes everywhere he goes and his sense of presentation let him out-ham everyone even if he blends in with the shadows.
  • The Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is this, especially compared to later Disney Animated Canon villains with similar power and status (Maleficent, Ursula, etc.). She has a smooth, composed voice and carries herself with haughty dignity. This makes her transformation into the Old Peddler Woman, a Large Ham Wicked Witch who embodies her inner hideousness, that much more dramatic.
  • Nicolas Cage voicing Spider-Man Noir in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The character engages in Emotion Suppression and neither varies his voice much nor takes off his mask, but he still gets a lot of overdramatic lines.
    Noir: (explaining his Dramatic Wind) Wherever I go, the wind follows... and the wind? It smells like rain.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • For Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Klaus Kinski would have played the title character as a screeching lunatic. Director Werner Herzog wanted a Tranquil Fury performance instead, and got it by provoking Kinski to bursts of rage prior to filming, tiring him out. The result is Aguirre quietly snarling with a manic stare through most of the film.
  • Angel Heart: Robert De Niro is obviously having a wonderful time with the role. He remains quite soft-spoken and calm throughout the film, but his enjoyment is just streaming from his body language to the point where any moment you expect him to giggle. When Harry talks about Toots' messy Groin Attack in blunt terms. Louis chastises him for using such language in a church, but he's obviously enjoying the sacrilege.
  • Ultron from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ultron has a penchant for delivering incredibly bombastic lines in a Creepy Monotone. Best shown here:
    Ultron: Do you see the beauty of it? The inevitability? You rise, only to fall. You, Avengers… you are my meteor, my swift and terrible sword, and the Earth will crack with the weight of your failure. Purge me from your computers, turn my own flesh against me - it means nothing! When the dust settles, the only thing living in this world... will be metal.
  • Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. While there are moments that he lets a bit loose (such as when he threatens Ronan), overall, he is rather quiet and composed, even when delivering normally bombastic lines.
  • Ma-Ma from Dredd. She seems too tired and strung out to raise her voice. Yet manages to chew the scenery in a Soft-Spoken Sadist manner.
  • Baron Vladimir Harkonnen from Dune (2021). Despite having a visibly larger-than-life presence due to being an Obviously Evil floating fat man, Vladimir carries with him a quiet, direct manner of speaking that contrasts with his more theatrical appearance.
  • Vincent Dooley in Extra Ordinary (2019) spoke in an odd, stilted manner that one would understandably think that he only talked like that when he was doing his show. But no, when he possesses Martin he starts speaking the exact same way.
  • Flash Gordon (1980): Max von Sydow's Ming the Merciless is the hammiest thing in a film that also stars BRIAN BLESSED and Topol, through sheer force of his smirking line delivery.
  • Steven Wright's bored-out-of-his-brains DJ in Reservoir Dogs, as he engages in "hip" antics and colloquialisms like "pop bubblegum ditty" and "keep on...truckin'...."
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off has the professor played by Ben Stein. "Bueller...? Bueller...? Bueller...?"
  • Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. While Doom usually shows restraint, he still acts and talks in an overdramatic fashion. Reaches Fridge Brilliance when you find out he's a Toon and it's likely a sign of him failing to control his Evil Is Hammy impulses.
  • Michael Corleone in The Godfather movies mostly speaks in a low, even, serious tone, but every once in a while he gets mad. Starts to bleed over into regular Large Ham around the time of The Godfather, Part III.
  • Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films almost always talks in a calm, almost monotone voice, and yet his threats and angry outbursts (usually at Harry) are delivered in such a dramatic way. It works at making him extremely creepy. His body language, on the other hand, is so intensely theatrical the character basically has to be doing it on purpose in-universe.
    • Alan Rickman also did it in his debut as Hans Gruber in Die Hard. His Tranquil Fury demeanor always seems on the verge of angry shouting, and his dialogue is bombastically understated, behaving as if he had an audience to seduce with his culture and wit. That said, he hams it up during the scene where he pretends to be an office worker to dupe John McClane and a few of his scenes afterwards have Hans seizing the moment ('I read about them on Time magazine' or when he attempts an One-Liner Echo with McClane's catchphrase).
  • John Malkovich as King Galbatorix in Eragon is the embodiment of this trope, speaking his lines in a wooden monotone while at the same time ridiculously overemphasizing. Every. Word. He. Speaks.
  • In The Room, Tommy Wiseau manages to overreact and underreact simultaneously. It's especially noticeable when he's trashing his house, throwing things around, and screaming in pain while still putting no emotion into the actual dialogue.
  • In the 1993 movie by Mike Binder, Indian Summer, Sam Raimi is this. There is a large scene of him doing nothing but sitting and watching a moose. When the moose finally goes away, so does Raimi, but magically everything in the forest seems to be chewed as he goes...
  • Star Wars:
    • Before the reveal of Sidious's identity, he delivers his messages to the Trade Federation/Separatists in an impassive, chilled, yet dramatic manner, keeping things foreboding until his victory in Revenge lets him be open with cackling and villainy.
      • The Riseof Skywalker has him largely act this way when speaking to Ben Solo and Rey (with a a bit of the Voiceofthe Legion thrown in, unlike in his appearances in the previous two trilogies outside of a few moments in Revenge of the Sith), but he amps up the hammishness to Revenge of the Sith levels when directly addressing his legions of cultists.
    • When Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith, Hayden Christensen maintains his stilted line delivery, but now delivers those lines in an over-the-top intimidating manner, often shouting at the top of his lungs.
    • Kylo Ren, on the other hand, could be as hammy as Vader given he even has the same get-up, but instead employs Anakin's intimidating delivery and only lets loose when throwing angry fits.
  • Balem in Jupiter Ascending (played by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne) mostly operates with this, punctuated with occasional Big Word Shouts and a Villainous Breakdown... with shouting.
  • Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems to be written for a hammier actor, but Dane DeHaan plays the role with more restraint than is strictly necessary. This changes when he becomes the Green Goblin, of course, because in any incarnation the Goblin is a textbook Large Ham.
  • Same thing with Norman Osborn in Spider-Man Trilogy, Willem Dafoe plays Norman as incredibly composed yet dramatic but as Green Goblin chews every bit of scenery he can get his hands on.
  • Damodar from the Dungeons & Dragons (2000) movie speaks and moves very stoically with long dramatic pauses in the middle of sentences, yet puts an emphasis on everything he does that just screams "ham". Quite a contrast to Profion's straightforward scenery chewing.
  • In the first two The Hunger Games films, President Snow was The Stoic, and generally spoke very calmly in his interactions with Katniss. When he speaks to Katniss in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, he is much more openly evil, with a continuous Psychotic Smirk that borders on Slasher Smile, and he is clearly letting himself enjoy toying with her. Despite this, though, his voice remains soft, and his courtesy remains constant.
  • Vincent Price usually served his ham steaming hot, but in The Abominable Dr. Phibes his face is nearly immobile due to it being a mask over his real burned face. And he's still hammy.
  • Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom in the Fantastic Four reboot becomes this after he's transformed by Planet Zero. Even with his attempt at Creepy Monotone, the line "There is no Victor, only Doom" is still dripping with ham.
  • Pinhead from the first two Hellraiser films. While he remains stone-faced and deadpan, he comes off as rather dramatic. It's much more subdued in the first film, where he simply states who he and the Cenobites are, what their purpose is, and what they plan to do. It takes the second and third films for Pinhead to really let loose with the hamminess, especially the church scene of the third film.
    • The Priest in Hellraiser2022. Jamie Clayton is subtle, but still clearly having the time of her life playing up the Priest's dramatic, subdued personality.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek Into Darkness mostly speaks in a Creepy Monotone, with rare outbursts of rage (along with the occasional mugging). Given the character is Khan, the opposite of how Ricardo Montalban's hammed the role for all it was worth.
  • Elizabeth Banks is enjoying herself profusely as Rita Repulsa in Power Rangers, but still fits the trope because unlike the original Rita, who had No Indoor Voice and was constantly shrieking, Banks at least tries to speak quietly when necessary to convey how the character is a scary villain now.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Man of Steel has Zod as a hot-and-cold running ham. His quiet lines put emphasis on specific words, giving them as much of a dramatic flair as his loud ones.
    • The Big Bad of Suicide Squad (2016) is Enchantress. The lines are overtly dramatic as expected from a villain, but not delivered with full force given Cara Delevigne's Dull Surprise.
    • Zack Snyder's Justice League: The film's version of Steppenwolf is much less boastful than his 2017 counterpart, while still talking with gravitas.
  • Anjelica Huston as Morticia in The Addams Family and its sequel - she's serene, calm, and the only thing that gets her to alter the pitch of her voice at all is Gomez. This does not stop her from being a tour de force that complements Raul Julia's significantly more exuberant performance perfectly. Witness in the opening of the sequel, where a simple "Oui" from her wrings out enough characterization to show her Too Kinky to Torture, Happily Married, and The Stoic all while keeping up with Gomez's frantic attention.
  • Agent Smith of The Matrix utilized this trope frequently; for many fans, it is no longer possible to read the words "Mister Anderson" without hearing the voice of Hugo Weaving.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Black Beard /Edward Teach from the fourth film. He manages to have great dramatic gravitas while being reserved, serving as a nice fusion of Large Ham villains Barbossa & Davy Jones and Soft-Spoken Sadist Big Bad Cutler Beckett.
    • The fifth movie has Javier Bardem as an undead pirate hunter. He's deep-voiced and intense in his hatred but never goes full ham.
    • Lord Cutler Beckett in the 2nd and 3rd films. Though he speaks in a subdued voice, the content of his words ooze with a brazenly, smug sliminess.
  • Pennywise in It (2017) - to explain how the Monster Clown is portrayed, Tim Curry in the 1990 adaptation focused on the second word with his Chewing the Scenery performance, but Bill Skarsgard certainly wants to be the former with a more contained and scarier performance (while still keeping the Black Comedy and overwrought speech one would expect from a clown that wants to scare children ).
  • Blade Runner 2049: Niander Wallace moves and speaks slowly, delivering lengthy monologues in a soft, dreamy voice.
  • In the John Wick films, Keanu Reeves' portrayal of the titular character rarely, if ever, has him raise his voice. However, nearly every line he delivers is filled with intense, quiet, and barely contained rage that only occasionally slips out.
  • Captain Ryan from Dog Soldiers. He raises his voice only twice in the film but comes off as a slimy and sinister villain nonetheless.
  • The Janitor from Willy's Wonderland. Nicolas Cage is just as insanely over-the-top as always, but manages to do so while also being a completely silent, stoic badass.
  • Christopher Plumber as the Emperor of the Galaxy in Starcrash never raises his voice and barely even expresses emotion. However, through a commanding presence and a mastery of the Dramatic Pause that would make Shatner blush, he steals every scene that he's in. He contrasts nicely with his enemy Count Zarth Arn, a more conventional ham.

  • Harry Potter
    • Snape is described as speaking in barely a whisper, but he nevertheless comes off as melodramatic.
    • McGonagall also qualifies. While she's usually calm and collected, she nevertheless finds numerous ways to be the center of attention, as shown by her obvious enjoyment of startling new students by suddenly transforming from a cat back into a human.
    • Incidentally, both professors are stated in the book as being able to hold the attention of a room full of students effortlessly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mr. World from American Gods (2017) possesses a Large Ham personality that is delivered chillingly through his stiff movements and the fact that he speaks only in whispers, the echo-effect his voice makes and his bombastic dialogue accentuating the over-the-topness of his personality.
  • Slade Wilson from Arrow. Were it anyone else, his dramatic proclamations of revenge against Oliver would come off as cheesy as hell. But, Slade is deadly enough to make all of them serious and terrifying.
  • Avon in Blake's 7 swings between this and Large Ham. Normally though he's the cold-blooded, snarky computer expert.
  • Captain Raymond Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine is normally very stoic and dignified (to the point of being Comically Serious), but his formal and serious way of expressing himself gives everything he says extra dramatic gravitas. And he does have, in his own words, a "flair for the dramatic."
  • The Replicator/ John Curtis from Criminal Minds. While cold, stoic, and reserved, it does nothing to mask his arrogance and sinister nature.
  • Sutekh the Destroyer, from the Doctor Who episode "Pyramids of Mars", manages to out-ham Tom Baker without ever raising his voice above a malevolent whisper.
    • When he's not being shouty, Davros can be this, breaking two Doctors without even raising his voice. Of course, when he raises his voice, he's a very Large Ham.
    • Like Davros, the Master can flip-flop between varieties of ham with alarming frequency. They are somehow even more hammy when they're being quiet, take Ainley in "Survival" or Sacha Dhawan's Masterly reveal on the airplane.
    • Zellin from "Can You Hear Me?" never raises his voice to the Doctor, but he still chews the scenery when he's on screen, having way too much fun torturing the Doctor quietly. Knowing he is a Physical God helps in that department.
  • Lucious Lyon from Empire. He's usually calm and stoic, but the very dramatic almost Soap Opera way he delivers his lines adds a certain gravitas to his character. Though, he will shout if the situation demands it.
  • The Flash (2014):
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Jaquen H'ghar speaks in a very theatrical, yet subdued manner. Combined with his very unusual speech pattern, this makes him stand out among other characters in the show.
    • Aeron Greyjoy tends to speak in a very cold and stable tone of voice, but his baritone voice combined with his resonating speeches about the drowned god make him a very over-the-top man.
  • Jeremiah Valeska from Gotham. Compared to his brother, his way of speaking is much more subdued, though no less dramatic. Getting averted in season 5, where he's beginning to edge into his brother's Large Ham territory.
  • Sylar from Heroes sometimes indulged himself in overacting ("MY NAME IS SYLAR!" and "I'm back" come to mind), but mostly went for a dramatic but understated delivery.
  • The Hexer: Gwidon/Falwick, in a great combination with Evil Is Hammy. He's calculating and scheming, while his delivery is always cool and seeped through clenched teeth - even when facing certain death.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • While in his Dark One form Mr Gold/Rumpelstiltskin acts like a normal Large Ham. In his human form, he's a lot more restrained, but his words have no less emphasis.
    • Jafar isn't as hammy as his Disney counterpart, but delivers highly dramatic lines in a normal voice, like sneaking into the room and saying "Defeat the Royal Vizier? That sounds like treason to me."
  • Both Helena and Rachel Duncan from Orphan Black. The two of them speak in a very subdued, yet theatrical manner. Helena usually combines sarcasm with loud animal noises and Rachel makes very extreme death threats with a complete poker face.
  • Alexander Sweet aka Dracula from Penny Dreadful. As the final Big Bad of the series, he balances a stoic and reserved demeanour with a dramatic gravitas.
  • Vypra from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue is the inept variety. She's obviously trying to overact but never manages to pull it off.
  • Warden Ackerman from Red Dwarf. He's quite dramatic, if calm when giving his intake speech to new prisoners.
  • The Serpent Queen has the titular queen (Catherine de' Medici). Particularly as an adult, when she's played by Samantha Morton, her voice rarely rises much above a whisper, and yet almost everyone is intimidated by her.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has the Borg, who speak in a dry monotone, even when informing you of your impending doom. Bonus point for speaking in a multitude of voices in perfect unison.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has Captain Sisko, who rarely raises his voice above a shut, but when angry he becomes hammy by being extremely terse and aggressive in tone at whatever is annoying him.
  • Gilbert from The Sandman (2022) is portrayed as a Quintessential British Gentleman who's always calm and polite, but very theatrical about it. Part of it comes from being played by Stephen Fry.
    • Dream/Morpheus, too. Tom Sturridge is constantly speaking in a way that is emotionless and whispy, yet manages to convey all of the dramatic gravitas and weight befitting of a being such as Dream's stature.
  • Henry Creel/Vecna from StrangerThings. As Vecna, he speaks in a low, raspy voice, even while giving nihilistic speeches, telling his victims all about how he's going to "end their suffering", and showing Nancy his apocalyptic plans for Hawkins.
  • Cat Grant from Supergirl (2015). She loves delivering her lines in a "theatrically subdued" manner. Unless she's calling someone, that is.
  • Alpha in The Walking Dead, the main antagonist of the show in season 9. Like Negan before her, she's a dramatic showman. Unlike Negan before her, she speaks in whispers and contains herself when she walks around.
  • Wednesday has Jenna Ortega as the title character Wednesday Addams, in the same vein as Christina Ricci in the 90s: an Emotionless Creepy Child who never changes her expression, yet is prone to speak with understated intensity, as well as dropping any restraints when forced to do public presentations.

  • Steve Strange from Visage turned this into an art-form; he managed to be pompous and melodramatic while having a monotone singing voice and almost never being photographed cracking a smile, the hamminess mostly coming from his...interesting fashion sense. Perhaps the best demonstration is the Visage music video, where he's campy as hell despite having a void expression on his face the entire time.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Undertaker would make dramatic pronouncements about burying his opponents and taking their souls in a deep monotone voice. For balance, he'd often have his manager Paul Bearer there to provide the regular sort of ham.
  • Eddie Dennis, with his soft voice, perpetual creepy grin, calm demeanour, and intense gazes might be the coldest ham in NXT UK's short history.


    Tabletop Game 
  • Elesh Norn in MagicTheGathering. She conveys magniloquence and fanatical belief through the typical Phyrexian coldness.

    Video Games 
  • Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII and related media plays at this in his various appearances, delivering dramatic taunts while keeping a controlled voice. For example, when performing his EX Burst in Dissidia Final Fantasy, his quote for the attack is "I bring you despair. Ruination to all," with him barely raising his voice.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Xemnas is a Trope Codifier, delivering sweeping hand gestures and dramatic speeches with a monotone voice. The reason is he's the Nobody of Xehanort, and thus while Xemnas has no heart he retains his original self's personality traits and memories; Xehanort was a typical Large Ham, so Xemnas emulates his past self's behaviors but without putting any emotion into them.
    • Marluxia and the Unknown are also prone to using flowery language without emoting much, if at all. Whereas the former is The Stoic due to also being a Nobody, beings who are purported to be unable to feel actual emotions and thus fake it, the latter's case is far more complicated: He is the time-displaced younger self of Xehanort's original incarnation, enlisted by his various alter-egos to traverse time and space in order to further their plans, which in turn set up a Stable Time Loop spanning to the present day wherein Xehanort is responsible for his own Start of Darkness. The rules of time travel state one cannot change events meant to happen, so Young Xehanort believes that, even if he did know the full extent of what he was getting himself into, he'd have no say in the matter. As such, and because he'll lose the memories of what he's witnessed upon returning to his time, this Xehanort has little reason to be invested in his mission, making him a surprisingly impersonal adversary to the heroes.
    • Master Xehanort himself is normally a textbook Large Ham when voiced by Leonard Nimoy in Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance and Christopher Lloyd in Kingdom Hearts III: Re𝄌Mind onwards. In contrast, when voiced by Rutger Hauer in Kingdom Hearts III, he sounds calmer and softer, yet still speaks in theatrical, eloquent monologues.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening features Arkham, who is notable for his frequent monologues, of which most are done in a calm, collected manner, with the exception of the reveal of his plan at the end of Mission 13.
    • Vergil is a badass swordsman who can talk just as much trash as his twin brother, all in a cool, calm tone that just oozes with pride. Some of his taunts are the most iconic in the franchise's history.
  • Baldur's Gate II: The villain Jon Irenicus delivers his dramatic lines (a good example of his diction is "Silence, dog. You have no purpose but to die by my hand") in a cold, flat voice. It's quite justified, as he's literally soulless.
  • In Mass Effect, Sovereign/Nazara indulges in this during The Reveal, every word dripping with icy, hammy contempt for the galaxy and its young civilizations. It's later shown to be a trait of all his kind.
    You cannot escape your doom. Your words are as empty as your future. I am the vanguard of your destruction. This exchange is over.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, Scarecrow's low-pitched monotone is quite slow and soft, yet his choice of words has all the over-the-topness you'd expect from a comic villain, emphasizing just how disturbing he has become:
    "Remnants of Gotham: I have messages for you all. To the vandals who stayed behind to pick the still-warm flesh from Gotham's bones: have your fun. You are under my protection. To the cowards quaking behind the police department's walls: you will not be spared. And to Batman: I have already won. Emptied your city with a vial of toxin and a few threatening words. That's how little the safety you provided was worth. And when the dawn comes, when Gotham lies in ruins and I turn my gaze to the world beyond, the legend of the Batman will be worth nothing at all."
  • Dawn of War, already a World of Ham, has the Chaos Sorcerer Sindri Myr go for this. Most of his lines are delivered in a slow, condescending whisper instead of the top-of-the-lungs screaming of most of Chaos, but he devours the scenery with his hamtastic dialogue, only occasionally raising his voice for emphasis.
    Do not die too easily. I want you to... suffer.
  • Dawn of War 2: Retribution has Spookums, an ork Kommando who is much more restrained than his comrades... and doesn't come across as any less hammier.
    Killin' other orks iz just so... pedestrian.
    It ain't like I can hides in da lava! Mork knows I ain't tryin' dat trick again!
  • Because of its infamously bad voice acting, everyone in the English translation of Shining Force III comes off this way, saying melodramatic battle quips as though they just got out of bed. The literally cold Noon is just one example:
    Now bear my arctic blast!
  • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • While most Nightkins are straight-up Large Ham, God in Dead Money speaks for the most part in a calm but dominating manner. This is best shown the first time you speak to him in the Police Station, giving you a long speech about the situation and what he is.
    • Ulysses, from Lonesome Road, delivers long, grandiloquent and florid speeches to you as you traverse The Divide, his voice is deep and throaty and dripping with contempt for you, yet he never raises his voice. Instead, when forced to discuss Old World technology or other topics he loathes, his voice becomes icier and betrays more certainty in his convictions.
  • In Azure Striker Gunvolt, the Big Bad of the sequel Zonda is revealed to be this, in stark contrast to their exuberant, flamboyant, and over-the-top personality in the first game. It turns out that she was simply hiding her true nature from even her superiors so she could enact her own plans and went so far as to fabricate a new personality and appearance (dubbed "Sumeragi" Zonda) to really sell her deception. "True" Zonda, in contrast, is almost eerily calm and serene, yet her words are just as theatrical and eloquent as she goes on speeches about love. Strangely, even after The Reveal they keep switching between Cold Ham and Large Ham depending on which form they're in, for seemingly no other reason than to get under Gunvolt and Copen's skins.
  • YHVH, i.e. God in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse isn't as shouty as his Shin Megami Tensei II incarnation, but manages to carry that air of malevolent tyranny with his elderly echoing voice. Though he straight up goes into loud hammy mode once he enters his second form.
    "So you've come. Poor, poor son of man, led astray by demonkind. I am YHVH. I am that I am. I am infinity. The Supreme Being. The embodiment of law and order. You disturb my realm, trample my design?"
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Darth Jadus is this, rather unusually by Sith Standards. He will, however, lose his cool during his Villainous Breakdown. Even then, he quickly composes himself.
  • Headmaster Hayden Montag of The Secret World speaks in an eerily serene monotone, rarely expresses any sort of emotion, and seems almost preternaturally calm in the face of the chaos descending upon Innsmouth Academy... and yet his choice of words and his propensity to wax rhapsodic on the macabre give the impression that he's somehow taking bigger bites out of the scenery than the local monsters.
  • Wesker in the Resident Evil games never raises his voice unless he is letting out an Evil Laugh and he never loses his cool. By Resident Evil 5, he's completely stoic and focused to the point where he completely ignores Excella's advances towards him. Once Wesker gets injected with a serum by Chris, that's when he starts raving and ranting head first into Large Ham while Chewing the Scenery.
  • Father Theodore of The Evil Within 2 is very intense, focused, and theatrical in his speech, but never raises his voice at all, not even after realizing, much to his horror, that his psychological manipulations won't work on Sebastian anymore.
  • Sonic Forces: Infinite, the Reality Warper sadist with a god complex speaks in a calm, gruff voice, yet still manages to come off as very cocky.
    Infinite: You may call me 'Infinite', for the brief moments that remain to you.
    • Shadow gets this as well, mostly in Sonic Adventure 2. He's usually either The Stoic or a Large Ham, but there are definitely more than a few moments where he's both.
      Shadow: (talking to no one) It all starts with this... (brandishes Chaos Emerald over his head) A jewel containing the ultimate power!
  • Far Cry 5 has one of its secondary villains: Jacob Seed, as one. He barely speaks above a whisper, but every sentence is full of his grand The Social Darwinist philosophy.
  • Far Cry 3 has Bambi "Buck" Hughes, an Australian soldier turned mercenary who operates out of the Rook Islands. Buck, despite sharing the game with Ax-Crazy Mood-Swinger Vaas Montenegro and raspy-voiced Suddenly Shouting Bad Boss Hoyt Volker, doesn't raise his voice for the most part, but his habit of delivering Exposition-filled monologues, being foul-mouthed, Faux Affably Evil, and having a stereotypical broad, crass Aussie accent makes him come across as equally over-the-top.
  • Ull, the chieftain of the Udam tribe in Far Cry Primal, delivers most of his dialogue in a low, raspy growl whenever he meets and fights Takkar the Player Character, but being a massive ugly caveman leader, he more than carries his weight in conversations. Bonus points for living in a freezing mountain cave and therefore being "Cold" in that respect, too.
  • Most awakening scenes in Persona 5 are triggered by extreme anger, with a generous helping of shouting and a painful scream as the new party member bloodily rips off their mask. Yusuke, on the other hand, rips his mask off with a flourish and opts for flowery lines delivered in Tranquil Fury.
    Yusuke: A breathtaking sight. Imitations they may be, but together they make a fine spectacle. Though the flowers of evil blossom, be it known: abominations are fated to perish!
  • World of Warcraft: C'thun is much more subdued and brief in his speech patterns than his fellow Old Gods, but his simple statement of "You. Will. Die." carries just as much power as any outburst from Yogg-Saron. Y'shaarj is quiet and hammy as well, but not to the same extent as C'thun.
  • Ulfric Stormcloak from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim rarely raises his voice and even when giving a speech he sounds distant and subdued compared to Tullius (who is a standard Large Ham). Justified because of his Thu'um and training - the Greybeards he learned under cannot even say anything without causing their monastery to shake at its very foundations.
  • The leader of the Imperial Liberation Front, a man known as "C", in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel delivers chilling but really hammy lines especially when people are listening to him. Sara ends up lampshading how he sounds like a guy who loves doing middle school theatrics. Which makes it even more hilarious when his true identity is revealed to be the slacker of Class VII, Crow Armbrust.
  • Bi-Han/Noob Saibot is portrayed like this in Mortal Kombat 11. He delivers flowery threats and speeches but never raises his voice. And since his voice is a mixture of Creepy Monotone, Guttural Growler, and Evil Sounds Raspy, he doesn't need to.
  • In Hades, it's pretty common for the Cthonic gods. Of them, Thanatos is the most prominent. He never raises his voice and seems to be trying to cultivate a cool, professional, and aloof demeanor, but his passionate emotions cannot help but shine through as he fires off hammy one-liners. It gets especially bad when his Emotionally Tongue-Tied, tsundere side comes out.
  • Durandal from Marathon has no voice or digital avatar, and communicates with you entirely through text and pictures. Through a combination of bombastic word choice and bottomless snark he is still quite capable of ranting about his personal philosophy, expounding dramatically about the weapons at his disposal, and conveying triumphant satisfaction at the destruction of his enemies.

    Visual Novels 
  • Saul from Daughter for Dessert speaks in a manner that is at one polite and patronizing, full of large words and grand declarations.
  • Ace Attorney: Whoever isn't just a straight-up Large Ham is probably one of these. It's that kind of series.
    • Godot maintains a calm and suave courtroom demeanor, but he also likes making incomprehensible coffee metaphors in the middle of court and will occasionally throw his coffee mugs at the defense when angered.
    • Nahyuta Sadhmadhi maintains his polite monkly demeanor while telling the defense exactly which highly specific hell they'll be going to for daring to oppose him. He'll also occasionally throw his prayer beads at people.
    • In ''The Great Ace Attorney, Barok van Zieks's courtroom demeanor is a comical combination of gentlemanly, calmly delivered sarcasm and outlandish physical displays of anger through Percussive Therapy, usually at the same time.
      Barok: Pray, forgive the discourtesy of flinging a freshly uncorked bottle into the public gallery, but your words have soured its hallowed bouquet.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: Jasmine shows signs of this. She has a bit of a braggy and sassy side to her, yet somehow keeps an almost stoic tone the entire time. For example, in her fight with Ahjeen in 'An Unofficial Tournament'.
    Jasmine: More of that and you'll freeze and kill me.
    Ahjeen: No, I won't kill you, but I can't guarantee the first part!
    (Ahjeen freezes Jasmine in her own twister, and after a moment, slashes of wind shatter the twister)
    Jasmine: I can guarantee the first part for you.

    Web Video 
  • Davie504 is very stoic and has a monotone delivery of just about every line, but the reverb really hams it up.
  • Epic Rap Battles of History:
    • Stephen Hawking somehow manages to be an imposing rapper despite being entirely paralyzed and speaking in a Machine Monotone.
    • The Master Chief is, true to the original material, calm and collected, especially in comparison to his opponent Leonidas. He can still bring the drama.
    • J. Robert Oppenheimer rarely raises his voice above an exhausted monotone, but his My God, What Have I Done? attitude with an accompanying Thousand-Yard Stare gives him a rap presence that outshines Thanos.
  • French Baguette Intelligence: Harry manages to come across as quite dramatic in his speech, despite serving as The Spock and rarely writing in caps.
  • World War II: Host Indy Neidell's usual style of presenting is reserved, as befits the subject of a documentary about the war, but sharply and clearly enunciated, almost like a sober, yet enthusiastic news broadcast. The Talking Heads segments of Indy at his desk are punctuated by flourishes and gesticulation. It might have developed from his background in advertising and performing as a musician.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Mr. Freeze speaks in a Creepy Monotone, but his lack of inflection doesn't make his monologues any less grandiose.
    I failed you. I wish there was another way I could say it. I cannot... I can only beg your forgiveness, and pray you hear me somehow... someplace... someplace where a warm hand waits for mine...
  • In both Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League we have Darkseid, who rarely ever raises his voice, and even then only barely. His words are grandiose and fit for much more bombastic villains, but he never speaks above an even tone dripping with caustic amounts of contempt for whoever's listening.
    Darkseid: Only the slimmest of chances has allowed me to overcome my death at the hands of Superman. But let the universe howl in despair, for I have returned.
  • King Sombra in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a No-Nonsense Nemesis and The Silent Bob — unlike the prior, Large Ham villains — but his Red and Black and Evil All Over motif, constant Slasher Smile, dragon-like roars, and deep Evil Laugh still give him some flair. His return in the final season has him enter the classic Large Ham territory, gloating and all.
  • Aku of Samurai Jack is well known for being boisterous and deceptively goofy, but was actually quite reserved and serious in the early episodes, as well as the Origins Episode two seasons later. Correspondingly, Aku's speech (especially in his introductory monologue) was rather subdued, but still had a constant severity.
  • Garnet in Steven Universe speaks calmly and infrequently, but keeps the same tone of voice while delivering dramatic declarations. In her Establishing Character Moment, Garnet delivers both a Blunt "Yes" and monologue on channeling the power of the universe through you (accompanied by an image montage and Ass Kicking Pose) while speaking identically both time. And when Garnet fuses, her dance moves are also quite flamboyant.
  • Both Optimus Prime and Megatron from Transformers: Prime are among the calmer and more stoic members of their teams while being dramatic during the series' intense moments.
    • Megatron in Beast Machines. By the time of the series, he's still as dramatic as he was before, but more sedate and mechanical.
  • The Lich from Adventure Time, on the rare occasions he gives a speech, is the coldest of ham. Ron Perlman does an incredible job of it.
    The Lich: Fall. [Jake and Finn collapse at that one word] You are alone, child. There is only darkness for you, and only death for your people. These ancients are just the beginning. I will command a great and terrible army, and we will sail to a billion worlds. We will sail until every light has been extinguished. You are strong, child, but I am beyond strength. I am the end, and I have come for you, Finn.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes reimagined Doctor Doom as this, as opposed to his traditional Large Ham self. He still retains his ego and arrogance, but he's also a lot calmer about it.
  • Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender is rather subdued throughout most of the series, his voice rarely rising above a harsh whisper. When Sozin's Comet arrives in the series finale and supercharges his Firebending, he quickly becomes Drunk on the Dark Side and throws off all restraint.
  • Devious Diesel, the main antagonist in Thomas & Friends was this in the early episodes. Ringo Starr's voiceover made him very sly, but he owns every scene he is in. He's more of a Large Ham in later seasons, but Ringo made his soft-spoken villainy work.
  • Horde Prime from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. As understated and faux-polite as he is, Prime loves hearing the sound of his own voice.
  • Contrasting his nutty sister, Megabyte from Reboot utterly adores to chew the scenery and has an utter God Complex but talks in a low, calm tone. His final speech in the series before it was Cut Short is one of the calmest "I'm gonna kill you all for a giggle" speeches in television history.
    Megabyte: Attention. As you are no doubt aware, the Principle Office is now under my complete control. You're probably looking forward to one of my erudite speeches about me, Megaframe, the new viral dawn, et cetera et cetera. But I'm afraid I'm going to have to disappoint you. There is no grand scheme here. This is about revenge. Viruses are predatory by design. And it is time for me to follow my function. Prepare yourselves... for the hunt!
  • Canaletto from Ōban Star-Racers. He has quite a flowery vocabulary, yet mostly speaks in a calm, almost gentle tone. When he does lose his temper, it's a sign things are about to get bad. Really bad.
  • Obake/Bob Aken from Big Hero 6: The Series. He can be rather bombastic, but still in a quiet tone of voice.
  • Grand Admiral Thrawn from Star Wars Rebels. Constantly calm and down-to-earth, yet dramatic and eloquent at the same time. Even during a Not So Stoic moment, he visibly tries to restrain himself as much as possible.
  • Emperor Belos from The Owl House has a soft, slightly raspy voice which he never raises, and depending on the situation, he sounds more like a kind grandfatherly figure than anything else. He is, however, incredibly cruel towards enemies and underlings alike, and visibly enjoys using long, eloquent speeches to emotionally abuse those he has power over. After losing everything at the end of season 2 and being driven to desperation, he starts to raise his voice once he feels he's starting to lose control of the situation, becoming a full Large Ham by the finale of season 3.

    Real Life 


Mr. World

Mr World's introductory scene

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / ColdHam

Media sources: