The cabaret duo of Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman have been performing together as Kiki and Herb since the early ’90s. Now, after a far too long hiatus, they’re back with a short holiday tour. Do You Hear What We Hear hits the Kimmel Cultural Campus on December 5th and this hilarious, over-the-top show will certainly be the most fun you’ll have all holiday season.
If you aren’t familiar with the iconic duo, Kiki and Herb have a pretty long list of praise and accolades (including a Tony Award nomination for their 2007 show Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway), they have performed and toured with The Scissor Sisters and Rufus Wainwright, and released albums featuring Deborah Harry, Isaac Mizrahi, Molly Ringwald,
and Wainwright- to name a few! Come meet the washed-up, boozed-up Kiki and her piano playing bestie, Herb, at a Christmas show for people who don’t always fit in! Read more about them and next week’s show in the Q&A below.
Their last holiday show together before this year’s tour was in 2007. In 2008, they performed for Perez Hilton’s 30th birthday and that was it until a short 2016 run at the iconic Joe’s Pub in NYC. Now, six years later, this brief 2022 reunion might be the only chance you get, so cancel your plans and head to Perelman Theatre this Monday.
Q: Quick! Who are Kiki and Herb? How would you describe the duo to a stranger in three sentences or less?
Vivian: Kiki and Herb have been performing together since they were abandoned children in an orphanage during the Great Depression. In their minds they have always been BIG STARS and the do their best to stay “relevant” by performing material that “the kids” are into, and sharing their unique perspective on history and politics.
Kenny: Two aging show business survivors who never quite made it, but cling to each other.
Q: The two of you have been performing together for a long, long time. Where and how did it all begin?
Kenny: A friend of ours introduced us in the early ’90s in San Francisco. We started playing around San Francisco as ourselves, and then Vivian created Kiki and eventually Kiki and Herb were born.
Q: What are some of the Christmas classics you’ll be belting out at the show? How do your versions stand out from all those others?
Vivian: As long as it’s got a seasonal reference it’s a potential K&H Christmas song. How does Tori Amos’ “Crucify” fit in? Come to the show and find out!
Kenny: Well, we have a very different view as to what a standard is, but there are some actual Christmas classics peppered in such as “Frosty The Snowman” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”.
Q: You just re-released your “out of print” Do You Hear What We Hear on Bandcamp. Which song was your favorite to record?
Vivian: The “Jazz” improv was my favorite because we were just trying to crack each other -and our producer Julian Fleisher- up.
Kenny: I think my favorite was “Exit Music (For a Film)”, but really, who can remember that long ago!
Q: Do you have plans for another album in the future? If so, who would you love to feature on the next one?
Vivian: No plans after next week, actually.
Kenny: We have no plans for another album in the future, but who knows?
Q: So why should Philadelphians buy tickets to your show here on December 5th? What can they expect to see unfold on stage?
Kenny: Philadelphians should come see the show to see two performers at the top of their form inhibit characters who have a very skewed vision of what people want for a Christmas entertainment. It is Christmas for people who don’t fit in.
Q: After the tour, what else in store for Kiki and Herb?
Kenny: Sleep and more sleep.
Q: If a signature cocktail was created in your honor, what would the ingredients be?
Vivian: Kiki drinks Rye with a splash of soda.
Kenny: Canadian Club and soda.. It’s been their drink for a long long time.
Philadelphia- do not miss this rare opportunity to see Kiki and Herb together on stage! Join in on this chaotic, one-of-a-kind (and one night only!) holiday show by getting your tickets at www.kimmelculturalcampus.org now!