Leslie Jordan and Kimball Allen

Leslie Jordan and Kimball Allen. Photo courtesy of Triple Threat with Kimball Allen.

Kimball Allen, host of the glitz-camp variety show, Triple Threat, slated regularly at Seattle’s Triple Door Theater, has lived in the Emerald City just a handful of years. Yet, Allen is well aware of the talent pool the city has to offer. And the skillful artists that saturate the city move him so that he knew he had to bring them regularly under one roof – and so his show, some two years ago, was born.

Past musical guests for Triple Threat have included the glam-noir rock band, Prom Queen, and the soulful singer, Whitney Mongé. Also gracing the stage have been Hall of Fame DJ, Marco Collins; columnist Dan Savage; boylesque performer, Waxie Moon; and comedian Emmett Montgomery, who, like Allen, grew up in the Mormon faith only to cast it away as an adult.

We recently had the chance to catch up with Allen during a rare moment of repose. We talked with him about the origins of the show, his great guest list and whether or not he would ever move Triple Threat to television.

Since moving here five years ago, what’s your relationship been like with Seattle?

I love Seattle. I’m very much endeared to the city. There’s such an artistic and intellectual boon. I’m in love with the city and what it provides in terms of talent and the people here. Most of all, I love having a show that celebrates local artists. In a nutshell, that’s what the show is.

Why a variety show?

The show has been around for almost two years now, believe it or not. But I think the genesis of it came after I left rehab. I was in rehab but when I left I knew I wanted something, needed something, and my loving partner, Scott, was like what do you want? His idea was, “I want to have kids, get married” and I said I wanted to have a variety talk show! But he fully understood it and embraced it and let me have this experience.

Prior to Triple Threat, you performed in New York, right?

Yes, I had an off Broadway show in 2015-2016. I was the playwright and main actor. It was a very personal piece about my experience growing up in the Mormon faith. But before I took it to off Broadway, I tested it out here in Seattle at Gay City in Capitol Hill. It was a smashing success. It was called “Be Happy, Be Mormon.” In a nutshell it was my own testimonial.

How do you pick your guests for your show?

I pick my guests based on who’s active, who’s relevant, who’s inspiring our community. I also make a point to go out throughout the community and be an audience member. When I’m an audience member and I hear or am inspired by different performers, that’s when I know and I’m like, “You need to be on my show!” Like Emmett Montgomery. He’s more than a comedian, he’s a storyteller. And both of us being from Mormonism, we call each other brother. I call him Brother Montgomery and he calls me Brother Allen. We feel very connected.

Do you ever feel the need to put the episodes on television?

I’ve had some offers from cable outlets but they want to have control of Triple Threat. My concern – and this is where I pushed back – is they want complete creative license. But it’s so personal to me. I own it. I don’t want to give them that license where they can say, “Kimball, guess what?” and then say yay or nay on an idea. I’d rather keep control.

How do you want your audience to feel when they leave your show?

I want them to feel connected to our beautiful city. I want them to feel inspired. I want them to feel motivated. It’s interesting, for our last few shows we’ve changed our mission. Where we used to take all the proceeds, we now give them all to a non-profit. That’s really important for everyone to know and understand. Every dollar that people spend when they come to Triple Threat goes to an important cause.

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