Loudon Wainwright successfully combined the tactics of a solo folk singer and a stand-up comedian at the Wax Museum Sunday night. He banged out basic guitar chords and delivered his own lyrics more as a comic actor than as a pop singer. Yet he proved a fine comedian--exaggerating the neuroses of middle-class life till he resembled a Jules Feiffer character. His word-play songs about last cigarette butts, swimming strokes and divorce discussions were amplified by his clownish faces and crowd-milking pauses. Yet his tunes--drawn mostly from his recent, unreleased numbers--contained cunning irony slipped unobtrusively among the belly laughs.
The opening act, stand-up comedian Rich Hall, remembered his old days on the D.C. club circuit with funny routines about a Silver Spring K Mart, Georgetown students and Winnebago tourists. He also reprised his "Sportsphone" skit from TV's "Fridays." These and other prepared routines often built to a hysterical pitch as his gift for association linked unlikely subjects; he noted how Saturn's ammonia-laden atmosphere resembled those of restaurants at 3 in the morning. His improvisations and bantering with the crowd sometimes hit lulls but also showed a refreshing willingness to take risks.