Unquestionably, there is a crying need for a good topical revue to help prepare us for 1985 and the perils that await us. But "The Capitol Comedy Hour," 90 minutes of satirical sketches currently playing at d.c. space through Feb. 2, isn't it.
This clumsy, sophomoric show only illustrates the low state of satire in Washington these days. At least two-thirds of the evening's material is inspired by television -- the inane talk shows, the crass game shows, the shrill talent shows, the hard-sell commercials and the chummy anchor teams. When the four young comics aren't cavorting, more or less live, on the tiny stage, you can watch them performing video snippets on four TV sets. Since television parodies itself as a matter of course, much of "The Capitol Comedy Hour" is as redundant as it is tiresome.
Occasionally, the cast tackles a subject beyond television, but proves just as bereft of inspiration. In the evening's one running skit, a wimp transforms himself into an avenging "street angel" and calls to account those bores who talk in movie houses or clog up the express lanes in supermarkets with more than eight items. Nancy Reagan and Geraldine Ferraro are pitted against each other in a wrestling match (Nancy wins). And there's a "Mike Hammer" parody that pretends to be improvised, but actually takes heed of very few suggestions elicited from the audience.
For the record, "The Capitol Comedy Hour" is performed by Pat Finerty, Cecilia Cook, Doug Krentzlin and Jane Binzen. Although none qualifies as a natural cut-up, they have all somehow acquired the notion that they're pretty funny people and carry on acccordingly. Under the circumstances, so much confidence is mildly depressing.