jon-stewart-1-121612-2Whether or not Jon Stewart, seen above at a Basie event in 2012, shows up Thursday, his collaborators, and satirical spirit, will be in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Basie academy 062216Though he’s cultivated a grey beard since backing away from his desk at The Daily Show 16 months ago, Jon Stewart hasn’t exactly adopted a hermit-like existence.

He’s made memorable appearances on the programs of former colleagues Stephen Colbert and Larry Wilmore. He’s been busy with his wife, Tracey, in establishing a new home for rescued farm animals. A new book titled “The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests,” has rekindled interest in his legacy. Oh, and he signed a four-year contract with HBO that had media observers salivating over the possibilities.

While Stewart’s still-untitled HBO project is said to be readying for debut by March, a live audience on the Greater Red Bank Green is slated to get an advance taste Thursday night, when the Count Basie Theatre mounts a special Evening of Comedy spotlighting its writers and performers.

Hosted not on the Basie main stage but in the Performing Arts Center annex next door (the onetime WaWa store that formerly served as home to the Phoenix Productions theatrical troupe), the 8 p.m. event will showcase a group of unspecified contributors to the “multiplatform” Stewart project, described by Variety and other outlets as “an animated parody of a cable news network with an Onion-like portal,” produced in a way that allows the creative team to respond and comment on breaking news as it occurs.

“Stewart is creating an animation studio to regularly produce animated shorts online throughout the day, almost immediately after news arises,” Indiewire reported recently.”There will also be a text component, and the shorts will be collected into a half-hour version that will also air on the linear HBO channel.”

Although Stewart, who made the Red Bank riverfront his suburban home a few years back, could conceivably be among those “writers and performers,” Stewart himself has not been mentioned as an in-person participant Thursday.

While there is no formal charge for attending, and no advance reservations taken, a suggested donation of $10 will be dedicated to to the Basie’s arts education and outreach programs. Line-up for first-come/first-served seating begins at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30, and the show set to begin promptly at 8. No one under 18 will be admitted without an adult.