RED BANK: STEWART CREW RETURNS

Contributors to Jon Stewart’s new HBO project — including writer Brendan O’Hare, above, in the guise of obsessive basketball fan — make an encore appearance at Count Basie’s Performing Arts Academy Thursday.

As they did two months ago, writers and other contributors to Jon Stewart‘s hush-hush new HBO-project-in-the-works are scheduled to take a stage Thursday night in what one of them called a “dope little room that probably was a garage three weeks ago.”

Hey, a little respect: that “dope little room” next door to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre was once a Wa-Wa convenience store, we’ll have you know.

Will Stewart himself appear? Who knows. While he’s limited his high-profile public appearances of late to the odd drop-in at the late night show of his former colleague Stephen Colbert, Stewart’s been assembling a highly anticipated but still untitled project for the HBO cable network.

Meantime, in December, an audience in Red Bank, where the comic and media figure put down local roots a few years back, was treated to an insider’s perspective on the still-baking project when the Basie spotlighted its writers in a special free-admission evening of standup and improv.

This Thursday at 8 p.m., they’ll be doing it all again— and once again not on the Basie main stage, but in the Performing Arts Center annex next door (formerly home to the Phoenix Productions theatrical troupe).

It’s a showcase for contributors to the HBO project, described by Variety and other outlets as “an animated parody of a cable news network with an Onion-like portal,” and produced in a way that allows the creative team to respond and comment on breaking news as it occurs.

While there’s no entry fee, and no advance reservations taken, a suggested donation of $10 will be dedicated 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.