RUMSON: HAVE TRIV’, WILL TRAV’

nortontrivia2The Third Best Trivia Host in America — Little Silver’s own “Gentleman” Jim Norton — brings his bar-hopping brand of “brain-bending quizzes” to a Thursday Night Trivia stand at Molly Maguire’s. (Photo by Diana Moore)

It’s an interactive entertainment in which “questions range from high brow to high school, and fortune favors the squad with a well-rounded range of knowledge” — a “unique blend of brain-bending quizzes and lighthearted crowd work” that commandeers “the spot where generations of the area’s brightest and most attractive have put their wits on display.” Namely, Molly Maguire’s Gastropub.

Going up at the Rumson watering spot this Thursday night, January 8 and each Thor’s Day thereafter for the foreseeable future, Thursday Night Trivia (TNT) puts a locally sourced, personality-packed twist on a popular attraction for teams of up to eight players (with prizes awarded to First and Second Place groups). The contest is lorded over by “Master of Minutiae, Impresario of the Immaterial” and Little Silver resident Gentleman Jim Norton — recovering title insurance agent; veteran roadie/ tech guy/ sound pro for everyone from Frank Sinatra Jr. to Iggy Pop, and self-described “emcee, scorekeeper, off-the-cuff insult comic and Ombudsman” whose little sideline endeavor has grown to become a favorite weekly draw at taverns and nightspots throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties.

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RED BANK: GAFFIGAN, BEGIN AGAIN

jim-gaffigan copyIt’s another triple-header engagement by Jim Gaffigan in Red Bank, as the family-friendly funnyman comes to the Count Basie for three standup shows on Thursday and Friday.

He arrives backed by some fairly formidable credits — Emmy and Grammy nominations, a Broadway dramatic role, a certification as a New York Times best-selling author. The fact that his topics du jour remain life as a goofy, overweight dad (and an ongoing romance with Hot Pockets and donuts) doesn’t make Jim Gaffigan any less serious about his craft — and when the amiable comic takes his Obsessed Tour to the Count Basie Theatre in the days to come, he’ll be parking it here for an extended engagement that proves Red Bank area audiences are seriously into the standup style of Jim Gaffigan.

The actor-comedian-father of five had already scheduled a pair of Basie shows at 7 and 9:30 pm on Friday, January 9 — and reaction to the bookings was so enthusiastic as to warrant the addition of a third show, a day earlier on January 8 at 7 pm. It’s another feather in the crown for the “King of Clean” whose previous excursion to Monmouth Street was a similarly well-received three-show stand.

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RED BANK: BAREFOOT AND BLINDFOLDED

ColinandBrad_1000The Two Man Group of Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood flips Red once again when the guys from WHOSE LINE retake the Count Basie stage for another go-round of impishly improv’d interactions.

In an interview that appeared here on redbankgreen some seasons back, improv king Brad Sherwood summed up The Two Man Group — the long-running, high-mileage live comedy show that teams him with fellow make-it-up-as-you-go-along master Colin Mochrie — by telling us, “We have more of a communal, collaborative relationship with the audience than an adversarial one… you’re laughing from a different part of your brain.”

If “different part of your brain” means “seat of your pants,” then you’ll understand exactly where Sherwood (a frequent flyer on various editions of TV’s Whose Line Is It Anyway?) is coming from. The veteran of LA’s Second City troupe met up with Vancouver native Mochrie — himself an alum of the legendary Toronto Second City company, and a permanent fixture/ set furnishing on every Whose Line variation from the BBC to ABC, to Comedy Central and the current CW series — on a local West Coast program. The two have crisscrossed the country with their “full time, part time gig” for more than a decade now — and when they return to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on Friday, November 7, they’ll be bringing their low-budget/ high-yield unscripted show to the Red Bank audience for an eleventh (maybe more?) annual whistlestop.

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RED BANK: STAND-UP SEX STUFF

amy-schumerOne of the hottest comics on the scene, Amy Schumer takes it inside the Count Basie Theatre for a Friday night comedy concert.

She’s been noted for her “girl next door” looks — as well as for her “wash your mouth out with soap” language. And when Amy Schumer takes it to the boards of the Count Basie this Friday night, October 24, she’ll do so from the enviable vantage point of one of the top comics on the current stand-up landscape; a sizzling young talent whose star’s very much on the ascendant.

Fueled by massive interest in her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer — a genuinely superior skit show sparked into being by her hit standup special Mostly Sex Stuff, and some memorable appearances on the cable network’s annual roasts — Schumer’s live gigs have evolved into theater-scale affairs since her first national exposure on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2007.

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RED BANK: IS THIS MIKE ON?

Comedian Mike Birbiglia brings his custom blend of standup, theater and spoken-word to the boards of the Count Basie Friday night.

To call Mike Birbiglia a “standup comic” is like calling that smartphone you waited in line for a “phone” — yeah, it most certainly does phone stuff, but on the other hand, hey.

While other young comedy veterans seem to sleepwalk through their act after so many years on the road, Birbiglia hit comic paydirt with Sleepwalk With Me, a monologue on the comedy lifestyle and its discontents that he adapted as a one-man, Off Broadway smash in 2008. A 2010 companion book scored big on the New York Times Best Seller list; a 2011 Sleepwalk album went all the way to Number One on the Billboard Comedy Charts — and in 2012, the native of Shrewsbury (Massachusetts, that is) wrote, directed and starred in a screen version that collected film-fest honors from Sundance to Nantucket. All that, plus his frequent-favorite appearances on This American Life with Ira Glass, make the man a veritable King of Most Media.

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LINCROFT: SINGH FOR YOUR LUNCH

Kabir-Singh-1000x750Kabir “Kabeezy” Singh comes to the Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College for the latest in a continuing series of Laugh at Lunch events.

Personally, we find very little that’s funny about cafeteria pizza — but “Laugh at Lunch,” the long-running series of celebrity comedy matinees at the Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College, may be one of the Best Kept Secrets in local entertainment circles.

Presented by the Student Life and Activities committee, the monthly standup sets have brought some of the nation’s best up-and-coming talents (and more than a few seasoned veterans of shows like Chelsea Lately) to the Lincroft campus for noontime gigs that are offered up free of charge to anyone with a valid student ID. On Tuesday, September 30, Student Life puts forth the first LAL event of the semester, when busy West Coast-based club comic Kabir “Kabeezy” Singh brings his rapid-fire observations on dating, sex and stereotypes to the SLC’s Navesink Room.

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RED BANK: A SERIOUSLY FUNNY TEDx TALK

TEDxOpen Mike: Humorists Michael Phillips-Anderson and Michael O’Keeffe take the stage of Two River Theater for a special TEDx Navesink presentation on September 25, prior to the 8 pm show of THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES.

They’ll be taking their act to Monmouth University in West Long Branch for their next event in 2015, but before they decamp for campus, the organizers of TEDxNavesink have one more parting event to offer the Red Bank audience — and it comes not with a taps salute, but with a comedy-club rimshot of sorts.

Something of a cross between a sophisticated “salon” and a standup showcase, the Thursday evening presentation returns TEDx to Two River Theater — scene of the sold-out 2014 event — for a special keynote to the September 25 performance of Two River Theater Company’s The School for Wives. Going up at 6:30 pm — and featuring refreshments and drinks by local purveyors Sickles Market and Carton Brewing, the program preludes TRTC’s production of the 17th century French farce by Moliere with a couple of 21st century speakers on the art of comedy — and the ways in which humor, politics and popular culture tend to intersect, despite all attempts to put on a straight face.

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RED BANK: JOAN RIVERS SHOW ON HOLD

joan rivers abcFriday’s show at the Basie was one of 26 appearances the 81-year-old comedian had lined up between now and late November, ABC News reports.  (Click to enlarge)

One day before she was scheduled to appear in Red Bank, comedian Joan Rivers was hospitalized in New York Thursday.

With the the tart-tongued 81-year-old said to be in critical but stable condition, the Count Basie Theatre has postponed a show slated for Friday night.

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RED BANK: FEELGOOD MUSIC, REAL TIME LAFFS

david-bromberg-2-500x332Master multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg makes his annual pilgrimage to the Count Basie Theatre tonight, with politically pointed standup Bill Maher in the wings for Sunday.

In an interview that appeared here on redbankgreen during one of his past jaunts to Red Bank, Grammy-lauded multi-instrumentalist and musicologist David Bromberg explained the importance of scheduling a yearly trip to the banks of the Navesink by saying, “”I do have a lot of fans on the Jersey Shore, and we do a different show every time. No set lists —— it’’s better that way.””

When the well-mannered virtuoso and good-humored entertainer brings his 12-piece Big Band back to the Count Basie Theatre on June 21, he’’ll be performing his “usual” unpredictable mix of originals, bull-in-a-used-record-shop covertunes (Bob Wills to Bob Dylan to Bo Diddley to Dave Dudley), and flights of fancy that may well land upon “a bluegrass tribute to Ethel Merman.” These shows tend to gather their own fanatical crowd of genre-hopping musical gourmets; tonight’s 8 pm set is another promising party of the sort that comes but once a year, and you can score your ticket ($20 – $59) here.

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MIDDLETOWN: BAD BOY MAKES GOOD

MikeMarinoNJ’s Bad Boy of Comedy Mike Marino is strictly family-friendly and ready to serve, as High School North hosts a fundraiser night of comedy for a township teen. 

They call him “New Jersey’s Bad Boy of Comedy,” as he’s been known to work a little “blue” in the service of a laugh — but on Friday evening, June 13, Mike Marino shows his true colors as one of the good guys, when he headlines a family-friendly night of standup at Middletown High School North.

Billed as “Laugh 4 a Cause,” the 7:30 pm event finds the veteran entertainer — whose recent TV pilot project Reconstructing Jersey shot scenes in several Monmouth County locations — raising funds for Chris Falzone, a township teen currently being treated for Non Hodgkins Mature B Cell Lymphoma, a form of bone cancer.

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RED BANK: POWER OF DE VITO

Joe-DeVitoFunnyman Joe De Vito returns to The Downtown for a Friday night fracas, another Covert operation from the Jersey Jokers stable.

Red Bank may no longer be able to boast its own dedicated “Chuckle Hut” sort of comedy club, but it’s got something infinitely more valuable than another brick wall, low ceiling and two-drink minimum — it’s got Chris Covert, sandwich sculptor to the stars, and a man whose not-so-secret night gig (as impresario of the Jersey Jokers comedy collective) has almost single-handedly kept the laugh light burning for a new generation of standup stalwarts in and around the borough. Tonight — as he’s done every first Thursday of the month, for as long as anyone can recall — Covert plays ringmaster to an Open Mic Comedy card that commences 8 pm upside the Dublin House on Monmouth Street. Get there early for sign-up if you’d like to test your own comic kung foo at the friendliest “tough room” in the area — or just enjoy the show, and if you’d like to keep the laughter going, take it over to Front Street on Friday night, where Covert and company will be welcoming back a special guest stander-upper to the Downtown.

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BAD BOY COMIC, GOOD CAUSE AT MHS NORTH

Chris_FalzoneChris Falzone was doing what he loves most — playing hockey — when his hip started bothering him. What was first thought of as usual growing pains and overuse, since he was playing for the Red Bank Generals and Middletown High School South JV and Varsity, turned into something much more.

Chris was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Mature B Cell Lymphoma, a bone cancer — and while the 14 year old from Atlantic Highlands was very fortunate that it was found so early, and that the prognosis for a full recovery is promising, he will require months of chemotherapy and surgery to heal.

On the night of Friday, June 13, the Friends of Chris invite the public to “Laugh 4 a Cause,” during a night of family-friendly comedy featuring New Jersey’s own “Bad Boy of Comedy,” Mike Marino.

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LINCROFT: GIRLS (AND ARTISTS) BEING FUNNY

Robin-Fox-Headshot2The “Mother of all standup comics” Robin Fox trades the comedy club for the Monmouth Museum, during a Wednesday Girls Night Out event keyed to the theme of Humor in Art.

You might be a MOM if…you can appreciate the inherent humor in topics like long-term marriage, the suburban lifestyle, and the glories of being a “sandwich generation” between aging parents and growing kids. Also if your idea of a Girls Night Out is an art gallery excursion that’s over before 9 pm.

When the Monmouth Museum opens its doors for a special Girls (or Moms) Night Out event on Wednesday, May 28, it will represent an “evening of fun, food and drinks” that draws from the theme of the gallery’s current exhibit — Humor in Art. So in place of a dry lecture by a museum docent, attendees at the 6:30 pm event will be treated to a “wet” set by New Jersey’s own Robin Fox, the “Mother like no other” who parlayed her observations on family life into a successful career as a comic attraction on New York area radio, cable TV and top standup competitions (including a first place finish in the 2010 Gilda’s Club Laugh-Off).

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RED BANK: SINBAD SETS SAIL AT THE COUNT

sinbadDavid “Sinbad” Adkins brings his famously family friendly (yet still somehow engagingly edgy) brand of comedy back to the Count Basie for an umpteenth encore this Friday night. 

His major motion picture career (Houseguest, First Kid, Jingle All the Way) is largely behind him — although apparently so are the multi-million dollar financial woes that dogged his highest-profile years. But for the standup stalwart known as Sinbad, the live stage is his first and foremost port of call, an environment in which his signature style of observational, often stream-of-conscious humor works in sync with broad-based audiences in theater-scale venues that he continues to fill from coast to coast.

Here on the greater Green, the venue of choice is the venerable Count Basie Theatre — and it’s to the Basie boards that Sinbad returns for a repeat engagement Friday night, with a set that promises a full-length dose of clean, yet cutting comedy.

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RED BANK: MORE ‘TROUBLE,’ BUT WORTH IT

TroubleInMindBrenda Pressley takes center stage as Willetta, a 1950’s African American actress at work on a play-within-a-play, as TROUBLE IN MIND continues through the weekend at Two River Theater. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson) 

You don’t need much if any direct experience with the Business of Show to reckon that the process of putting something on the stage — the tectonic shift of strong egos, the conflicts and the compromises, the whole backstage pageant — can often be way more compelling than the show itself.

It’s a concept that was grasped beautifully by the late Alice Childress in Trouble in Mind, the comedy-drama that opened last week at Red Bank’s Two River Theater and continues through the weekend (including a 3 p.m. matinee Easter Sunday) in a dynamite production directed by Jade King Carroll.

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4/18: KATHY GRIFFIN LIGHTS UP RED BANK

dish-112613-kathy-02Kathy Griffin goes double-deep dish this Friday night, when the flame-haired comic with the celeb-roasting style adds a second standup session to her scheduled gig at the Count Basie. 

She’s got a trophy case full of accolades — two Emmys, a Grammy, a GLAAD Vanguard honor, and a Life Award from The Trevor Project — but Kathy Griffin didn’t get where she is by making air-kiss fake nice with Hollywood, or the don’t-ask-don’t-tell protocols of a fast-changing (but still somewhat timid) American society.

Fueled by a merch table’s worth of hit TV series, books and albums, the 20-year veteran standup made the leap from the rowdier comedy clubs to the more respectable theater-venue circuit several seasons back — although when Griffin comes to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for two Friday night shows, audiences should expect no softening, dimming or blunting of the comedian’s patented flamethrower assault on entrenched attitudes, politicians, organized religion, or the “D Listers” of a showbiz establishment with whom she continues to carry on a passionate love/hate relationship.

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WEEKEND: THE SECRET WOID IS VARIETY

rb street fair 041413A first responder benefitting spring edition of Street Fair returns to Red Bank Sunday while, below, the one and only GROUCHO goes wild, in the person of Frank Ferrante, Friday night at the Basie. 

grouchoRED BANK: “We all want to be Groucho,” Frank Ferrante told us a few seasons back, “to be that wild, irreverent pulverizer of those in power.”

In the acclaimed stage show An Evening with Groucho, the actor-director gets to be all that and more, as his spot-on channeling of the classic comic force of nature Groucho Marx comes to the Count Basie Theatre for the first time. Performed with piano accompaniment, minimal set and trademark makeup, the 90-minute, all-ages friendly tour de farce mixes canonical Marxist quotes, anecdotes from a life in show business, signature silly songs (“Hooray for Captain Spalding,” “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady”), and — in a bracingly contemporary touch — an interactive element that finds Ferrante/Groucho duckwalking the theater aisles. “Fully one-third of it is improvised,” says Ferrante. “That’s what Groucho’s magic was, really – the ability to create comedy on the spot.” Get your tickets ($19 – $49) right here — and when you take it ’round the corner for more Weekender wonderment, tell ’em Groucho sent you.

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WEEKEND: WEDDING WALK GETS SAME-SEXY

WeddingWalkMichael Warmington of Red Bank RiverCenter joins a team of Barbizon tour guides in welcoming guests to a past edition of the Red Bank Wedding Walk, which returns to town this Sunday. Wanda Sykes (below) brings her standup skills back to the Basie Friday night. 

Sykes-WandaRED BANK: When the Red Bank Wedding Walk returns to the blushing banks of the Navesink for its latest edition this Sunday, it’ll be a bigger/better-than-ever affair with an historic edge: it’s “encouraging same-sex couples to join us this year and explore all that Red Bank has to offer for the perfect wedding,” according to organizers at Red Bank RiverCenter.

Taking place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., the 2014 event sounds a call to “prospective brides, grooms, partners, their families and friends” to key into the borough’s “fun and funky vibe” as they visit over 40 wedding-related businesses — florists, gown and accessories retailers, bridesmaid and guest attire boutiques, photographers, wedding planners and designers, jewelers, salons and banquet facilities — many of which will be offering promotions, light refreshments and special amenities.

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TONY, TINA, BOBBY, SANTTU-MATIAS & MORE

ChampianTuzzoAbove: Champian Fulton, Bob Tuzzo and Tony Corrao take the bandstand when the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra presents “An Enchanted Evening of Song” at Two River Theater. Below, twentysomething European conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali makes his NJ Symphony debut at the Basie. 

Friday, February 28:

SantuRED BANK: While it admittedly ain’t Shakespeare, the interactive “environmental” phenomenon known as Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding can be said to be one of the most influential theatrical offerings in a generation — even indirectly spawning a stroll-through spin on Macbeth at a seedy Manhattan hotel.

Beginning tonight, and continuing for four more performances this weekend, lovebirds Tony Nunzio and Tina Vitale repeatedly renew their vows in a production presented by the Count Basie Theatre — hosted NOT at the venerable Monmouth Street venue, but practically next door, at the nearby Buona Sera Ristorante. It’s there that guests can “eat, drink, dance, converse and get caught up in the festivities” as they stand in for Tony n’ Tina’s various extended family members and frenemies. The comedy and the comedic “drama” unfold with seatings at 7:30 pm Friday, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturday, and 12 and 6 pm. Sunday. Tickets ($100) include the ceremony, reception, baked ziti dinner, champagne toast, wedding cake, music and dancing. A $150 VIP option includes a “classic Italian meal and seat up close to the action.” Check here for reservations, close to selling out as we post this — and toss that bouquet for some more great catches and matches, as we Mach it into March.

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WEEKEND: THE GREENHOUSE HEATS UP

Home-Free-Colder-Weather-The-Sing-Off-VideoAbove: The champion vocalists from the NBC show THE SING-OFF come to Red Bank for two Friday night shows…while below, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ben E. King is the “Stand By Me” special guest, during a Saturday benefit concert at Red Bank Regional HS. 

ben-e-king-1337080315-view-0Friday, February 21:

RED BANK: Time was, a hidebound rule of show business stated that people would never pay to attend a live version of something they could see for free on TV each week — but nowhere has that been disproved more than the Count Basie Theatre, the venerable venue that’s regularly booked sold-out events starring some of the most fervently followed singers, comics, emcees, psychics, ghost hunters, dog whisperers, cake bosses and skinnygirls this side of the flat screen. Tonight, the Basie adds another hi-def highlight to the mix, as they host the first-ever touring edition of the hit NBC talent contest The Sing-Off. Home Free, the winners of this past season’s a capella competition, headline a program that also features fellow finalists Voiceplay and The Filharmonics — with a special guest performance by The Princeton University Footnotes. It’s a chance for fans to “be up close and personal with their favorite groups as they perform with no instruments and voices only” — and response has been such that they’ve added a second, earlier show (5:15 pm) to the 8 pm main event. Tickets ($29.50 – $69.50) can be reserved right here.

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MUCH ADO ABOUT TRTC’S ‘AS YOU LIKE IT’

muchTonight’s free screening of director Joss Whedon’s 2012 film of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING kicks off a series of special events, keyed to Two River Theater Company’s upcoming production of Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT.

It’s described as “a comedy of cross-dressing heroines and triumphant heroes,” one in which a company of vivid characters “must learn to confront their own fears and limitations — and surrender to romance.”

When the Two River Theater Company production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It goes up in previews on January 25, its entrance will have been heralded by a slate of special events designed to spark new interest in the Bard’s 400-year old play across all segments of the audience. It’s a schedule that includes an open rehearsal, informative discussions, a dedicated poetry slam — even a special “Little Shakespeare” adaptation, custom-crafted for school-age theatergoers.

Before all that, however, TRTC revisits another Shakespearean comedy — one that it staged back in 2011 — when the branded Bridge Avenue performing arts center hosts a free screening of the 2012 cinema adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. Superstar director Joss Whedon took a break from shooting the Avengers blockbuster to assemble a nimble no-star cast (including Marvel’s Agent Coulson himself, Clark Gregg) for this contemporary take on the “merry war” of courtship and marriage, filmed (in black and white) in and around Whedon’s own home. The movie shows at 7:30 pm tonight, with free tickets reserved through the Two River box office — and attendees will have the opportunity to win a Joss Whedon Prize Pack that boasts a bevy of Buffy, Firefly and Marvel superhero collectibles.

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WEEKEND: LAUGHING ALL THE WAY

kylegroomsAbove: Standup guy Kyle Grooms is among the headliners taking part in Saturday’s annual Laugh Out Loud Comedy Show fundraiser for 180 Turning Lives Around. Below, it’s a triple-header of Jim Gaffigan shows at the Count Basie. 

A quadruple-whammy forecast of snow, ice, epic low temps and, uh, snow can put a klondike kibosh on the best-laid plans for the holiday-hangover weekend. But those willing to boldly go beyond home and hearth will find some  entertaining people who aim to make it worth the trip or slip. All served up with a smile and a laugh — and all, we feel compelled to add, subject to schedule changes.

jim-gaffigan copyFriday, January 3:

RED BANK: The chilly autumn landscapes of Nebraska and other Plains locales might appear downright tropical when you’re coming into Red Bank Bow Tie Cinemas from the Navesink riverside cold. But if you’re looking to defrost your extremities by the glow of a heartwarming father-son bonding scenario, you’ll need to do the hard miles with Alexander Payne’s comedy-drama road trip, through the kind of quirky relationship dynamics that the writer-director mastered in Sideways and The Descendants. 1960s Hollywood rebel Bruce Dern has his best role in decades as a drinky, distant deadfish of a dad who’s convinced that a direct-mail sweepstakes prize awaits him in Lincoln, NE — and he’s fortified by a strong cast that includes Will (SNL) Forte, Bob (Breaking Bad) Odenkirk and fellow codger contrarian Stacy Keach. At times broadly silly and bracingly sad, Nebraska nurtures a warm ember of humanity at its heart — and it’s playing on White Street with Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers’ seriocomic sojourn of an ambitious folkie adrift in the crashpads and coffeehouses of Camelot-era America. Take it here for showtimes throughout the weekend.

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WEEKEND: COSBY, ABBA, POETRY & POTTERY

billcosby-comedycentral-2013-585x348Revisiting his standup comedy roots, Bill Cosby brings it back to the Basie for a one night stand… while cartoonist Mark Alan Stamaty (below) is guest judge for a group show exhibition at the Art Alliance. 

Friday, November 8:MarkAlanStamaty--

RED BANK: His credits include several of the most influential TV series of all time; bestselling books in both children’s and adult markets; a doctorate degree in education, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – and a trophy case that boasts everything from Golden Globes, Grammys, Emmys and People’s Choice Awards, to a Kennedy Center Honor and even the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

If you think that Bill Cosby has pretty much accomplished everything he set out to do and then some, the title of his upcoming Comedy Central concert special (“Far From Finished”) should put it into perspective. So when the Philly-born renaissance guy returns to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre, the smart money says he won’t relax until he’s won over everybody in the room. Having rediscovered his standup-comedy roots in recent times, the man whose long-form stories, skits and savvy observations kickstarted his career in the 1960s brings it back to the Basie for a single 8 pm show. Take it here for tickets ($39.50 – $89.50).

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WEEKEND: POP-UP CHILLS, TOP-DOWN THRILLS

halloween 2011 1The 66th annual Red Bank Halloween Parade assembles on East Bergen Place Sunday afternoon for its colorful walk downtown. Below, the Ghoul Scouts of Brookdale Haunted Theater commandeer the BCC PAC building for two weekends of wild walk-throughs. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, October 18:

haunted-theater-a-haunted-attraction-nj_4009LINCROFT:  The real-life horrors of Hurricane Sandy’s dark and drear aftermath forced even the ghouls and goblins to take a back seat last year — but undead and undaunted, they rise again for another seasonal go, as Brookdale Haunted Theater takes over the Performing Arts Center for two big weekends, in a presentation created and performed by past and present members of the school’s Theater Club program. For a ticket price of $10 ($8 seniors, $5 kids and students), patrons are ushered into the PAC’s auditorium (parking lot 2 on the Lincroft campus), split into groups of 10 to 15, and guided through a winding corridor that features live-action dioramas, scarifying skits and the dreaded POP-UP, which is to horror as the PUN is to humor. The creepy crew runs tour groups through its backstage maze of interactive fright environments beginning 7 pm, Friday through Sunday nights (October 18 to 20 and 25 to 27), with “Not-So-Haunted” Scareless tours for younger crowds running from 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Brookdale staff and students with current ID will be admitted for a bargain-dungeon price of $5, during a special “private screaming” session on Thursday, October 24. Tickets available at the creaking door; more info at (732) 224-2411.

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WEEKEND: REGATTA, TEA, A MAN IN A TREE…

on borrowed time 4‘On Borrowed Time’ continues its run at the Two River Theater, above. Judith Krall Russo, below, talks tea and women in history at the Eastern Branch Monmouth County Library Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, September 27:

SONY DSCSHREWSBURY: Alexander Saulon leads a discussion about social media sites and how to use Skype and Facebook to stay connected with family and friends at the Monmouth County Eastern Branch Library. The discussion begins at 11 a.m. 1001 Route 35 North.

RED BANK: Keep up with the Jonzes at the Walt Street Pub for some Friday night entertainment. The Jonzes are sure to please with their eclectic musical range from heavy metal to reggae, pop, dance, and more. The music begins at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

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