Steven Wright takes the stage at the Count Basie Theatre Friday night.


This shouldn’t come as any surprise, but Steven Wright in conversation comes off sounding an awful lot like Steven Wright in performance — maybe even more so.

We have no doubt that the qualities most associated with the 54 year old comedian — the methodical, mumbly, molasses-paced delivery; the tournament-grade poker face, and the entire physical being that seems an extension of his battered porkpie hat — are the stuff of utmost sincerity.

We also believe that the poker face masks a genuine love of life and sense of wonder — a fully rounded persona that the Oscar and Grammy winning writer, actor and musician carries with him like a notebook of observations. While other standup stars of his era (think of the younger versions of Steve Martin and Howie Mandel) hung their manic shtick up on the bedpost each night, Wright has moved through the decades at his own deliberate pace, never really slipping out of style and never appearing anything other than at home in his lived-in skin.

The performer who was called upon to voice Speed the Turtle in The Swan Princess would be the first to admit that he doesn’t work too fast — his two albums of songs were released 12 years apart, and his second DVD came along more than 20 years after the first — and that when he does hit the road these days, he prefers to “go out for a couple of weeks” rather than do a coast-to-coast blitz. It’s on just such an early-June jaunt around the northeast that the Boston-bred Wright comes to Red Bank this Friday night, as the latest comic legend to tread the boards of the Count Basie Theatre.

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