RED BANK: HOLY DOUBLETAKE! IT’S BATMAN!

rb batman 081414 6rb batman 081414 2Spoiler alert for fans of the cable show ‘Comic Book Men,’ shot in and around Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash on Broad Street in Red Bank: a future episode will feature a race between the Batmobile and the Green Hornet’s Black Beauty, shot Thursday afternoon on Bridge Avenue in Gotham Red Bank.

And who was riding shotgun for a faux Batman? None other than onetime Batman portrayer Adam West himself, now 85 years old. Andres Verde of Red Bank, above, got a selfie with West, following one take of the low-speed race. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: STASH YIELDS MORE BUDS

rob bruce 101511Robert Bruce at a Glen Goldbaum fashion event in Red Bank in 2011. A regular on “Comic Book Men,” set at the Broad Street store below, he’s about to get his own show on AMC. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

comic book men 072712The Red Bank comic book juggernaut Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash continues to add to its amazing superpowers.

Comic Book Men,” an unscripted TV show about buying and selling comic books that’s based in the Broad Street store, has been picked up for a fourth season by the AMC network, according an entertainment industry report.

It’s also spawned a new show starring borough resident Robert Bruce, a regular on “Comic Book Men.” And it looks like progenitor-of-all-things-Stashian Kevin Smith will get one, too.

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RED BANK: JOSH BRUCE, STEEPED IN BLOOD

The trailer for Josh Bruce’s film. Below, Bruce in a scene shot near the Red Bank Public Library. (Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

josh bruce 1“Of course, the motto on our crew is, ‘we love blood,'” said Josh Bruce. “We love to put our hands in it, we love to roll around in it, we love to stick our face in it.”

Bruce, a Red Bank resident, said this as he surveyed the property behind the borough’s public library, where a few months prior, he and several other young men had smashed a lifeless body’s head with rocks they had found there. But Bruce showed no signs of remorse. In fact, a smile stretched across his face as he recalled the event.

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CHEECH & CHONG’S NEXT MOVE: A BASIE DATE

Reunited once more for their most ambitious tour in over 25 years, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong take it to the boards of the Count Basie on May 1 for an evening of  mirth, music and munchie-inducing classic routines.

By TOM CHESEK 

Is this any way to observe 420 Day? If you’re the elder stoner statesmen Cheech and Chong, you’ve spent that nationwide celebration of cannabis culture in seemingly uncharacteristic fashion —  up before the sun, doing tightly scheduled rounds of press, and interfacing with fans on social media platforms that range from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and everything short of Christian Mingle.

Truth be told, Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong have a collective work ethic that’s seen them embrace new tech, new formats and new channels of distribution almost as fast as they’re dreamed up — and, with their first big tour in over 25 years now underway, the Grammy-winning kings of most media have a lot of lost time to make up.

On Wednesday, Cheech and Chong’s Third Reunion Tour finds the gold-plated “cult” stars of stage, screen and stereos heading into Red Bank for an 8 pm appearance at the Count Basie Theatre in which the pair recreate many of the classic, bongwater-basted sketch routines from their smash comedy records of the 1970s — a post-Woodstock era that routinely saw single releases like “Basketball Jones,” “Earache My Eye” and “Sister Mary Elephant” crashing the Top 40 charts (and causing as much angst among radio programmers as among parents of the nation’s easily corrupted youth).

It’s a debut for the duo, in the borough that claims a couple of their spiritual offspring — Jay and Silent Bob — as “homegrown” favorites. It’s also a chance for the veteran comedy team to promote the first new Cheech and Chong project in a generation — the soundtrack to the feature-length Cheech and Chongs Animated Movie!, with nine all-new songs augmenting a cartoonified collection of vintage vignettes from such discs as Cheech & Chong’s Wedding Album, Los Cochinos, and Big Bambu (coincidentally, Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie! kicked off its tour of screenings and podcasts on 4/20).

With Marin having stretched his mainstream chops in recent years (through projects that ranged from playing cops on network TV series to producing a series of children’s music albums) — and with Chong’s intermittent screen appearances overshadowed by a controversial 2003 federal prison sentence (documented in detail here) for selling drug paraphernalia online — the stock characters of the street-savvy Chicano and the eternal hippie look to take on new dimensions of time and tide and life experience.

4/20 came and went without a scheduled phone interview — but an apologetic Chong called the Comedy Desk at redbankgreen the following evening to bring us up to date. Flip the record over for more, man…

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STASHERS AMPED FOR REALITY TV DEBUT

Michael Zapcic with Thomas Mumme, left, during Thursday’s live ‘SModcast’ at Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. Below: Kevin Smith on the center monitor during a taping earlier this week in Red Bank. (Photo below courtesy of Robert Bruce. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Michael Zapcic had the “really surreal” experience earlier this week of walking past Madison Square Garden, glancing up at the massive Jumbotron and seeing a commercial for ‘Comic Book Men,’ a new cable show in which he appears as himself: a self-described comic book geek.

“I’m like holy crap! It’s them! It’s us!” he recalled Thursday, in the tone of an average, fedora-wearing citizen spotting a caped man flying overhead.

Life in the mini-Gotham that is Red Bank may never be the same.

Only, yeah, it will be exactly the same, because ‘Comic Book Men’ is a reality show, one focused on the daily interplay of three employees of  “possibly the world’s most famous comic book store” – Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash on Broad Street, where the show is set.

Over six episodes, four opinionated, superabsorbent sponges of superheroism – Zapcic, Ming Chen and Walt Flanagan, plus original store manager Bryan Johnson – spend a lot of time  “just arguing about stupid movie plot points, which happens every day without cameras anyway,” says Chen.

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BATMOBILE VISITS RED BANK

batmobileCrew members from the reality TV pilot being produced at Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash prepare a replica Batmobile for filming on Mechanic Street in Red Bank Friday morning. The vehicle was expected to be downtown for a few hours. (Click to enlarge)

ALL QUIET IN GOTHAM CITY

batman-broadNot that we condone defacing of other people’s property, of course… but this guy looking down on Broad Street in downtown Red Bank gives us a chuckle.

Is he looking for criminals in Gotham? Checking to see if his parking meter is still in the green? Or is just keeping a jealous eye on the cable-TV reality show being shot across the street? (Click to enlarge)