Stewart and Colbert Host Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

David Beal

“Civil Is Sexy.” “Stark Raving Reasonable.” “Beck – Go Fox Yourself.” “My Arms Are Tired.”

These were just a few of the signs carried around the National Mall Saturday, Oct. 30, when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert hosted the “Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear.”
Stewart and Colbert, mock news anchors of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, drew a crowd of over 200,000 people from noon to 3 p.m.  Comedy Central aired the rally live, and approximately two million viewers tuned in.

Along with energizing liberals before the midterm elections, the comedians and rally-goers also intended to poke fun at the recent “Restoring Honor” rally of Glenn Beck, a conservative Fox News host.  Beck’s event drew about 100,000 people, including many Tea Party members.
The rally opened with an extended performance by The Roots and John Legend.  Other guests included Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters, Father Guido Sarducci, Sam Waterston, Yusuf, Ozzy Osbourne, The O’Jays, Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, T.I., Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tony Bennett, and even R2D2.

As the emcees, Stewart played the sane moralist to Colbert’s hyperbolic and fear mongering gagster.  Eventually, Stewart’s “reason” melted Colbert and his giant paper maché puppet to the ground.
In the final 15 minutes, Stewart transcended the antics and concluded with “some sincerity.” “I know there are boundaries for a comedian/talker/pundit-guy, and tomorrow I’m sure I’ll find out how I’ve violated them,” he said.

“Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder,” he said at the end of his speech, his voice slightly cracking.  “But to see you here today, and the kind of people that you are, has restored mine.”

One sign read, “It’s a sad day when our politicians are comical, and I have to take our comedians seriously!”