Comedy Central talk-show hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announced plans to hold opposing rallies Oct. 30 on the Washington Mall, largely in response to Glenn Beck’s “Restoring America” rally last month.
On his “The Daily Show” last night Stewart said that he’ll be holding a “Rally to Restore Sanity.”
Stewart said, “See you Oct. 30th on the National Mall to spread the timeless message, ‘Take it down a notch for America.'” He added, “Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement. A million moderate march, where we take to the streets to send a message to our leaders and our national media that says, ‘We are here! We … are only here until 6 though, because we have a sitter.”
Stewart notes his rally is a “clarion call for rationality.”
On “The Colbert Report” Colbert fired back announcing his “March to Keep Fear Alive” event “to fight Jon Stewart’s creeping reasonableness, and to restore truthiness.”
Said Colbert, “Now is not the time to take it down a notch. Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom.” He added, “They want to replace our fear with reason. But never forget – “Reason” is just one letter away from ‘treason.’ Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but America can’t afford to take that chance.”
The dueling rallies come weeks after conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck hosted his “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall, urging crowds to “turn back to God” and return America to the values of which it was founded. (Continued after video.)
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Civil rights groups denounced Beck’s event largely because it took place on the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech. The Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, prior to Beck announcing his event, had been organizing and held a “Reclaim the Dream” rally on the same day. Both events received national headlines.
Stewart and Colbert’s plans came after a lengthy and persistent Internet campaign urged by users of the site Reddit that raised over $200,000 for charity. The campaign quickly spread on Facebook and Twitter and Colbert and Stewart eventually complied.
“Now you’re probably saying to yourself, Oct. 30, 2010, that rings a bell … the 36th anniversary of George Forman and Muhammad Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire! Yes,” said Stewart. “But that’s not why the date is significant. I’ll tell you the significance of October 30th. You see, the Daily Show’s actually already going to be in Washington doing shows.”
Stewart added he would have protests sign available including one that would say, “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”
Colbert said he’s naturally using fearmongering to get people to attend his rally.
“People should definitely book their hotel rooms now,” he said, “or their children might turn gay.”
It’s unclear if the rallies will actually take place. However a National Park Spokesman told the Associated Press both Stewart and Colbert have filed a single application for a permit to host 25,000 people on the mall. But it hasn’t been approved yet.