Stewart to Hold 'Rally to Restore Sanity' Oct. 30, Colbert Plans 'March to Keep Fear Alive'

Comedy Central Hosts to Take on Washington in Mock Partisan Battle

ByABC News
September 17, 2010, 11:12 AM

Sept. 17, 2010 — -- Leave it to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to know what Americans need two days before Election Day: comic relief.

The Comedy Central hosts announced plans Thursday night to hold dueling rallies in Washington Oct. 30, events that are already garnering much buzz on the blogosphere.

On the official "Rally to Restore Sanity" page, 22,553 people said they were attending, as of this morning. The "March to Keep Fear Alive" page had 9,484 RSVPs.

But those attending may want to check before gearing up for D.C. National Park Service spokesman Bill Line said Stewart and Colbert have filed a single application, but do not yet have a permit for the events scheduled to take place Oct. 30. Steve Albani, a spokesman for "The Daily Show" said that's news to him. The I's may not be dotted and every T may not be crossed but, Albani said, everything is set.

Line, when asked about the show's response, replied that they have a permit "in their brains only" and that "a permit and a permit application are vastly two different things." The organizers are being "exuberant" and should not be answering questions about the permit, Line added.

The permit request is for 25,000 people on the Washington Monument. Albani declined to say how many people organizers are expecting to attend, saying he would not make any predictions.

Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" -- what the TV personality called "a clarion call for rationality" -- is an obvious counter to Glenn Beck's conservative "Restoring Honor" rally last month.

"We will gather on the National Mall in Washington D.C. -- 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," Stewart quipped Thursday on "The Daily Show."

"We're only here though until 6 because we have a sitter," he added to laughter.

The website calls on people "who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn't be the only ones that get heard; and who believe that the only time it's appropriate to draw a Hitler mustache on someone is when that person is actually Hitler. Or Charlie Chaplin in certain roles."

Colbert, a mock conservative who often starts partisan fights with Stewart, kicked it up another notch, announcing on "The Colbert Nation" that he will simultaneously hold a "March to Keep Fear Alive," "to fight Jon Stewart's creeping reasonableness and to restore truthiness."

"It is on," the satirical TV host declared Thursday. "Now is not the time to take it down a notch. Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom."

Stewart was already planning to tape shows in the nation's capital from Oct. 25-28, in anticipation of the midterm elections.

Hoping to bulk up support for his march, Colbert again called on his fans to join him, tweeting: "Be there or be scared! Actually be there AND be scared!"