WASHINGTON, D.C. — The media has spent the last few weeks trying to guess what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had planned for their "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" — without much success. But on Saturday (October 30), the day of the event, the attendees had a clear idea of what they expected: to laugh and experience a moment of political and cultural catharsis.
"I expect to laugh and to see just plain silliness," Lilly Pinto, 26, from Arlington, Virginia, told MTV News.
Jen Stokes said she came because she believed the rally provided a healthy political counterpoint to extreme political dialogue. "There have been a lot of Tea Parties in D.C., so it is refreshing to have something a majority of people can relate to. Also, it seemed like a lot of fun."
Her friend Haley Smith, who wore a leprechaun hat in celebration of Halloween (and to symbolize her fears), agreed.
"It's an anti-fear-based media rally," Smith explained.
Wes Harden, Shane Waters and Austin Burry drove 11 hours straight from Detroit to make it to the rally. Each of them wore a mask and held mops in one hand and a Red Bull in the other signifying their desire to clean up Washington and their tiredness, respectively.
"D.C. has become such a circus, so I think this rally was necessary to show that we can be a united nation and accomplish something," Harden said.
The National Mall was filled with four blocks of people (organizers estimated the crowd at 250,000) carrying signs and wearing costumes for the three-hour event that combined "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report"-style humor with musical performances.
David, a college student from Berkeley, California, declared the event a success and was glad to see everyone "take it down a notch."
Meredith Canyon wore a bear suit (Colbert's ultimate fear), because she thought it was perfect bear suit weather. She wanted to make sure that she was there for an "epic moment in history. Twenty years from now, I can say that I was here," she said after the rally.