If you happen to be in Washington, D.C., on October 30 and wake up to find yourself surrounded by a sea of Sarah Palins and Glenn Becks, don't freak out. They're probably just getting ready for Halloween by putting on their GOP finest for a march down to a pair of rallies planned for that day on the National Mall. "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and his fake Republican brother-in-comedy Stephen Colbert of the "Colbert Report" are planning the events in response to Glenn Beck's recent "Restoring Hope" event.
For two weeks now, Stewart has been teasing news of a big announcement, with Colbert threatening to one-up his former boss with his own major announcement, and on Thursday they finally spilled the beans about their plans.
"Tonight, I bring you, the actual announcement!" Stewart thundered. He was addressing, he said, the 70 to 80 percent of Americans we don't see on TV screaming about their political convictions while wearing funny hats, toting misspelled signs and likening our political leaders to Hitler. "Tonight, I announce the Rally to Restore Sanity. It is happening, people! ... a real gathering. 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, but we're only here until 6 because we have a sitter.' A clarion call for rationality!"
Both rallies are in response to Fox News talker Beck's recent Restoring Hope event, which they have lampooned mercilessly for weeks, poking fun at everything from the fuzzy math on how many attendees were there to see Palin to the seemingly contradictory message about faith and hope after Beck's nonstop bashing of President Obama for using hope as a trope in his 2008 presidential campaign.
On the Rally to Restore Sanity website, Stewart went into a bit more detail about his inspiration for the event.
"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" reads the intro on the site's homepage. "Who among us has not wanted to open their window and shout that at the top of their lungs? Seriously, who? Because we're looking for those people. We're looking for the 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."
Unlike Beck, who said it was just coincidence that he scheduled last month's event in the same place and on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, Stewart said the date of his gathering has "no significance whatsoever" and it's aimed at people who are too busy to go to rallies because they have "lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs)."
The comedian is hoping for a giant mass of people, but mostly he'd like some subversive, silly fun to go down. "Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement; the Million Man March, only a lot smaller, and a bit less of a sausage fest; or the Gathering of the Juggalos, but instead of throwing our feces at Tila Tequila, we'll be actively *not* throwing our feces at Tila Tequila," he promised. "Join us in the shadow of the Washington Monument. And bring your indoor voice. Or don't. If you'd rather stay home, go to work, or drive your kids to soccer practice ... Actually, please come anyway. Ask the sitter if she can stay a few extra hours, just this once. We'll make it worth your while."
Colbert's message about his rival March to Keep Fear Alive gathering was appropriately more red, white and blue, tinged with a bit of green, as in envy for his recent Emmy loss to Stewart.
"America, the Greatest Country God ever gave Man, was built on three bedrock principles: Freedom. Liberty. And Fear — that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty," he wrote. "But now, there are dark, optimistic forces trying to take away our Fear — forces with salt-and-pepper hair and way more Emmys than they need. 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."
Colbert encouraged his followers to pack an overnight bag with five extra pairs of underwear, because "you're going to need them." Around 25,000 people are expected to attend the "competing" events, which will cap a week of tapings by both programs in the nation's capital.
Do you plan to attend either one of the rallies? Tell us in the comments!