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Monday November 1, 2010 12:09 pm

Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert Restore Sanity

Despite the fact that Comedy Central’s Rally was thrown together in only a few weeks, and the fact that it revolved around two late night cable TV hosts, estimates show that more than a quarter million Americans flooded the National Mall for a dose of sanity … and/or fear.

The three-hour event was peppered with filler: a “special appearance” from the MythBusters hosts; musical performances by Ozzy Osbourne, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow, among others; even a long-winded benediction from former SNL regular “Father” Guido Sarducci -- but there were a few moments of sincerity mixed in with all the comedy.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who approached the rally with typically opposite points of view, faced off against each other in brief skits that felt a lot like a live, daytime version of their late-night talk shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report -- but somewhere in the middle of it all, a message did manage to shine through. Stewart’s “moment of sincerity,” his wrap-up speech, is viewable in the video above … and it’s definitely worth a watch.

As he stood before the crowd of 250,000 thousand (or, as he announced when he made his entrance, “over 10 million people,” depending on which estimate you use), Jon Stewart reminded the world that “We live not in hard times ... not end times.”

Poignantly, the rally was a dig at 24/7 all-news channels that spread fear and take the art of exaggeration to a whole new level. As Stewart said, “The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems ... illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or, they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire," he explained. "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing."

The crowd backed him up every step of the way. Many supporters arrived to the event wearing goofy Halloween costumes and carrying signs, most of which had little to do with sanity, fear or even politics. Some of the best signs in the crowd were meant more for comedy than effect (much like the Comedy Central shows which hosted): “I Hate Crowds,” “Stop Glee from Making Themed Episodes,” “I Have a Really Big Sign,” “Toy Story 2 was okay,” “I’m moderately excited for this,” and our favorite, “Matt Damon.”



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