Followers of comedic political satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will gather Saturday to rally for either “sanity” or “fear” on the National Mall.
Stewart’s and Colbert’s rally is a response to Fox News personality Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally in August. Though the event is billed as apolitical, like Beck’s rally, it has the potential to be more influential than the Comedy Central duo lets on, as it takes place just a few days before the midterm elections.
Stewart and Colbert have kept much of the details surrounding the rally a secret, an attempt to parody the secrecy behind Beck’s August 28 event schedule, but reports from the National Park Service show hip-hop band The Roots, Sheryl Crow and Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy will perform.
Stewart has encouraged attendees to bring signs to the rally. He has made a joke out of sign content too, via the event’s website, where folks can upload the signs they plan to bring and his web audience can vote as to whether the sign is “sane” or not.
The most “sane” sign, as voted by Stewart’s online audience, is one that says “I understand the difference between communism, fascism, and socialism and don’t use the terms interchangeably.”
The least “sane” sign on the site alleges some kind of connection between intergalactic aliens and Catholics.
The NPS schedule has Stewart making his stage debut at 1:05 pm with Colbert following at 1:20. Actors Sam Waterston and Don Novello will join Colbert on stage.
Though the official rally is scheduled from noon to 3:00 pm on Saturday, the NPS expects pre-show events to begin at 10:00 am.
The NPS said the initial forms Comedy Central filed expected 60,000 attendees, but the Facebook pages for the two events combined now have more than 100,000 people saying they are attending, and hundreds of thousands more that say they might attend.
Another huge focus of the rally, as a result of a Wall Street Journal article, has been how many port-a-potties Comedy Central needs to order to accommodate the crowds. On his show Thursday night, Stewart ran a segment showing the port-a-potties have been delivered and are on-site. Comedy Central ordered about 500 lavatories. The WSJ suggests that 500 port-a-potties indicate an expected crowd size of about 150,000.