Who's rallying behind Jon Stewart as he rallies for sanity?
These are definitely good times for The Daily Show host, yet the question is, will he manage to keep his promise and avoid preaching, even on behalf of sanity?
Whatever became of Jon Stewart? Hold on! Wasn't he a full-hour guest on Larry King Live last week?
If memory serves, he also hosted the Too Many Stars benefit the next night on Comedy Central.
He has the nation's top-selling nonfiction book: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents Earth: A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race.
Just a few weeks ago, he snagged the cover of New York magazine, which stated that we're living in The Jon Stewart Decade.
And don't forget, President Barack Obama was his scheduled guest on Wednesday's Daily Show.
What else? Of course! Stewart and fellow Comedy Central wisenheimer Stephen Colbert are co-producing and co-hosting a rally in Washington this Saturday.
What rally? As everybody knows, it's the Rally to Restore Sanity and-or Fear, a stop-the-madness wake-up call occurring (more than coincidence?) three days before the midterm election.
The underlying message of this signal event, clad in the ironic trappings of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report: Stop being played by the manipulative, fear-mongering ruling class.
Outspoken yet facetious, both Stewart and Colbert (in his role as a right-wing
bloviator) have beat the drums for the rally since first announcing it six weeks.
Since then, it has furnished great comedic material for their respective programs as part of their hilarious Indecision 2010 election coverage. (The rally will be broadcast live and streamed online by Comedy Central from noon to 3 p.m. eastern time.)
The buildup has also drawn invaluable attention to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (which jointly occupy the 11 p.m. hour Mondays through Thursdays) as competition ignites in the form of Team Coco. Starting Nov. 8, Stewart will be going head-to-head against Conan O'Brien, another funny, 47-year-old white guy, on TBS.
While Stewart has repeatedly declared the rally won't be political in nature, it has given him worthy talking points about the nation's political climate.
As he said to Larry King, roughly 85 percent of the American people are reasonable people, whatever their ideological differences. But the other 15 percent control the national dialogue from the far extremes of the political spectrum, while the media serve as their enablers, focused on creating drama and a false sense of urgency.
The rally, said Stewart, is for all those people who are tired of their reflection in the media as being a divided country ... conflicted and fighting.
So far, so good.
But as the days, hours, minutes, seconds count down on the rally's website, a visitor can't help noticing the lack of details on the site that might explain what will actually happen on the National Mall.
Sure, as Stewart divulged under King's tough questioning, there WILL be Porta-Potties at the rally. (King presented one to Stewart during the show.)
But little else is known.
Make no mistake, Oprah Winfrey is supporting the rally. Two weeks ago, she surprised members of the studio audience at The Daily Show by announcing she will send them all to Washington.
Maybe she knows something the rest of us don't.
Meanwhile, we can surely be excused if our imaginations run wild. Especially for the biggest fans of Stewart and Colbert, can the rally we anticipate possibly be matched by what they have in store? They haven't promised us the moon - they haven't promised us anything beyond generalities - but the moon is what we expect. Or at least Lady Gaga and Desmond Tutu.
Are we fated to be disappointed?
Many of us have another brewing concern: Despite Stewart's insistence to the contrary, are he and Colbert perilously straying from illuminative mockery into full-blown political activism?
In the New York magazine article (which appeared several days before the rally was announced), Stewart spoke about his show's aversion to pushing a particular cause.
We try very hard to express ourselves but not move into, 'So follow me! And I will lead you to the land of answers, my people.' You can fall in love with your own idea of common sense, he said.
Indeed, it would seem a major leap to go from lampooning civic insanity - which Stewart and Colbert do without fail on TV - to preaching sanity on the National Mall.
On the other hand: Who is better qualified to try?
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