Stewart, Colbert to hold competing D.C. rallies

Comedy Central stars Stephen Colbert (left) and Jon Stewart plan competing rallies next month on the National Mall.

WASHINGTON -- "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart is hosting a "million moderate march" in Washington -- for people who think shouting is annoying -- but faux political nemesis Stephen Colbert will be nearby to keep fear alive against those "dark, optimistic forces."

The former Charleston resident, host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," and his archenemy on the network plan to hold opposing political rallies on the National Mall just before the November elections.

Stewart interrupted his regular fake newscast Thursday night to announce a "Rally to Restore Sanity" Oct. 30. He said it's for people too busy with their normal lives to go to other political rallies.

"We're looking for people who think shouting is annoying ... who feel that the loudest voices shouldn't be the only ones that get heard," Stewart writes in promotion for his rally.

Nearby, Colbert announced a "March to Keep Fear Alive" to restore "truthiness" to the nation. For those who don't know, truthiness was a 2006 word of the year that means "truth that comes from the gut, not books."

Colbert is encouraging "all freedom-loving patriots" to bring an overnight bag and five extra sets of underwear to challenge Stewart's "dark, optimistic forces." He said the nation can't afford a rally to restore sanity in the middle of a recession.

He wrote the United States is built on three bedrock principles: freedom, liberty and fear.

"They want to replace our fear with reason," he wrote. "But never forget 'reason' is just one letter away from 'treason.' "

The events come a few weeks after Glenn Beck's recent rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington. Stewart's website notes Oct. 30 was chosen as a date "of no significance whatsoever."

The rallies take aim at extremists from the political fringes. Stewart said it will give voice to about 70 percent to 80 percent of Americans who aren't heard in daily political discourse.

Stewart and Colbert have filed a single application for a permit to host 25,000 people on the Washington Monument grounds, National Park Service spokesman Bill Line said Friday. It hasn't been approved yet.