Today’s Jon Stewart rally is a collaborative effort with Stephen Colbert. Yet the Jon Stewart rally is being treated as a referendum on The Daily Show host, both comedically and politically. However, Internet fans were calling for Colbert to march on Washington first, before his mentor came up with a bigger idea. Although Colbert wants to keep fear alive, Stewart has had the more publicized call to restore sanity. But now that the Jon Stewart rally is here today, there are even bigger questions abound than whether sanity can be restored.
Although Stewart and Colbert are combining forces today, the Daily Show host is the headlining figure, just as he is in late night. He stands to receive most of the credit or blame for today’s actions, no matter how they go. For weeks, pundits and fans have wondered if he could pull this off, or whether it was wise for him to try.
The Jon Stewart rally is bound to be a comedic and satirical event, first and foremost. He and Colbert will have their usual comic personas on display, with the same kind of jokes and satire regularly seen on The Daily Show and Colbert Report. Yet that alone might not be enough for a gathering like this.
Stewart, in particular, has left himself open to a new kind of scrutiny. He has turned himself into the symbol for moderation, as he is making more of a political statement than ever – even if he says he isn’t. In spite of the comedic bent, there is a serious undercurrent, as Stewart speaks for those who don’t call their opponents socialists or Nazis.
In this heated midterm campaign, there is little room for nuance or civilized discourse. This week alone offered further proof, with the head stomping at a Rand Paul rally, and someone posting about a one-night stand with Christine O’Donnell on Gawker. Yet although the Jon Stewart rally claims that both sides should take it down a notch, many still see bias against one side.
Since these plans were made shortly after Glenn Beck’s rally, right wingers see this as a swipe at him, and at Tea Party gatherings. Given that The Daily Show often leans to the left, and that Arianna Huffington is providing transportation for the crowd, the event has been seen as a last-ditch way to help Democrats.
However, not even Democrats and progressives are fully embracing the Jon Stewart rally. Hard core liberals are in no mood to tone their rhetoric down either, as they feel that doing so has destroyed the Obama administration. They feel the Democrats need to be much more confrontational against Republicans, so this kind of rally is seen as counterintuitive to their cause.
The event is walking a very fine line between the comedic and serious, the left and the right, and sanity and fear. If the Jon Stewart rally disappoints in any sense, then Stewart will take the brunt of the criticism, since this is his pet project and message. Leaving aside if there’s room for sanity in politics – will be there room for it in the reviews for today’s show?
TBD Arts- “A guide to the misguided criticism of the Stewart/Colbert rally”