The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was, of all things, boring. From a Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rally I expected something more. I really didn’t know what – what is a rally to restore sanity anyway? What is a march to keep fear alive? And what in the hell is a rally to do both? I think that nobody knows even now, including Stewart and Colbert. But given that the two of them were hosting the show, the least I expected was great comedy.
Instead we started off with an hour of music and party games. The band – The Roots, joined at some point by John Legend – was good and funky, though not what I had traveled from New York City for. After them the hosts of the TV show Mythbusters took over and played around with having the absolutely giant crowd do the wave, then all jump at the same time – essentially some exercises to demonstrate that the crowd was absolutely giant. Sadly they threw in some kindergarten-level Simon Says-type exercises that just made me sad. They themselves said this was by far the largest audience they had ever had, yet the most creative they could get was to have everyone “laugh politely” or “cry” on cue. Dog obedience school is probably more stimulating.
All that took up a whole hour before we saw hide or hair of either of our hosts. And once Stewart and Colbert finally showed I sort of wished they hadn’t. I wanted to laugh for them instead of feel uncomfortable for them, but they did not make it easy. Colbert was no more than the court jester, a role far beneath both the man and the character. On the Colbert Report he doesn’t just act the clown – he makes incisive commentary, and he doesn’t hesitate to point out when the Right gets something right. At the rally he just cavorted in silly costumes and played the fool. The tone was set when he made his entrance from beneath the stage in a painfully slow reenactment of the Chilean miners’ rescue. Not funny.