Stewart brings sanity, comedy to capital

When it was certain that President Barack Obama would be the first sitting president to appear on “The Daily Show,” a perfect storm was brewing for Jon Stewart.

Not only would Stewart be interviewing the leader of the free world, but it was perfect publicity for his “Rally to Restore Sanity”, held in Washington, D.C., Saturday.

His interview with President Obama took place on Oct 27 and, unlike Stewart’s previous interviews with high ranking politicians—John Kerry in 2004—no softballs were offered up to the President.

“You ran with such, if I may, audacity, yet legislatively it has felt timid at times,” Stewart said, speaking on the President’s term in office so far.

“Jon, I love your show, but this is something where I have a profound disagreement with you,”  Obama said.

This was the most tense moment in the interview, but Stewart kept it lighthearted after this. He kept the interview rolling and, at one point, even referred to the President as “dude.”

The interview went off without a hitch, showing Stewart’s diligence is paying off and garnering him respect from many people and news networks for his fake news show. He wasn’t named 2009’s “most trusted man in America” by Time magazine’s online readership  for nothing.

The Wednesday interview was just a drop in the bucket for Stewart, though. His, along with Stephen Colbert’s, “Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Keep Fear Alive” held on the National Mall was the spectacle of the weekend.

An estimated 215,000 people showed up, giving the sense that most Americans still believe in politics but are upset by the way it is being administered.

Butler students who attended the rally had different expectations on what they were about to witness.

Butler senior Christy Hazuka was expecting more of a comedy show than a political one.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I don’t really watch ‘The Daily Show’ and the ‘Colbert Report’ as much as other people probably do,” Hazuka said. “I don’t think the audience really expected a political rally and I thought it was more of a comedic event.”

In reality it was a combination of both.

Although the musical acts, which included Yusuf Islam, Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Tweedy, John Legend, The Roots, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow, made it look like an all-star concert, some expected a political rally. In senior Reid Dvorak’s opinion, they got one.

“The highlight of the show was the keynote speech by Stewart at the end of the rally,” Dvorak said. “Even if there wasn’t music, celebs or even [Stephen] Colbert, the rally was still good.”

Stewart capped the rally with a 12-minute speech about his opinion on what is wrong with the country and how it could be fixed.

“We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is: on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate and how its a shame how we can’t work together to get things done,” Stewart said. “But the truth is, we do. We work together to get things done every damn day.”

Stewart’s message on how the media is partly responsible for the country’s political situation was well received by those in attendance, including Dvorak and those around him.

“His speech was simple but it was damn good,” Dvorak said. “He really delivered it well.”

So whether the occasionon Saturday was a comedic event or a political rally,  something all  in attendance could agree on were that the  rally signs people brought were genuinely funny and entertaining.

Junior Lauren Jones saw the rally signs as having great entertainment value.

“There were a lot of different people and groups in attendance who had some good signs,” she said.

So whether you agree with Stewart’s political views or not, the rally showed that overall, America must keep a sense of humor and try to maintain its sanity.

Stewart is doing his best to maintain both for us.


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