NewsHammer Exclusive: It wasn't (Jimmy) Stewart Goes to Washington, but the 2010 retread with Jon and his alter-ego, the Caped Crusader For Fear, pal Stephen Colbert. Thanks for trying you guys, but the Capitol boys and girls back of the stage have been in a time warp since way before Capra, about when Mark Twain discovered Planet Washington in 1868:

I believe the Prince of Darkness could start a branch hell in the District of Columbia (if he has not already done it), and carry it on unimpeached by the Congress of the United States, even though the Constitution were bristling with articles forbidding hells in this country.
Anyway the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear 10.30.10 was a big success. "10 Million People," said Jon to a packed Washington Mall, to make sure it wasn't under-reported by Media told not to go by Media unless in an official reporting capacity, which was stranger than fiction but true. Like don't go to Disney World unless you should be suspected of hitting on Snow White or maybe the Seven Dwarfs. Or being one of those millions of Daily Show/Colbert Report sympathisers where you can be outed by Fox and slammed all week for the stinkin' left wing liberal media mafia everyone knows you are.

Was it fun and/or serious? Better than small late box TV and live from sunny (a lucky break) Washington for 3 great hours without commercials. Meaningful? Sure as a bit of Theater of the Absurd, an Anti-Rally for the ghosts of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin who had haunted these same precincts this summer under the Washington Monument on their mission for Restoring Honor. (Alterate video link)

Preshow With Beck And More Beck

Happily Stewart and Colbert did not turn the Mall into an AA Meeting and didn't swear off or condemn anything, at least not with high sobriety. More subtly than you might think, these guys did manage something of a funeral for the 9/11 Age of Paranoia. Thing is on a low budget you can't dig a hole in Washington deep enough to bury Terror. With more cash, not a chance when there are bomb-proof bunkers everywhere. We saw Colbert climbing out of one under the stage, hiding snce Thursday, afraid yes afraid no one would come.

Parachuting in Father Guido Sarducci of the Church of Saturday Night Live was a nice try to blur all religious distinctions as not up to scratch anyway with God, so we can presumably get back to partying like when St. Belushi was alive. Not the big enough moment though. Maybe a million little gold-plated shovels engraved with Bury Fear Alive tossed into the crowd by Sarducci himself might have been more chilling and effective. Other big moments for the Rally were also edited out for the same reason, think small for lack of cash, the No Bailouts For Main Street from Planet Washington conspicuously looming behind the bare bones stage, a thin LCD Jumbotron threatening to blow away.

Still Stewart and Colbert got it right, mano a mano in a nicely scripted pillow fight between age old protagonist and antagonist, Sanity Vs Fear. More trashing of historic rallies and inaugurations in general. From the Benediction to The Poem and from Poet Laureate Colbert it did sound authentically bombastic enough to be the real deal, a kind of Shopping List Anthem. Sorry I can't be sure as you don't tend to listen to mere words in bouts of high oratory. Careful Steve, you could send a country, a continent to war.

First Washington Then Maybe Maryland After I Get A Coffee

Lots of fill-in mini events like Sheryl Crow and the bands and guest stars to add some punch and sparkle. Sam Waterston who should be President. R2D2 and a 7 year old girl who gets a medal from Jon for Sanity while Stephen awards his Medal of Fear to Anderson Cooper's Black Tshirt. When Anderson the Grim Reaper and CNN invade your neck of the woods, you know you've got trouble. Soundbites for quick crowd participation. Mythbusters to open on Can Two Guys Generate Crowd Waves that actually worked over and over again rolling through the Mall. Nice job from Adam and Jaime who didn't have to blow anything up this time in the name of National Security. Tony Bennett to close with a lighter clear-eyed patriotic Say Can You See...

Jon Stewart has the last word after slaying Steve's Giant Dummy of Fear, with his Un-named Holland Tunnel Speech like we're all a lot of goofy weird cars with nothing else in common, peacefully driving together down Life's Highway trying to squeeze down to one lane. And it works in the USA! Ipso facto (like ants for instance) we must be doing something right and why doesn't it work for the rest of the world?

Which plays back to the Rally's Biggest Moment. Yusuf Cat Stevens in person after disappearing into Islam for ages gets to sing Peace Train again. Maybe a serious thoughtful moment for bridge building, but no, Colbert on his own Terror Express won't have any piece of that train. Enter Ozzy Osbourne on a collision course burned out from Hell still, but respectable enough for an afternoon Crazy Train. The Battle of the Trains is a comic gamble that shocks the crowd and sort of works by not being funny. When it can't of course resolve into a feel-good theme park ride like Jon's Cars Into The Tunnel, there's only one way to save the day, the O'Jays and Love Train.

In this bedtime storybook from Jon and Stephen we'll take the Love Train. A bit sticky and sweet like Caramilk but tomorrow it's Halloween and Trick or Treat.

--Alan Gillis

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*****UPDATE Gaddafi Hijacks Jon Stewart Video Link

March 11, 2011 Tripoli

Forces of Darkness reported (inadvertently) through MSNBC which uses so much video code you never know what's next. See the original Jon Stewart/Glenn Beck Match Of The Century in the sidebar video on your right.

It only confirms what Stephen Colbert, The Caped Crusader For Fear, was trying to tell us: Stay home and watch TV. It's safer.

If you need a recap of the Autumn of Our Discontent, well everybody in Washington went home. A lot of people are now taking NetFlix seriously and are watching for Tsunamis from Japan.

--Alan Gillis