Washington — Comedy Central funnymen Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart drew a crowd of celebrities and fans alike Saturday in Washington, D.C., with names such as Ozzy Osbourne and actor Sam Waterston joining the duo for their “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.”
Those in the lineup entertained throngs of people who were on the National Mall while more lined the streets and monuments surrounding the rally.
Tobin Strohl, a Dublin, Ohio, resident, attributed the turnout to Stewart, saying he inspired everyday people to become more aware of politics.
The radical extremes have taken over the media,” said Strohl, who made the trip to Washington, D.C. for the rally with his wife, Samantha, an alumna of Ohio State. Stewart really struck a nerve in people who might not have had the time to be politically active before. We want to be politically active, but we have dinner to put on the table.”
The Strohls brought their two sons, Jeremy and Samuel, along with them on the trip.
“It was quite the trip. We hopped on the Metro from our hotel and it took us about an hour to get here with the strollers and chairs. We got about as close as we could, but it has been well worth it,” Samantha Strohl said.
The family set up camp just in front of the Washington Monument on the opposite end of the mall from the rally in front of the Capitol Building, with a view of the entire area.
“There has to be about five times as many people here as fit in the Horseshoe,” Tobin Strohl said. “It’s simply amazing.”
Tyler and Meghan Brooks, however, had to work their way out of the crowd much closer to the action. The couple, also from Columbus, took a seven-hour road trip to D.C. for the rally.
“It was hard to get in, you had to push, but it was really great,” Tyler Brooks said. “We can’t believe how many people are here.”
As they exited the rally, the Brooks said they saw lots of people with signs and costumes mocking the Tea Party and Fox News Channel, popular targets of Stewart and Colbert’s satire.
Michael Trollan stood in the mall near Seventh Avenue holding up his MacBook Air with the words”Fox News says there are 100 people here.”
Trollan said his sign was in an effort to mock Sean Hannity, a host on Fox, who reportedly used old footage to make a Tea Party rally in November seem larger than it actually was.
No crowd estimates have been made thus far for Saturday’s rally, but it nearly filled the National Mall.
Other signs at the rally paid tribute to Colbert’s notion that Americans should be afraid of the state of their country’s political system.
Christoph Schwaiger, a native of France, came to the rally as a part of a four-month trip throughout the United States. He and a friend, Ian Kellett of Montana, held signs that read “(totally) scared” and “you can’t spell COURAGE without RAGE.”