Then, in the summer, as we’re finishing the book, Glenn Beck announces he’s going to have this rally and Jon says, “We should have a rally of our own. We should go out there and have a Rally to Restore Sanity.” And I thought, “please let him forget this” – because he’ll do that sometimes, he’ll say something then [drop it]. I thought it sounded like the worst possible idea. A comedy rally? Do not let this happen.Then I didn’t hear anything about it for a couple months; I thought, “Thank God, he forgot.” Then the Beck rally starts to come closer and Jon’s like “We’re going to do that rally,” and I was like, shit.I grew up going to a lot of rallies and protests and I thought you can’t do comedy bits like we do on the show for such a large crowd. I was thinking, “This is going to be such a catastrophe.” And then, again, as it came closer I was like, “Holy shit.” It was incredible; it was an amazing experience. I know it had some dissenters, which is alright. It should.
While the gang over at Reddit may have taken some of the credit for convincing the Daily Show and Colbert Report crews to have a rally in DC to rival Glenn Beck’s rally, it turns out that Jon Stewart had been planning the Rally to Restore Sanity since even before Beck had his. According to Full Stop’s interview with Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh, the rally was a long time in the making:Here’s the original post on Reddit that supposedly inspired the whole shebang; it was posted on August 31st, three days after Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally. If Radosh’s timing is accurate, Stewart had already been planning the rally for a while at that point.
That’s not to say Reddit had nothing to do with the rally. The huge amount of money they donated to Donor’s Choose clearly had a big effect on Colbert, and they helped whip the internet up into a fervor about the idea of a satirical political rally. But to say that the initial idea was theirs doesn’t seem to be the case.