Comedy Central host and satirist Jon Stewart says his intention at today's Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear on the National Mall was to make the point that we "live in hard times, not end times" and that "we can have animus and not be enemies."
Stewart, along with fellow Comedy Central comedian Stephen Colbert, headlined the event. Stewart says it was not meant to be a political occasion or a counter to Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally in August. Beck is a host on Fox News Channel.
Still, Stewart and Colbert poked fun at cable news and unnamed others for constantly "telling us new things to be afraid of," although Stewart went on to argue that "most of those fears are overblown; they'll never come true."
He urged the crowd to use their TV remote controls as a "weapon...change the channel."
Many in the crowd were much more overtly political. They carried signs and wore costumes critical of Tea Partiers, former President George W Bush, and Fox News Channel. Others took a more jovial approach on this Halloween weekend and came dressed as wizards, McDonald's french fries, and Alice in Wonderland.
The National Park Service no longer provides immediate crowd estimates, but Stewart jokingly estimated that there were 10 million people in attendance at the rally. And then he asked the crowd to jump at the same time to try to cause a seismic event.