Answering Beck and call? Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert head to the Mall.

THEY'VE GOT A MESSAGE: "Rival" rallies are in the works. (Comedy Central Images)
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By Lisa de Moraes
Saturday, September 18, 2010

Comedy Central will stage the Mother of All Marketing Stunts on the Mall here in Washington -- oh wait, Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck already did that.

Anyway, Viacom-owned cable network Comedy Central will stage another Mother of All Mall Marketing Stunts on Oct. 30, when both its late-night hosts, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who plays the conservative, host opposing rallies.

"The Daily Show's" liberal Stewart announced on his show Thursday night his Rally to Restore Sanity, a.k.a. a Million Moderate March -- "a rally for the people who've been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs), not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority."

"See you on October 30, on the National Mall, spreading the timeless message: Take it down a notch for America," Stewart said at the bottom of Thursday's telecast.

"I am sorry, Jon Stewart, I will not take it down a notch. I will notch it up a skosh," Colbert said at the top of his show, immediately after Stewart's.

"Shame on you, Jon Stewart -- America cannot afford a rally to restore sanity in the middle of a recession. . . . Did you even consider how many panic-related jobs that might cost most of us in the fear-industrial complex?" Colbert ranted.

"On October 30, 2010, I am calling for the nation to join me on the Washington Mall for the March to Keep Fear Alive."

On its Web site, the cable network promises that the rally rivalry will be "bigger than Nixon/Kennedy, Ali/Foreman, Aniston/Jolie, 50 Cent/Nas, Joe/The Volcano, Alien/Predator, Bunny/Fudd and Ecks/Sever combined."

But Stewart and Colbert are operating in the shadow of prime-time FNC talking head Beck, who last fall asked "you, your family and neighbors to join me at the feet of Abraham Lincoln on the National Mall for the unveiling of The Plan and the birthday of a new national movement to restore our great country," on Aug. 28.

Imagine Beck's surprise -- really, he said he was -- when he discovered that his Restoring Honor rally date was the exact same day Martin Luther King Jr. had delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial 47 years earlier.

On his show, Stewart said the rally date has no significance -- except that he was planning to be in Washington anyway, Oct. 25-28, to tape a week of shows under the banner "When Grizzlies Attack: The Daily Show Midterm Teapartyganza" at the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall, as part of his "Indecision 2010" coverage of the midterm elections.

We've discovered that a permit application was submitted for the Oct. 30 rally rivalry, on Sept. 8 to the National Park Service by Minassian Media, Comedy Central and Chris Wayne and Associates.

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