On Oct. 30, as talk-show host Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and Stephen Colbert’s March to Keep Fear Alive take place in Washington, D.C., they will be simulcast at a Los Angeles rally at the Levitt Pavilion at MacArthur Park.
Organizers Amy Lee and Ashley Wright decided to hold the local event — titled “Rally to Restore Sanity: Los Angeles” — shortly after Stewart announced his plan on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and after they realized that they couldn’t afford the trip to Washington.
Wright said she admires both Stewart and Colbert and identifies with the language of Stewart’s rally, though she aligns neither with left or right politics.
“I’m a big fan of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and I love the quote, ‘Take it down a notch for America,’ ” Wright said, referring to a tagline for Stewart’s rally. “There’s a lot of political rhetoric that’s reported in the media that’s very extreme. I feel like I’m in the middle for most issues.”
As of Oct. 25, Wright said she and Lee had raised $9,000 to pay for their event. They need to raise $11,000 to break even, according to the event’s Facebook page. Nearly 5,000 people had joined the L.A. rally’s Facebook group. Wright said she expects thousands of people to come out on Oct. 30, a number she can’t quite fathom.
“We definitely have been surprised by what it’s turned into,” Wright said. “We thought it would be a couple hundred people hanging out at the Federal Building with some signs.”
The rally will last from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to the Facebook page, with the first three hours devoted to a live feed via a Jumbotron screen and the last two hours filled with comedians and speakers (Wright had not yet confirmed the lineup as of press time). In the spirit of Colbert’s March to Keep Fear Alive, a large group of people will dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” during the Los Angeles rally.
During the past two weeks, Wright and other rally organizers — a team of 15 people, she said — have scrambled to host fundraisers around the city and find a new location after a scheduling conflict at Pershing Square disrupted plans to hold the rally there. L.A. resident Linda Kasoff, who said she had donated $25 toward the rally, expressed what she thinks distinguishes the upcoming event from typical rallies.
“It feels like a peace event or an anti-war protest,” Kasoff said. “Sounds very kumbaya when I say it like that, but that’s how I feel.”