Stewart's latest interview with Winfrey was officially set up to hawk copies of "Earth: A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race," the comedian's new book, but when Oprah flashed a picture of Beck and asked for Stewart's instant reaction, "The Daily Show" host couldn't help but chide the man whose "Restoring Honor" march provided much of the inspiration for his own upcoming rally.
"That's Glenn Beck. He's my moneymaker," Stewart said. "You know what I call him? My kids' college fund."
Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" and Stephen Colbert's "March to Keep Fear Alive," both of which skewer Beck's gathering to varying degrees, will take place on Oct. 30 at the Washington Mall.
Interest for the Beck send-up turned political plea for moderation has steadily grown over the past five days.
As of this afternoon, just over 119,000 people on Facebook indicated they would be at the "Rally to Restore Sanity," while another 46,000 said they would attend the "March to Keep Fear Alive." On Google, the "Rally to Restore Sanity" has been a top trending search term since Stewart announced his plans for the event on "The Daily Show."
Ride-sharing boards and hotel information have been posted at Comedy Central's website, and like-minded rallies and local meet-ups are fast springing up across the country for people who cannot trek all the way to the nation's capital.
Glenn Beck Responds
"8/28 was a historic event for a lot of Americans," Beck said. "I hope that Ed Schultz, the AFL-CIO, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and whoever else wants to plan a march in DC have the same great success that we had with Restoring Honor."
Stewart's Mixed Messages?
While Stewart's call to arms for American political moderation has been well received, in the past, the comedian has been hesitant to provide his audience with any sort of marching orders. Ironically, he detailed that position in a 2005 interview with none other than Oprah Winfrey herself.
On Tuesday's program, however, Stewart told Oprah that the "Rally to Restore Sanity" wasn't really about solving specific problems. Rather, Stewart portrayed the event as a way to provide a forum for those who feel drowned out by the cacophony of the 24-hour news cycle. As to the question of future political career, Stewart remained unequivocal.Oprah: You really became part of the public's consciousness during "Indecision 2000." Do you deny that you are powerful?
Jon: Yes -- I deny that I am powerful. Power implies an agenda that's being acted on.
Oprah: But more than anyone else, you have us thinking about politics differently.
Jon: Every generation has had its people who stand at the back and make fun of those in charge. When the Nazis came to power in the '30s, it created an incredible underground scene of satirical comedy. Peter Cook [a British comedian] once said with a straight face, "Yes, they really showed Hitler." That's how I see it. I'm not saying I'm powerless and in a vacuum. But if I really wanted to change things, I'd run for office. I haven't considered that, and I wouldn't -- because this is what I do well. The more I move away from comedy, the less competent I become.
"I would lose my mind almost immediately," Stewart told Winfrey. "My job is I make jokes. I don't solve problems. If my job became solving problems I would suddenly become a lot less good at what I do, unless the problem being had by the country was a lack of jokes."