September 17th, 2010
04:37 PM ET

Colbert, Stewart rallies on 'date of no significance'?

P.T. Barnum's "Greatest Show on Earth" debuted October 30, 1873.

When Jon Stewart raised the idea of doing a march in Washington, he said he wanted to make sure it was "on a date of no significance."

Stewart publicly floated the idea of a counter-rally to Glenn Beck's much-publicized "Restoring Honor" rally on the National Mall in a profile in the September 12 edition of New York magazine. Beck's rally was held on the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered in the same place.

So when Stewart and Comedy Central's other favorite funny man, Stephen Colbert, decided to announce rallies of their own in the nation's capital October 30, we had to take a look into history to see whether the date held a clean slate or whether there were some moments in time the two comedians might be ironically, or purposely, shining a light on.

Although it's likely any single day they chose could have some ironies to it, it turns out there are a number of interesting events in history that have taken place October 30.

Perhaps the double team of Stewart and Colbert are hoping their respective rallies will be regarded as the "Greatest Shows on Earth" - after all, P.T. Barnum's now-well-known circus did debut October 30, 1873. (If nothing else, it'd be a nod to the show's creator, who is also known for coining the phrase "there's a sucker born every minute"). Are you trying to send a tongue-in-cheek message to us, men of comedy?

Or perhaps the date of the rallies, and their place on the Mall, could be a nod to several historic moments in time. Here are a few of the other big events that have taken place on October 30. Are any the impetus behind the date's use? Or just a coincidence? Share your thoughts in the comments bellow.

  • In 1905, Russian Czar Nicholas II signed the "October Manifesto," which granted civil liberties like the freedom of speech, press, assembly and worship as well as political liberties. With one stroke of the pen on October 30, Russia had a constitution and became a constitutional monarchy.
  • In 1918, the Ottoman Empire signed an armistice with the Allied powers, ending World War I in the Middle East, which enabled Britain and other countries to begin carving out boundaries in the area - and essentially marking the dissolution of the Empire to partition several countries, including Iraq and Iran.
  • In 1938, Orson Welles created panic across the country when he broadcast an adaptation of "War of the Worlds" on the radio. Some chaos ensued because of the style and format of the broadcast: The first parts of the show were presented like news bulletins, confusing many listeners, who thought there was an actual Martian invasion currently happening. We wonder if perhaps Colbert and Stewart want to start a little shakeup of their own.
  • In 1944, the use of gas chambers in concentration camps during the Holocaust was officially put to a stop on October 30.
  • In 1945, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball by signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The fight against racial segregation also took a large step forward on October 30 of another year - 1954 - when the U.S. armed forces officially ended the practice within their ranks.
  • In 1950, Pope Pius XII witnessed "the Miracle of the Sun" at the Vatican. "I was awestruck by a phenomenon that before now I had never seen," the pope reportedly said in a memo. "The sun, which was still quite high, looked like a pale, opaque sphere, entirely surrounded by a luminous circle," he recounted. You could look at the sun "without the slightest bother. There was a very light little cloud in front of it."
  • October 30, 1974, was also a huge day in sports. The famous Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire.
  • And finally, in 1995, Quebec made a big decision of its own on October 30 and voted on a referendum to remain part of Canada.
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. James

    How do you miss reporting the fact that this started on reddit.com?

    September 17, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • the first rule of reddit is

      not that anyone here should visit reddit
      ya'll can hit up digg.com, yo

      September 18, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chach

    I'm buying a ticket for DC today. The rational and sane should descend on DC in EPIC numbers and put Glen Beck's pathetic, self-satisfying, Christian-right-wing-fear-fest to shame.

    September 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMmobile87

      Don't forget to book your hotel room right away – keep those kids from becoming gay! 😉

      September 17, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • chazkelly

      Ooooohhhh-kay.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • athought

      Actually, the rational and sane are currently in the majority in the DC area right now. We want to keep it that way!

      September 17, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. IglooGod

    Really!?? That is what they thought was interesting about this story?! They couldn't get these two masters of political satire for an interview?? I love how they both throw punches at Dems & Republicans – granted Stewart often hits harder on Repbulicans, but its great stuff...oh and check out www FanaticModerateParty com – thats right a site dedicated to being fanatically moderate..

    September 17, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris

    Already booked a flight last night. The great thing is, in less than 16 hours, the same flight we booked has doubled in price. Granted we're coming from hippieville, but that's still an impressive change.

    September 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lenny

    When Jon Stewart raised the idea of doing a march in Washington, he said he wanted to make sure it was "on a date of no significance."

    That's not what he said. He said his show would already be in town the week before and they wanted Friday off to prepare for Saturday, thats why they chose that Saturday. Is CNN really this bad at reporting they can't even accurately report on a comedy TV show?

    September 17, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Dude

    A date of no significance?????? Halloween eve is kind of a big deal!!!

    September 17, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jason

    wow, you get paid for this Mallory? Or a better question, your assignment editor gets paid to assign you to this type of 'research'?

    September 17, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Andy

    P.T. Barnum did NOT say "There's a sucker born every minute." He had nothing but respect for his audience. That line was attributed to him by one of his business rivals in an effort to tarnish his image.

    September 17, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • athought

      Standing up for ol' P.T.! That is really very nice of you. Regardless of who said it, I always thought "one a minute" might be a bit of an underestimate.

      September 17, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Onan

    Do it, but don't do it with lust in your heart.

    September 17, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Anonymous

    These two are brilliant! I love both their shows and sense-of-humors! It's not hard, these days, to find humor in politics and on CNN. Way to go Jon and Stephen!

    September 17, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bryan

    In part of your research... did you even watch the show? Or was your only reference another CNN article?

    September 17, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JJWW

    Wasn't October 30th Hitler's Birthday?

    September 17, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lara

      I don't know if you're serious or not but that's April 20th.

      September 17, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJWW

      Why do you know when Hitler's birthday is?

      September 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zack

      That is common knowledge.

      September 17, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sunil

    I'm glad CNN knows how to use Wikipedia.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Vivien, NYC

    It is the day before Halloween!

    September 17, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Andrew

    Isn't it also Halloween Eve? i.e. Devil's night?

    September 17, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
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