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. Siara

    I hope this really happens. I am so tired of listening to the free-for-all of obnoxious political extremists misquote the founding fathers.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Siara

    October 30th– the day before Halloween. Also the last Saturday before elcection day. Good thinking Stewart & Colbert.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris

    CNN: Are you serious? You're comparing Beck and MLK's "I have a dream" speech to Stewart, Colbert, and.... the debut of PT Barnum's circus. Or when Quebec decided to remain a part of Canada. Ah, yes. 10/30, a day that everyone knows... as simply the day before Halloween.

    It's lapses like this that compromise journalism.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ptj

    October 30th is not just the day before HalloweenI the eve is Mischief Night. Very appropriate. What happened? Don't you people that blogged live in America?

    September 17, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. duke

    Ha,Ha!!Tea-party parody,At least Their fearless leader Beck told them to stop wearing them funny costumes(isn't that funny)I thought you all were about being free and not being tread-upon and all that good stuff??
    Anyway that night looks to be the night that half of the globe will be laughing at the Tea lovers.

    September 17, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. harley883

    we are so there!!!!

    September 17, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. descarado

    Who is Jon Stewart?

    September 17, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • athought

      Not sure...maybe that guy who wrote the essay "On Liberty."

      September 17, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ConcernedTVViewer

    Daily Show was so much funnier before Jon Stewart came on and all of the correspondents left. Remember the Beth Liddleford interviews? Now that was comedy! And 5 questions, haha...

    September 17, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nell

    It sounds like Stewart will be counting down to Election Day with a week of programs from Washington. A rally will show how the Colbert Nation responds to a rallying call; the media is already taking notice. The rallies will be significant if they help motivate the voters who were gamechangers in '08. The signs should be entertaining; so will interviews with those in attendance. Will there be live coverage? Certainly, FOX will be checking the size of the crowd.

    September 17, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chef

    Terrance and Phillip do D.C. – Woohoo!

    =\
    =/
    |

    September 17, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. yosemitecee

    In fact P T Barnum NEVER said "there's a sucker born every minute" and Barnum's circus opened their first season on the 10th of April,1871 and NOT on October 30th of 1873. So much for the circus connection to this date!

    September 17, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike in NM

    Oct 30 is also the birthday of two classic writers, whose books are often found next to one another when shelved alphabetically by author: John Donne, Feyedor Dostoevsky. Together they might've penned, "No man is an idiot."

    September 18, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. half-minute man

    We at the American Tea Party do not have a sense of humor we're aware of, so the comedy component of the rally might be lost on me. However, I am looking forward to Colbert clobbering Stewart as Stewart, I understand, is dismissive and sarcastic about the threats to America. Yes, we should be afraid – very afraid and Colbert will lay out a clear and convincing argument for this fear. With insights gained through his think tank he will deftly disarm and ultimately humiliate Stewart. Somehow, without using powerful words like “moron” and “idiot” he seems to do pretty well with these libtards. Wish I had his intellectual horsepower (and horse sense, lol!!) but just grateful he is on our side.

    September 18, 2010 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Is this guy serious??? If so, wow. How bad does it smell when you talk out of that end?

      September 18, 2010 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Corwin

      Amazing...I was half convinced that no human being could possibly be a stupid as teabagger conservatives are reputed to be and here you go and prove the fact. You truly don't realize that Colbert's show is a redicule spoof of the "no spin zone" hack on Faux? Sad...so sad.

      September 18, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
    • half-minute man

      Are you employing what they call "satire"? If so, it's wasted on me. I am as serious as syphilis on a sissy. Since you bring up such an unsavory topic, let me just ask you! Do you think that your "you know what" doesn't stink? Which is it Chris?
      A.____...YES
      B.____...NO

      September 18, 2010 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. Corwin

    I, too, wish you had Colbert's mental horsepower...but then you, as he, would most likely be liberal.

    September 18, 2010 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
    • half-minute man

      Hey Corwin: Spoof? I’ve heard of this. I've been watching this show since it launched in October of 2005! This might explain why my stupid college educated in-laws seem to be laughing at the most inappropriate times. In fact, I wondered why any part of Colbert was funny. I just thought they were on maryjane or something, but now I guess it's because it's satirical – right? So are all funny things, like calling liberals "pinheads" and the word “moron” satirical? What about running a Hybred off the road (cap & trading Prius’s)? Is this a “spoof”? You got to admit it’s funny if nobody gets hurt.

      September 18, 2010 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Faisal

    these people are a disgrace to america, and to the world. mocking at life

    September 18, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
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