10 years ago, at the height of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held a massive rally in Washington D.C. in an attempt to mitigate hyperbolic partisan division that had festered during the George W. Bush administration. Stewart had termed it "The Rally to Restore Sanity" and hoped it would encourage a return to reasoned discussion of real issues while also being a fun comedy and music festival.
Colbert, who was still firmly in satirical character as right-wing blowhard "Stephen Colbert," responded by organizing a "March to Keep Fear Alive." Eventually, the two combined forces and it was called "The Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear."
Friday night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Stewart showed up to commemorate that event and, in light of all that's happened in the "271 years" that Trump has been president, sadly concede to Colbert that "You won. It was a shut-out. A shellacking. I had no idea fear was that strong."
What followed was a very cathartic conversation about the anxiety and terror about what's on the horizon with the election, with Stewart wondering if they've almost reached the finish line or only the halfway point of this marathon of resilience and putting Colbert on the spot to come up with an inspirational Lord of the Rings reference to make us all feel better.
Of course, renowned J.R.R. Tolkien fanatic Colbert came through with the touching spirit of Samwise Gamgee. That prompted Stewart to say "I'm going to cry. You're my Dolly Parton," in reference to last week's episode where Parton brought Colbert to tears with an impromptu song.
Stewart's just-announced new current events series coming to Apple TV+ was also briefly mentioned, with Stewart quipping that it will only be available on "iPods with the little scroll wheel."
The segment was capped off with a surprise appearance from 94-year-old Tony Bennett, who performed at that rally, joking about how Stewart "looks so old."
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 PM ET on CBS.
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Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.