Most Internet petitions tend to fizzle out without much happening. But Reddit’s movement for a Stephen Colbert-hosted rally has raised major attention, and more than $100,000 for charity.
It all started with one Reddit user, mrsammercer, posting about an idea he had in a dream — Stephen Colbert hosting a mock rally in response to Glenn Beck’s recent Restoring Honor event in Washington, D.C. Fellow users took action, dubbing the event Restoring Truthiness, designing a new Reddit page for the event and hosting their own website.
Instead of simply using these sites to pester Colbert, fans decided to get some attention by doing some good. In only one day, the Restoring Truthiness movement has donated $100,000 and counting to educational charities through DonorsChoose.org, an organization of which Colbert is a board member. The money came so quickly that DonorsChoose.org’s server broke, and Reddit users shattered Hillary Clinton’s previous record of raising $29,945 for DonorsChoose. (“Stephen Colbert” made our Top 10 Alter Egos list.)
And the people behind The Colbert Report are certainly paying attention. A recent New York magazine profile of Jon Stewart mentions “discussion of a possible Stewart-Colbert public event, a parody of Beck’s ‘Restoring Honor’ rally.” Last week, Stewart teased his audience, announcing he may make an announcement, which led to him and Colbert teasing each other, and Reddit, by “denouncing” each others’ “announcements.”
On last night’s Colbert Report, Colbert directly addressed the web’s efforts. He noted that fans have sent him stuffed ducks, and even released live doves near his studio, in response to a joke last week that God would have to send doves as a sign he should hold a rally. But Colbert’s big announcement? He wants fans to stop sending live animals. (The Daily Show is one of our Top 100 TV shows of all time.)
He signed off the segment by saying any rally announcement would come right after Jon Stewart makes his maybe-announcement. Perhaps the goodwill of the Colbert Nation will help that announcement come quickly — if Redditors get their way, the rally will happen October 10.