Highs: Jon Stewart, who makes his living as a satirist on The Daily Show skewering politicos and the media, and Stephen Colbert, who poses as an ultraconservative on his show The Colbert Report, gathered a crowd of some 215,000 fans on October 30 when they took their Comedy Central fake-news shows to the National Mall to hold what they called the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. After a midterm-election campaign filled with high-pitched partisan rhetoric and unyielding positions, Stewart and Colbert gave voice to those who felt drowned out amid the constant shouting between right and left. In the process the two comedians cemented themselves as two of the most influential entertainers today.
Lows: When celebrities come to Washington, they usually use their notoriety to call attention to an important cause. But when Stephen Colbert served as an expert witness before the House committee on illegal immigration, testifying about his experience as a vegetable picker on a farm in upstate New York as part of the United Farm Workers' Take Our Jobs campaign that has offered citizens and legal residents jobs as field laborers, he testified in character as the ultraconservative host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. Instead of using his star power to shed light on the plight of farm workers, he encouraged Americans to eat less fruits and vegetables. Some of his fans raved about it as a biting piece of political satire, but it's one time when we really wish Colbert had played it straight.