The e2k team, led by Michael Olmstead, co-produced Saturday’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear with Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and an all-star cast, including Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, The Roots, Tony Bennett, Ozzie Osborne, Yusef Islam (fka Cat Stevens), Sam Waterson, Father Guido Sarducci, Jeff Tweedy, Marva Staples, and R2D2. E2k worked with our Washington-based partners, Chris Wayne & Associates and Minassian Media to bring this historic event to life.
Over 215,000 people from across the country made the journey to Washington to be a part of this unprecedented event. Originally seen as a response to the Glenn Beck Rally in August, the Rally to Restore Sanity became a lightning rod for millions of Americans who are tired of the irrational name-calling, and bi-partisan bickering that dominates the television news and the Congressional debates. As Stewart said on stage: “If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.”
The Rally combined comedy, music, and politics, was televised, live, on Comedy Central from 12:00pm-3:00pm, commercial free. The program was also webcast on comedycentral.com. In addition, over 400 accredited media, including all the major networks, covered the event. “We began producing an event for 30,000 people with a taped TV show. One month later, we were producing an event for 200,000 people, televised live.” The e2k team was responsible for technical production, broadcast interface, staging, talent management, volunteer coordination, and pre-show direction.
e2k Technical Director, Mike Brady, and Production Manager, Danny Huebsch led a team of over 120 technical staff and crew to build a massive venue with twelve jumbotron screens, ten audio delay towers, satellite dishes, and complex technical logistics connecting the broadcast to the live event and media outlets. Shannon Ellis led the talent management team, working closely with the talent coordinators from both Daily Show and the Colbert Report. She was joined on site by Peter Dergee, and Jeannine Sabo. Maria Giannini was one of three stage managers, keeping the non-stop production moving. Trisha Ricci oversaw the recruitment and coordination of over 700 volunteers serving a guides, greening assistants, parking attendants, etc. “The format and scope of the event required expertise from many different arenas,” Olmstead explained. “You had one team that works in a controlled TV studio environment, working with the best DC political event and communications people, working with the team that produces large-scale, live entertainment events-it took a village.” In the end, the results spoke for themselves as the massive crowd cheered, laughed, danced, did the wave, and displayed their crazy costumes and signs. “Looking back from the director’s platform, there were people as far as I could see-it really gave you goosebumps.”
In addition to the DC Rally, at least 50 self-organized events sprang up around the country with people watching the show and adding their own local entertainment and speeches. It is a sign of these strange times we live in where many issues have become so inflammatory that they can only be addressed through humor. Only the court jester now speaks with impunity.
Click Here to check out Rally highlights.