People packed Wild Joe's Coffee House on Main Street Saturday to watch a live broadcast of comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in the nation's capital.
With signs bearing slogans like "Less Hannity, More Sanity," and "I disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler," attendees of the "Bozeman Rally to Restore Sanity" watched the main rally on two projection screens at the back of the café.
The coffeehouse gathering was intended to give people who couldn't attend the Washington, D.C., rally a chance to participate, said Ron Gompertz, who organized the rally with Cara Wilder.
"It's such a reasonable message and it's a nonpartisan event," he said.
The Stewart-Colbert event, billed as a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to the "Restoring Honor" rally organized by Fox News' Glenn Beck in August, was held Saturday afternoon on the National Mall.
The three-hour program featured celebrity performers including Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Tony Bennett and Yusuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens.
In one skit, Stewart and Colbert dueled through competing song performances.
Stewart's side was represented by Islam, who sang "Peace Train." Colbert interrupted partway through to bring out Ozzie Osborne, who performed "Crazy Train."
The battle ended with both sides coming together for the O'Jays' "Love Train."
Gompertz said he and Wilder invited Democratic and Republican voters and political candidates to attend, but conceded the crowd at the coffeehouse was primarily "progressive."
Longtime-activist Dorothy Eck was in attendance, as was Bethany Letiecq of the Gallatin Valley Human Rights Task Force and Bozeman City Commissioner Carson Taylor.
Taylor said the crowded room probably indicated that "people are frustrated and the world is getting much more complex."
The national event's theme of seeking "sanity" amid a fiercely partisan political climate appeals to Bozeman residents, he said.
"We want to get away from divisiveness," Taylor said. "We want to feel a sense of unity over our humanity, regardless of where we are on the political spectrum."
Montana State University student Morgan Andenas said she came to the satellite rally both because she's a fan of Stewart and Colbert and because she liked the idea of having a civil discourse without the political shouting matches both sides engage in at other rallies and on cable TV.
"The message really fits the Bozeman community," she said, citing the example of residents coming together to support I-Ho Pomeroy after the Korean woman's van was vandalized with a racist message.
"We're very much against the hate and the fear," she said.
Lauren Russell can be reached at email@example.com or 582-2635.