WASHINGTON - TENS of thousands of people streamed into the US capital Saturday for a rally hosted by liberal comics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, billed as an antidote to the ugly political mood dividing America three days before mid-term elections.

Washington's streets were clogged with people walking towards the National Mall where two of America's best known satirists joined forces for a super-sized joint gathering, the 'Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.' The masses stretched from the steps of the Capitol building almost down to the National Monument, with people still pouring in nearly three hours after the event started at noon (12am Singapore time), though local police declined to estimate the crowd size.

'It's chaotic but sane. There are a ton of diverse, happy people,' said James Cuizon, who had travelled from Hawaii to attend the rally and was on the chilly mall hours before the event kicked off.

Many attendees were dressed in costumes for Halloween weekend, and some just painted their faces. Others carried signs that poked fun at the often inflammatory slogans seen at other political rallies; one read 'I am a Radicalized Moderate and I'm Mad as Heck.' One sign read 'God hates this sign,' a dig at the Westboro church in Kansas that demonstrates outside military funerals with signs that read 'God hates fags.' Another said: 'Every time Sarah Palin tweets, God kills a kitten.'

'I dont't think they realize how upset all of us moderates are,' said Colleen Chmielewski, who drove seven hours from Buffalo in New York to attend the rally with her son and husband.

Jody Silvio rallied on the Mall at the height of the Vietnam war and for women's rights in the 1970s and was back again for Stewart and Colbert. 'It's exciting to see the momentum and to see people coming together again as a community,' she told AFP. 'This rally is about getting people together again and showing that we dont't have to be so divided, we can have civilised discourse,' she said.

Comics hold rally for sanity