By DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press
It’s official. Every time residents of Danbury, Connecticut, flush, they will be sending their special deliveries to the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant.
The City Council voted 18-1 Thursday night to rename the sewage plant after the comedian, who began a tongue-in-cheek battle with Danbury when he went on an expletive-filled rant against the city on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” in August.
Mayor Mark Boughton didn’t waste any time responding on social media. He posted a video of himself at the sewage plant saying the city was going to name it after Oliver.
“Why?” the Republican mayor asked. “Because it’s full of crap just like you, John.”
That drew a delighted response from Oliver, but he went off against the city again because Boughton later said he was just joking.
Oliver upped the stakes on his Aug. 30 show by offering to donate $55,000 to local charities if Danbury actually followed through with renaming the plant.
“I didn’t know that I wanted my name on your (expletive) factory but now that you floated it as an option, it is all that I want,” Oliver said.
Boughton said Friday that the feud has been a good distraction from the coronavirus and other troubles of the times. He also said Oliver’s promised donations have helped spur local fundraising efforts for area food banks that could end up collecting a few hundred thousand dollars to feed needy families.
The mayor added he will be offering tours of the sewer plant for $500 donations to local food pantries.
“I think it’s been a home run. It’s been a lot of fun,” Boughton said of the spat. “If I can put food on people’s table for Thanksgiving by naming a sewer plant after a very popular comedian, we’ll do it all day long.”
Oliver has offered to provide the new sign for the plant that includes his name, as well as attend the ribbon-cutting, Boughton said. A timeline has not been finalized.
Representatives for Oliver and HBO had no immediate comment Friday.
It’s still not clear why Oliver singled out Danbury for a tongue-lashing. He first brought up the city during an August segment on racial disparities in the jury selection process, citing problems in a few Connecticut towns from decades ago. He noted Danbury’s “charming railway museum” and its “historic Hearthstone Castle.”
“I know exactly three things about Danbury,” he said. “USA Today ranked it the second-best city to live in in 2015, it was once the center of the American hat industry and if you’re from there, you have a standing invite to come get a thrashing from John Oliver — children included — (expletive) you.”
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