John Oliver Offers $55K to Danbury Charities if Connecticut City Names Sewage Plant After Him

John Oliver and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton are engaging in a tongue-in-cheek feud.
Getty Images; Office of Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton

John Oliver has vowed to make a hefty donation to charities in the Danbury, Connecticut area if the city makes good on its threat to name a sewage plant in his honor. The vow is the latest development in an ongoing spat between the British comedian and Danbury’s Mayor Mark Boughton, who took to Facebook to speak about the potential naming after Oliver ranted about the city on his show. 

In a video posted on Facebook Aug. 22 with the message: “John Oliver, don’t mess with Danbury,” Boughton made the announcement about the potential naming.

Boughton proceeded to talk about three points of interest in the city, naming their Railway Museum, Hearthstone Castle, and their ranking as the top U.S. city to live in. And soon, Boughton said, the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant would be the fourth. 

“Today, I am proud to announce our fourth of interest The John Oliver Memorial Sewer Treatment Plant. Why? Because it’s full of crap just like you, John.”

Boughton's video came after Oliver went on an expletive-filled rant against the city on a recent episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” according to the AP. On the show, the comedian explored racial inequality in the jury selection process and cited problems three decades ago in Hartford and New Britain in Connecticut. He then proceeded to go on a tirade about the town of Danbury.

Boughton's video caught the eye of viewers- locally and abroad- who were all buzzing.

“This is the greatest. We love Mayor Mark and John Oliver!” someone posted. 

“That’s the best laugh I’ve had in a LONG TIME! I’m waiting for the sign to go up.”

One post came in from someone who shares the same moniker as Boughton's apparent rival. “Hi it’s John Oliver from England. Not that one,” the post said. “I’m a big railway fan and I think your city is ace. Also, thanks for naming the sewage plant after me.”

The city of Danbury even posted a message in what appears to be an invite: “John Oliver are you coming for the ribbon-cutting ceremony? We can tour the railway museum first.”

But Boughton told USA TODAY that the "tongue-in-cheek" video was a "joke to return volley" at Oliver for his expletive-laden city criticism. 

On Sunday's show, Oliver played a video of Boughton saying it was just a joke before launching into another monologue.

"Wait, so you’re not doing it? Aw, (expletive) you, Danbury," Oliver said. "You had the first good idea in your city’s history and you chickened out on the follow-through. What a classic Danbury move. Listen, 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 offered to donate $55,000 to charities in the Danbury area, including $25,000 to the Connecticut Food Bank, $25,000 to a Donors Choose fund for Danbury teachers, and $5,000 to ALS Connecticut if Oliver renames the sewage treatment plant after him.

If not, Oliver said he would make charitable donations to “rival” towns including Waterbury and Torrington.

Boughton told the Associated Press Monday that city officials were considering Oliver’s offer, saying the City Council would have to approve any renaming of the sewage plant. "I think it’s very generous and we appreciate that," Boughton said. 

The mayor told USA TODAY to "stand by" as a new video will drop Thursday detailing the decision.

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