Comedian John Oliver upped the stakes in a tongue-in-cheek spat with a Connecticut city, offering to donate $55,000 to charity if officials follow through on a joke to name its sewage treatment plant after him.

Mayor Mark Boughton said last week that Danbury was going to rename the facility the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant, in response to Oliver’s expletive-filled rant against the city on a recent episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

“Why? Because it’s full of crap just like you, John,” Boughton said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

Oliver’s Danbury diatribe came on his Aug. 16 show, in which he explored racial disparities in the jury selection process, citing problems three decades ago in Hartford and New Britain in Connecticut. He then seemingly randomly went off on Danbury.

On Sunday’s show, Oliver said he was surprised and delighted by the city’s response. But then he went off on another rant after playing a video of Boughton saying it was just a joke.

John Oliver

John Oliver performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York in November 2019. Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP, File

“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 Danbury-area charities, including $25,000 to the Connecticut Food Bank, if the city renamed the plant after him. If not, Oliver said he would make charitable donations to “rival” towns including Waterbury and Torrington.

Boughton said Monday that city officials were considering Oliver’s offer and planned to release a response by the end of the week. He said the City Council would have to approve any renaming of the sewage plant.

“I think it’s very generous and we appreciate that,” the mayor said. “It’s just a great distraction for people to get laughs.”


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