What started out as a potty joke has turned into a positive impact for many in Danbury. According to Mayor Mark Boughton, comedian John Oliver has pledged over $50,000 to help the community. This is in exchange for having his name put on the city’s sewage plant.
In an 18 – 1 vote Thursday night, Danbury Town Council agreed to rename its waste processing facility the “John Oliver Memorial Sewage Plant.”
It’s not your typical naming rights deal though. Far from it.
So, here’s just how it all flushed out. After making fun of Danbury in a recent comedy sketch on his HBO Show, “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver caught the attention of Boughton. Engaging in a playful feud, Boughton responded with videos threatening to put Oliver’s name on the city’s wastewater plant.
“I countered with look, we’re gonna name our sewer plant after you because our sewer plant is full of crap, just like you John,” said Boughton.
Danbury residents who spoke with NBC Connecticut Friday said they think the banter between the mayor and Oliver has been enjoyable to watch.
“I think it’s great. I think it’s funny,” said Ellen Vecchiarello.
Danbury resident, Melvette Hill said she’s a John Oliver fan but stands by her mayor in this battle.
“First of all I think John Oliver should watch his words and understand that we are proud to be Danbury-ians,” said Hill.
After Boughton went on the offensive. Oliver embraced it, seemingly liking the idea of his name on such an important city property. Oliver continued talking about it on his show and even offered to pay for signage. Boughton, though, wanted more and insisted on donations for Danbury teachers and food pantries to make the sewage plant dedication more than a joke.
Oliver agreed and according to the mayor has pledged over $50,000 to the community.
“It’s going to help all the people in Danbury who are struggling at this crazy time,” said Debbie Landzberg who operates the Daily Bread Food Pantry.
Landzberg said since the pandemic began the need for food has tripled.
“We need all the help we can get, who knows how long COVID is going to continue,” she added.
Boughton said several area financial institutions have agreed to match the donation up to $100,000 if the city matches with a community pledge from residents. The money could help fill the 10 Danbury food pantries.
“We can make sure that no Danbury resident will go without Thanksgiving dinner this year,” said Boughton.
To raise even more money for the community the mayor is offering private tours of the John Oliver Memorial Sewage Plant for a $500 donation.
“Like I tell everybody, it may be crap to you but it’s money to us,” Boughton joked.
John Oliver had no comment Friday, but the mayor said he’s expected to visit the facility soon for a ribbon-cutting.