The silly fuss over Danbury

During one of his recent segments, John Oliver took some shots at the city of Danbury, Connecticut. It was entirely gratuitous and had nothing to do with anything else he was saying and I took it as the kind of thing comedians do, and that is pick on some random city to make fun of, whether it deserves it or not. In the state of Ohio for example, Akron and Canton, two perfectly decent and ordinary cities, are often are the butt of jokes, such as the one about Akron’s city slogan being “Akron: We are not Canton”.

But the Republican mayor of Danbury Mark Boughton took umbrage, declaring that in retaliation they would rename their sewage treatment plant the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant.

This was likely an empty threat meant to score media points but I could have told the mayor that this was not a good idea. You always lose when you take on a comedian who has his own TV show because they will always get the last word and the last laugh. And sure enough, Oliver called the mayor’s bluff.

It wasn’t clear what prompted the outburst but this Sunday Oliver said he was surprised and delighted by the city’s response. After playing a video of Boughton saying it was just a joke, however, another rant ensued.

“Wait, so you’re not doing it? Aw, fuck you, Danbury. 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 fucking factory but now that you floated it as an option, it is all that I want.”

Oliver offered to donate $55,000 to charities, including $25,000 to the Connecticut Food Bank, if the city renamed the plant. If not, he said he would make donations to “rival” towns including Waterbury and Torrington.

Boughton said on Monday city officials planned to respond by the end of the week. He said the council would have to approve any renaming of the sewage plant.

Let’s see if the city goes through with it. I am not sure why they thought that naming the sewage treatment plant after someone would be an insult. I myself would be honored to have a facility that improves the environment be named after me.


  1. DrVanNostrand says

    Anyone familiar with his glee about the “John Oliver Koala Chlamydia Ward” would realize that you can’t play chicken with John Oliver. He wants publicity, and to be associated with good works. Koala chlamydia wards and sewage treatment plants are good things, and he’s happy to spend HBO’s money to support them if it will get him publicity!

  2. says

    I don’t think Danbury’s mayor was all that upset. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised at learning this has been planned out since Oliver talked about Danbury the first time. It’s very entertaining, nonetheless.

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