Comedian John Oliver offers to donate to charity if US city names sewage plant after him
The mayor of Danbury initially said he would name the city's sewage treatment plant after Oliver, but then said it was just a joke. Oliver has since challenged the mayor to follow through, dangling a US$55,000 donation to the city as incentive.
Comedian John Oliver upped the stakes in a tongue-in-cheek spat with a Connecticut city, offering to donate $55,000 (S$74,600) 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 (Aug 30) 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.
"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 US$55,000 to Danbury-area charities, including US$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."