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Danbury vote to rename sewer treatment plant after 'Last Week Tonight' host John Oliver pushed to October 8

The interaction began with Oliver calling out the city on his show and it soon grew into a charitable event.

DANBURY, Conn. — A cheeky back and forth between the city of Danbury and popular show host John Oliver is making a stink, while also raking in the green.

It all began when Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight, poked fun at Danbury on his show in August. After a few back-and-forths, the City Council Tuesday night discussed naming a sewer treatment plan after him with a vote scheduled for Thursday.

So what sparked the "feud"?

On August 16, Last Week Tonight went into the topic of jury selection (warning for strong language). At one point, Oliver cited a 2016 study from the Iowa Law Review, which said New Britain and Hartford had 'accidentally misplaced' the names for jury selection and was never entered into the system. 

It was then Oliver, who notably goes into side chats while arguing a more significant point, said if anyone was going to forget a city in Connecticut, why not Danbury.

"I know exactly three things about Danbury," he said. "USA Today ranked it the second-best city to live in in 2015, it was once the center of the American hat industry and if you're from there, you have a standing invite to come get a thrashing from John Oliver - children included - (expletive) you."

In the segment, Oliver noted Danbury's "charming railway museum" and its "historic Hearthstone Castle."

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton had followed up with an August 22 Facebook post that showed the Mayor in front of the city's sewage plant.

"We are going to rename it the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant," Boughton said. "Why? Because it's full of crap just like you, John."

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Oliver, on the following Last Week Tonight episode, played a video of Boughton saying the offer was a joke and said, "Wait, so you're not doing it?" 

Oliver said he hadn't known that he wanted his name on the sewage plant "but now that you floated it as an option, it is all that I want."

To help persuade Mayor Boughton, Oliver promised to donate thousands to local charities if, and only if, the city went through in naming the sewage plant after him. 

Mayor Boughton also came back with an additional stipulation: If Oliver donated the $55,000 and attended the ribbon-cutting, he would get the honor. 

Through a virtual back and forth, Oliver got on board. 

"I've just been murdered by the city of Danbury and I love everything about this," said Oliver in response.

On September 20th, an interviewer from Variety, a Connecticut resident, asked if John Oliver will give his recently awarded Emmy to Danbury. 

"There is a chance that this, as nice as it is (gesturing to the Emmy award), my dream this year is to have a sewage plant named after me in Danbury, Connecticut," Oliver explained. "And I'm close, I feel like I'm real close."

He went on to say that if the political system held up, and if the council 'did the right thing', they would give him the sewage plant.

On Tuesday, the John Oliver feud was front and center at the city's virtual council meeting. Mayor Boughton read supportive comments from residents.

"The spirit this feud has generated is priceless during these times it gives us a few moments of levity and a time to laugh," said a Danbury resident in a written statement. 

The vote got pushed to Thursday, October 8, but the Mayor said the votes are there to rename the plant. He believes the feud is creating another tourist destination in the state.

"I've got small bleachers set up outside of the ponds that hold all of the solid waste," said Boughton. "You can sit on your bleacher, have your picnic and watch the plant operation, and it will be very, very exciting."