Danbury Dedicates Its Very Own Sewage Plant to John Oliver

By Taylor Mascetta

Staff’s Danbury Defender

The city of Danbury, Connecticut holds a very special place in my heart, considering the fact that I’ve lived there my entire life. Therefore, when I was doing my daily scroll through Vulture’s website last week, I had to do a double take upon seeing its name in the headlines. At first, I was concerned that something serious had happened. Those worries vanished when I discovered that John Oliver, host of “Last Week Tonight,” and Danbury’s Mayor Mark Boughton were beefing on Twitter… over our very own sewage plant, located a mere ten minutes from my house. 

The feud began back in August during a “Last Week Tonight” segment that discussed Connecticut’s jury selections, which often exclude people of color. Oliver directly called out the entire state for its failure to draw jurors from Hartford and New Britain due to technological errors that conveniently excluded them from selection. That’s when the segment shifted into a Danbury roast-fest, as Oliver wondered why Danbury wasn’t the town left behind. 

“Those two missing cities accounted for 63 percent of African Americans in the district, and 68 percent of the Hispanic population, which is horrible.” Oliver explained. “Why not forget Danbury, because, and this is true, FUCK Danbury! From its charming railway museum and its historic Hearthstone Castle, Danbury, Connecticut can eat my whole ass.”

In response to the segment, Mayor Boughton posted a 48-second clip of him standing in front of Danbury’s newly constructed, $110 million sewage facility on Facebook. He announced that the town would rename the plant “the John Oliver Memorial Sewage Plant,” because, and I quote, “because it’s full of crap, just like you, John.” 

The video got the ball rolling, as the Danbury City Council overwhelmingly voted to rename the sewage plant in Oliver’s honor on October 8 with 18 yay’s, 1 abstention, and one nay. Oliver actually took great excitement to this, offering to donate $55,000 towards local charities if Mayor Boughton followed through with the plan. Mayor Boughton agreed to Oliver’s terms but still kept one condition; Oliver would have to visit the plant in person if he wanted the moniker to take hold. 

And so he did. In “Last Week Tonight’s” October 18 episode, Oliver played a three minute clip that revealed that he visited Danbury on an undisclosed date sometime last week. He arrived in a plastic “Bubble Boy” costume to protect himself from both the coronavirus and, well, the town itself. Oliver finally met his nemesis in-person at the plant, as Mayor Boughton held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the sewage plant in his honor. Oliver celebrated profusely after the ribbon had been cut, running around the stage in glee screaming “WE DID IT!”

Oliver saw something symbolically beautiful within the plant’s dedication. “Because think about it: This place takes the worst that humanity can produce and transforms it into something that we can live with. And now more than ever, there’s something inspirational in that. Because at the end of this awful, awful year, what could be more important than evidence that if we want to, we can come together, overcome our differences, and sort our shit out.”

Although Oliver’s feelings towards the city of Danbury haven’t changed one bit, he can now proudly say that he has made history within the town. Additionally, his donation contributed greatly towards the community: Oliver gave $25,000 to Danbury teachers, $25,000 to the Connecticut Food Bank, and $5,000 to ALS Connecticut. This playful feud remains one of the bright spots in 2020, and now I have a new Danbury landmark to check out upon returning home. 

The feud began back in August during a “Last Week Tonight” segment that discussed Connecticut’s jury selections, which often exclude people of color. Oliver directly called out the entire state for its failure to draw jurors from Hartford and New Britain due to technological errors that conveniently excluded them from selection. That’s when the segment shifted into a Danbury roast-fest, as Oliver wondered why Danbury wasn’t the town left behind. 

“Those two missing cities accounted for 63 percent of African Americans in the district, and 68 percent of the Hispanic population, which is horrible.” Oliver explained. “Why not forget Danbury, because, and this is true, FUCK Danbury! From its charming railway museum and its historic Hearthstone Castle, Danbury, Connecticut can eat my whole ass.”

In response to the segment, Mayor Boughton posted a 48-second clip of him standing in front of Danbury’s newly constructed, $110 million sewage facility on Facebook. He announced that the town would rename the plant “the John Oliver Memorial Sewage Plant,” because, and I quote, “because it’s full of crap, just like you, John.” 

The video got the ball rolling, as the Danbury City Council overwhelmingly voted to rename the sewage plant in Oliver’s honor on October 8 with 18 yay’s, 1 abstention, and one nay. Oliver actually took great excitement to this, offering to donate $55,000 towards local charities if Mayor Boughton followed through with the plan. Mayor Boughton agreed to Oliver’s terms but still kept one condition; Oliver would have to visit the plant in person if he wanted the moniker to take hold. 

And so he did. In “Last Week Tonight’s” October 18 episode, Oliver played a three minute clip that revealed that he visited Danbury on an undisclosed date sometime last week. He arrived in a plastic “Bubble Boy” costume to protect himself from both the coronavirus and, well, the town itself. Oliver finally met his nemesis in-person at the plant, as Mayor Boughton held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the sewage plant in his honor. Oliver celebrated profusely after the ribbon had been cut, running around the stage in glee screaming “WE DID IT!”

Oliver saw something symbolically beautiful within the plant’s dedication. “Because think about it: This place takes the worst that humanity can produce and transforms it into something that we can live with. And now more than ever, there’s something inspirational in that. Because at the end of this awful, awful year, what could be more important than evidence that if we want to, we can come together, overcome our differences, and sort our shit out.”

Although Oliver’s feelings towards the city of Danbury haven’t changed one bit, he can now proudly say that he has made history within the town. Additionally, his donation contributed greatly towards the community: Oliver gave $25,000 to Danbury teachers, $25,000 to the Connecticut Food Bank, and $5,000 to ALS Connecticut. This playful feud remains one of the bright spots in 2020, and now I have a new Danbury landmark to check out upon returning home. 

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