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Celebrity Slam - Danbury doo-doo redux

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As a rule, we don’t tend to revisit stories in this space. Most of the time, there’s so much nonsense going on out there that there’s no need to dwell on a single story. And yes, we have tendencies toward similar TYPES of stories, but it’s rare that we revisit the same situation. When we have in the past, it has usually been to dig into ongoing descents into madness – Justin Bieber’s misspent youth, Charlie Sheen’s stretch of ongoing lunacy, the Huffman/Laughlin college admissions scandal.

But hey – “usually” doesn’t mean “always.”

Those who read the last installment of Celebrity Slam were treated to the story of John Oliver and his inexplicable war of words with the city of Danbury, Connecticut. After going after the city HARD on his HBO program “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” back in August, hostilities – sorry, “hostilities” – escalated to the point where the mayor of Danbury posted a video saying that they would be naming the local sewage plant after the comedian.

Happily, this fight is STILL GOING.

Things took a turn after Mayor Mark Boughton posted a follow-up to the original video in which he stated that the whole thing was just a joke and all in good fun … and John Oliver was absolutely not having it.

The comedian played a video of Boughton saying the offer was a joke on his show 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.”

From there, Oliver pledged that he would make a significant donation to a number of area charities if city officials would follow through on that initial promise. In response, Mayor Boughton told a local news station that he would absolutely accept the donation and put through the name change on one condition – that Oliver himself come to Danbury and be physically present when the ribbon is cut at the rededication ceremony.

Look, we don’t know why Oliver chose to single out Danbury. We don’t know why he would pick a fight with a seemingly innocuous community. We don’t know – and we don’t care. We’re just thrilled he did.

We’re already on record with our wholehearted and full-throated approval of how Danbury handled its business. Our only real criticism is basically the same as Oliver’s – the post-callout backtracking. Look, we get it – this might seem like a foolish thing for municipal leaders to get involved with. But we would argue that this time and this place is ripe for foolishness; people need to know that their elected officials have a sense of humor. After all, humor is one of the things that’s going to help us all get through our current situation.

As far as Oliver, we have to admit that we also approve of his doubling-down. He clearly thinks it is hilarious and is delighted to be engaging in this manner. And to put his money where his mouth is – particularly in a time in which so many people are in need – is both noble and seemingly entirely in character. He’s the sort of guy that would likely never appear in this space for the usual reasons, so it’s fun to talk about an item in which the brunt of the joke has so cheerfully brought upon himself.

This is PRECISELY the sort of story that Celebrity Slam needs to tell. We are a repository of snark and mockery, to be sure, invested in pointing out the foibles and missteps of the rich and famous. But we are also all about celebrating those who carry forward the Celebrity Slam mission. We are Celebrity Slam, but we are far from the only ones capable of slamming celebrities.

We salute you, Danbury. You and your elected officials are doing the good work of Slamming. We respect and admire what you have done and continue to do. And here’s to John Oliver, who clearly gets it. As far as we’re concerned, this story can go on forever.

Ultimately, this saga has made one thing abundantly clear: the city of Danbury clearly gives a s—t.

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 September 2020 13:38


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