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It all started Friday when comedian and writer Sara Benincasa reached out to celebrated author Neil Gaiman on Twitter to ask if he’d do a live reading of the entire Cheesecake Factory menu provided his fans raised $500,000 for a charity of his choice.
Being a stand-up kind of chap in addition to a talented wordsmith, Gaiman agreed, selecting the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as the benefactor. UNHCR provides critical protection, shelter, healthcare, sanitation, and clean water support to millions of refugees around the world, many of whom are children.
I have said Yes. If she makes it happen, for charity, I will do this thing. https://t.co/vkJWVDiYTJ— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) May 20, 2017
And now Gaiman’s fans are off to the races, collectively donating $32,700 and growing since a donation page for the project went live. Besides being over the moon that Gaiman accepted the challenge, Benincasa was immediately blown away by the response to the project, for which she coined the hashtag #neilcake.
Benincasa explained on the donation page that she pitched the project for the same reason a lot of the best internet shenanigans happen: It’s silly and fun and does some good in this crazy world. (Plus Gaiman really does have an incredible reading voice. Check out another charity reading he did of the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham below.)
“You think you loved ‘American Gods’ or ‘Sandman’ or ‘Good Omens’ or his ‘Doctor Who’ episodes or the other 18,000 great things he’s written?” Benincasa wrote on the donation page. “This will almost certainly be better or at least involve more Snickers and Oreo references.”
Benincasa wants to meet the fundraising goal by June 20, which happily coincides with World Refugee Day. The details of the live reading haven’t been ironed out yet, but Benincasa promises that she’ll livestream the event and/or upload a video so “you can watch later whilst weeping at the beauty of Neil Gaiman saying ‘avocado egg rolls.'”
We can’t wait to hear the delicious results.
Sarah Weber is the former editor of Daily Dot’s Parsec section, where she wrote about geek culture. She previously worked as a reporter and editor at community newspapers in the Midwest and was recognized by the Ohio Associated Press for news reporting.