Neil Gaiman has been a beloved figure of the nerd world for decades, thanks to his many contributions to the fantasy genre. But between the smash success of American Gods, and the live-action adaptations of Good Omens, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and more on the horizon, Gaiman's name is all over the current pop culture landscape.
And now, in a mash-up we didn't know we needed, Gaiman is set to lend his talents to a surprising piece of writing - the Cheesecake Factory menu. For those unfamiliar with the restaraunt chain, it boasts a spiral-bound menu with an absurd number of pages and menu choices. And Gaiman has agreed to read it aloud in its entirety, for a very good cause.
This campaign was started by comedian and writer Sara Benincasa, who jokingly requested Gaiman do a live read the menu after a recent trip to the restaraunt. Benincasa's conditions were pretty simple - that she would help raise $500,000 for the charity of his choice first.
Gaiman, who has done past charity readings for everything from Green Eggs and Ham to Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, said yes. The author then chose a chose the charity the money will go to - the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR. And thus, the campaign - complete with an official fundraising page, which you can find here - was born.
If you're wondering how or when Gaiman's eventual live reading will take place, Benincasa's description on the CrowdRise page explains it all.
"I'll arrange with Neil at his convenience to do the reading within the next year in a public setting, whether onstage or online." Benincasa explains. "If it's onstage, I'll sell tickets and donate profits after costs to UNHCR. Regardless, I will make the event available to the general public via livestream or a lovely video you can watch later whilst weeping at the beauty of Neil Gaiman saying 'avocado egg rolls.'"
As of this writing, the campaign has only raised just over $60,000. So if you want to support Gaiman's good cause - or just really want to hear him read the Cheesecake Factory's menu - check out the CrowdRise page and make a donation.
American Gods has been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society's modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
American Gods is produced by FremantleMedia North America. Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, Heroes) and Michael Green (The River, Kings, Heroes) are writers and showrunners. David Slade (Hannibal, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) is directing the pilot and additional episodes. FMNA's Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk are executive producing the series along with Fuller, Green, Slade and Neil Gaiman.
The cast features Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon, Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday, Emily Browning as Laura Moon, Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney, Yetide Badaki as Bilquis, Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, Crispin Glover as Mr. World, Jonathan Tucker as Low Key Lyesmith, Gillian Anderson as Media, Peter Stormare as Czernobog, Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy, Demore Barnes as Mr. Ibis, Kristin Chenoweth as Easter, and Cloris Leachman as Zorya Vechernyaya.
American Gods airs Sunday nights on Starz at 9/8c.