Given the number of dumb things people do on the internet, often for free, it’s always nice to see the power of LOL-random be harnessed for good. Case in point: a movement that’s raised more than $100,000 for the United Nations’ refugee relief agency, based on people wanting to hear Neil Gaiman read about cheesecakes.
The #NeilCake drive started, obviously, on Twitter, that magical place where the idea-to-output window is so small as to make conscious thought both wasted and extraneous. A few weeks ago, a fan used the platform to ask the American Gods author whether he would do a live reading of the entire massive menu of cream-cheese-and-sugar depot The Cheesecake Factory, in exchange for a $500,000 donation to a charity of his choice. Gaiman gamely agreed, and the fundraising began.
And while the effort fell short of its goal, the group still managed to break the six-figure mark, which is pretty amazing for a community effort where the community is “Neil Gaiman fans with a bizarre fixation on 8,000-calorie dessert items.” The last big donation even managed to add in some side-nerdery as well, with a last-minute $10,000 check coming from “Max and Kinga,” the names of the new bad guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000.
It remains to be seen whether the $100,000 will be enough to get Gaiman to treat fans to a full rendition of “Toasted Marshmallow S’mores Galore,” or if there‘ll be some sort of menu-limiting compromise put in place instead.