I’ve never been to Carnegie Hall before, and I certainly never dreamed that my first visit to the iconic theater would be to see an author. As I navigated the swarms of squealing fans to find my seat, I heard a young couple gushing about their attendance at the event. You know, the kind of gushing usually reserved for boy bands or Justin Bieber. “Oh, my God! I cannot believe this is happening! I’m totally freaking out! Like, it hasn’t even set in yet that this is really happening.”
And that illustrates the power best-selling author John Green holds over his fans. Green came together with his brother, Hank, and a slew of guest stars to present “An Evening of Awesome,” a variety show of sorts that totally lived up to its name. But you don’t have to take my word for it. The sold-out event was broadcast live on YouTube (watch it here), and has since acquired more than 40,000 views. Additionally, Carnegie Hall was No. 1 trending topic worldwide on Twitter. The moral of the story? Never underestimate the power of book nerds. (And I say that with the utmost affection, because I am one of those nerds…or should I say nerdfighters?)
That camaraderie is what I loved most about the night. I don’t recall there ever being an event of this kind before. And let’s be honest, a place where a joke about a patronus brings the house down is a place I want to be. (Hank said his patronus was a corn dog.) At one point in the night, John explained that what he loves most about books is that they “jump into the abyss to be with you where you are.” And its a fitting sentiment since “An Evening of Awesome” celebrated the one-year anniversary of John’s most-recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars. TFIOS is the perfect example of the companionship a book offers, and deeply moving. (This is the part of the post where I tell you to read it if you haven’t already.)
And all those guest stars I mentioned? They didn’t disappoint either. On hand to help John and Hank—who sang many of his own songs—were Ashley Clements and Daniel Vincent Gordh of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The pair read an excerpt from The Fault in Our Stars as Hazel and Augustus, respectively. The Mountain Goats, a band championed by the Green brothers, played a few songs. Kimya Dawson performed as well. Hannah Hart, known for her video series “My Drunk Kitchen,” aided in the Question Tuesday segment of the night. And Grace Helbig, also of Internet fame, participated in a readers’ theater. But the real get of the night was Neil Gaiman. (Cue the audience going absolutely nuts!)
Gaiman took part in the Question Tuesday segment, but the highlight was his role in the readers’ theater. John, Hannah, Grace, and Neil read a scene from Paper Towns, John’s 2008 novel. Neil played the role of Radar, and said this line in all seriousness: “I decided during government that I would actually, literally suck donkey balls…” To which John admitted, “It was all a setup!” Evening of awesome, indeed!