So, this is a recap of the livestream of An Evening of Awesome with John and Hank Green at Carnegie Hall because my life is definitely NOT cool enough that I was lucky enough to actually go to New York City and attend the event myself. But the internet (and Penguin) in all of its infinite wisdom was kind enough to livestream it to us fans so that we could join in.
I “arrived” at the livestream about 20 minutes late (missing, I’m told, Ashley Clements and Daniel V. Gordh reading a scene from The Fault in Our Stars– OW MY HEART) and tuned in to hear John discussing his time as a chaplain at a hospital. According to John, being a chaplain had the effect of making him angry at all of the things he had no power over. He admitted to probably being a pretty poor chaplain to anyone but kids who wanted to play video games. But out of the anger, came writing, came Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, and other novels. But The Fault in Our Stars came after meeting Esther Earl and after John had his own son.
He talked about the collaboration that is inherent in writing despite the fact that it’s often viewed as a solitary profession and said that he wrote parts of TFiOS, that his agent did, that Esther, Hank, and T.S. Eliot did too. John also talked about all the collaboration that has arisen out of Vlogbrothers, Brotherhood 2.0, and Nerdfighteria, and collaborating with his brother, Hank.
Hank then took the stage to serenade us with a few songs: Helen Hunt, Accio Deathly Hallows, and The Universe is Weird. Then I took to Twitter, where I heard that #eveningofawesome was trending. I unfortunately missed that myself, but did catch TFiOS and Carnegie Hall trending.
John came out (having ditched the suit) and introduced The Mountain Goats, wearing a Mountain Goats tee. Hank, he said makes his top 3 favorite bands, but The Mountain Goats have the first two slots. The Mountain Goats sang In Memory of Satan. They then introduced a song about an ordinary man, a plumber, who finds out that his beloved has been kidnapped. He goes to save her, getting attacked by turtle shells again and again and has to keep rising from the dead. But he’s resolute and pushes on. Finally, he must battle an dragon in a dark land, and when finally, he defeats the dragon– his loved one isn’t there and he instead finds his friend that he didn’t even know was missing.
Said song was Thank You, Mario, But Our Princess Is In Another Castle. And since I’d never heard it before, I was surprised to find it kind of touching. The Mountain Goats also performed Pale Green Things, You Were Cool, and Game Shows Touch Our Lives.
Then it was time for Question Tuesday! John (in another costume change) took the stage with Neil Gaiman (who beforehand hand been making lying comments on Twitter about how he wished he’d gone, so his appearance was a surprise), Hank, and Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen, who gave us her signature “HELLO!” Hannah asked the questions of Hank and Neil asked the questions of John. The loser would be electrocuted with a mini shock device.
I did my best to record the gist of said questions. These are by no means exact quotes and some of these are paraphrased awfully. This is also definitely the longest section of the post because I was so entertained by this that I found it impossible to cut stuff from this recap. But, anyway, here:
Neil: What advice do you have for aspiring novelists?
John: Read and write a lot. Tell a lot of stories to your friends and pay attention to the parts where they get bored.
Hank: That’s good advice for video blogging too.
Neil: Stop hoping that elves will show up and write for you because they never do. And finish writing the novel. Finish things before you move onto the next one.
Hannah: What does it feel like to be a real adult?
Hank: You’re asking the wrong guy. Hopefully you never will feel like a real adult. But I think it’s probably a feeling of sameness from day to day.
Hannah: That sounds awful.
Neil: What do you think happens to people when they die?
John: They go to Narnia.
Hannah: What didn’t you know about John before starting Brotherhood 2.0?
Hank: How messed up he is! Psychologically I mean…
John: Here are other answers he could have given: how smart he is, how much fun he is to be around as an adult…
Hank: But I think it’s nice that we have that closeness!
John: Yes, and share it with Carnegie Hall.
Neil: Describe yourself in three words.
John: Well, the first two are handsome. And I’m reasonably tall.
Here the audience started shouting out suggestions, one of which was appropriate and used: “Awesome.”
Hannah: What is your Patronus?
Hank: A corndog.
Neil: What do you think about Carnegie Hall?
John: It’s quite nice. I got that from my time in Amsterdam. Dutch people mean like… it’s really more than nice.
Hannah: You know what Japanese people say when someone says something awkward and uncomfortable? ‘Ohhh, how interesting.’
Neil: We English just refer to situations like that as ‘a brave choice.’
Hannah: Did you ever have a crush on a teacher?
Hank: Of course! I had a crush on my high school English teacher. And now she’s a nerdfighter and sometimes she Skypes me and I’m like “Hey.”
Hannah: Is she watching tonight?
Hank: I don’t know! And she didn’t know I had a crush on her.
John: On the internet, they’d call that an awkward panda.
Neil: Once you started writing seriously, did you ever doubt your skills?
John: Yes. That doesn’t go away and it’s harder every time. It’s like all of the stuff that I did before was done by someone else.
Neil: I remember telling someone when I wrote American Gods that I had finally figured out how to write a novel and they told me that you don’t ever figure out how to write a novel. You figure out how to write the novel you’re writing.
Hannah: What’s the best thing that’s happened to decrease worldsuck that’s come from Vlogbrothers/Brotherhood 2.0?
Hank: Well there’s Project for Awesome, but I think the Nerdfighter Kiva group.
John: They’ve raised 1.76 million dollars in loans.
Neil: While writing, do you ever feel overly exposed?
John: Not really. Not in fiction. Sometimes in blog posts.
Hannah: Who’s your favorite pony?
Hank: I don’t have a favorite pony, that’s the whole point! [Of one of his songs]. My favorite on the show is Spike ’cause he’s so cute!
Neil: What shoes are you wearing?
John: New ones! I’ve never worn them before. I got them for Christmas specifically to wear to Carnegie Hall.
Hannah: Male Honey Badger or Female Anglerfish?
Hank: Female Anglerfish
Neil: Favorite breakfast food?
John: I don’t really eat breakfast… bagels!
Hank: What a boring answer. I like to use a pancake and a sausage and create a breakfast-like corndog!
John: Yeah, keep talking.
Hannah: Favorite Power Ranger?
Hank: I don’t know…
Hannah: Green! Say green.
Hank: John wants me to say red!
Neil: White chocolate or regular chocolate?
John: White chocolate is NOT chocolate! It’s just candy. So regular chocolate.
Hannah: Favorite ice cream?
Hank: White Mint Oreo
Hannah: Cool story bro.
Neil: Does Carnegie Hall have bathrooms of awesome?
John: You know, I’ve been peeing a lot since I’m nervous and I’ve tried like 8 bathrooms.
Neil: Favorite exotic fruit?
Hannah: Do you cry happy tears or sad tears?
Neil: If there is a god, what would you want Him to say to you at the pearly gates?
Hannah: What would you do if there was a zombie apocalypse?
Hank: Be a zombie.
Neil: Pancake or cupcake?
Hannah: Jif or gif?
Hank: Jif! Both are fine!
Neil: Pizza or Diet Dr. Pep–
Hannah: Fiction or non-fiction
Hank: That’s a terrible question!
And thank goodness because wow, this post is long. So, Hank shocked himself after a moment of personal struggle in which he convinced himself to do so. And then he sang a couple more things: Adult Female, the 50s progression/Ice Cream changes (which he said was not a song, but an observation), Strange Charm, and Video Game books, before he introduced Kimya Dawson.
Then, John, Neil, Hannah, and Grace Helbig of Daily Grace took the stage to perform a scene from Paper Towns with John as Q, Neil as Radar, Hannah as Angela, and Grace as Ben. The scene was one in which Angela asks if the guys know why Radar hasn’t invited her to his house yet. Our actors had to pause briefly as John started laughing when Neil uttered the phrase “I would actually, literally suck donkey balls.”
Hank came out to close the show with A Song About An Anglerfish and John thanked everyone, ending with “As we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome.” He stayed on stage until Hank finished his song and the brothers walked off adorably.They returned for an encore, singing New York City by They Might Be Giants together. They invited everyone that performed with them that night back to the stage, as well as their parents, wives, and some John’s publishing friends. And as The Mountain Goats performed a last song (This Year), they ended the night with a dance party. It was definitely an Evening of Awesome.
*all images owned by… Penguin? The Vlogbrothers? Not sure, but they’re stills from the livestream and definitely NOT owned by me.