Saturday Night Live and Philosophy: Call for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts

Saturday Night Live and Philosophy

Edited by Ruth Tallman and Jason Southworth

The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

Please circulate and post widely.

Apologies for cross posting.


To propose ideas for future volumes in the Blackwell series please contact the Series Editor, William Irwin, at

If you have comments or criticisms for the series, please contact the series editor after reading “Fancy Taking a Pop?” and  “Writing for the Reader: A Defense of Philosophy and Popular Culture Books”

Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader. Contributors of accepted essays will receive an honorarium.

Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:

Logic and Comedy: Dennis Miller’s Rejection of Grice’s Cooperation Principle; “Jane, You Ignorant Slut”: Misogyny and Feminism on SNL; Weekend Update: The Original Fake News; Crossing a Line: SNL and Jokes That Shouldn’t Have Been Told; Do Californians Ever Really See SNL?: An Ontology of Live Art; Drugs, Madness, and Creativity: The Sad Cases of John Belushi and Chris Farley; Norm MacDonald and Leslie Jones: Irony as a Tool for Social Commentary; Pat and Gender Nonconformity; Weekend Update and the Socratic Method; The Ambiguously Gay Duo and SNL’s Complicated Relationship with Homosexuality; Punching Up vs. Punching Down: Moral Responsibility in Comedy; Skits, Sketches, and Monologues: An Ontology of Comedy; Black Like Him: Fred Armisen’s Obama ; Absurdism: Killer Bees and Land Sharks; Deep Thoughts: The Philosophy of Jack Handey; Self-Love: Mary Katherine Gallagher and Stuart Smalley; Thomas Nagel’s Perversion and The Church Lady; The Ashlee Simpson Incident: Is a Lip-Synched Musical Performance a Fraud?; Tommy Flanagan, The Pathological Liar and Bill Brasky: A Philosophical Examination of Lying; The Ladies’ Man and ‘President Bush’: Can You Be Too Stupid for Moral Accountability?; You Don’t Know Seth: Hosts’ and Anchors’ Sincerity and Authenticity; Who Gets the Credit, Who Gets the Blame?: Collective Responsibility in Collaborative Art; Do as I Say, Not as I Do: SNL and Hypocrisy; Public vs. Private: Should Kate Rich Have Been Suspended for a Statement She Made Off the Clock?; “Look, Children, It’s a Falling Star”: David Spade and SNL Family Disloyalty; A Philosophy of Shame: Emily Litella and Gilly; Representation as Identity: What Impressionists Can Teach Us About Their Subjects; Tiny Hats and Clown Birthdays: Parallel Thought or Plagiarism?: The Show Doesn’t Go on Because It’s Ready, the Show Goes on Because It’s 11:30: SNL as Performance Art; Commercial Parodies: What SNL Can Tell Us About Consumer Culture; Andrew Dice Clay and Donald Trump: Is an Invitation to Host SNL an Implicit Character Endorsement?; When Good Satire Goes Bad: Aesthetic Moralism and How Will Ferrell Accidentally Helped Reelect George W. Bush; Pop Culture vs. Cultural Appropriation: John Belushi’s Samurai; Pushing Boundaries: The Benefit of Jokes that Cause Outrage; “Frank Wouldn’t Do That”: Exploring Joe Piscopo’s View that Impressions Should Be Flattering; Wayne’s World and the Philosophy of Play; Celebrity Jeopardy: Making Sense of SNL’s Schizophrenic Relationship with Celebrity; Biases: Why We All Think the Best SNL Cast is the One We Grew Up Watching; Lunch Lady Land: Humor as a Way of Appreciating the Underappreciated; Jim Downey, the Karl Rove of SNL; SNL as Frankfurtian Bullshit Detector

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Submission deadline for abstracts (300-500 words) and CVs: March 20, 2018.
  2. Submission deadline for drafts of accepted papers: June 19, 2018.

Kindly submit by e-mail (with or without Word attachment) to:


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