Introductions: Michael Schur
March 10, 2022
By Rebecca Hoogs, Executive Director
It is now my great pleasure and greater intimidation to introduce Michael Schur. We are here tonight to learn how to be perfect as we celebrate the publication of his first book, How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question.
Michael Schur is the creator, or co-creator, writer, or co-writer behind pretty much all of my and your favorite television shows: The Office, Parks and Recreation, The Comeback, Hacks, Brooklyn 99, and of course, The Good Place, which inspired this book. I distinctly remember the night early in the pandemic when I finished The Good Place and sobbed my eyes off. It was the first time I’d been able to cry since the world had changed, and I have Michael Schur to thank for that cathartic cry.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been only one Jeremy Bearimy since those early days of the pandemic—it feels like at least two or three—but I’m glad that we’re able to gather tonight to talk about how making The Good Place led Michael Schur to want to spend more time with moral philosophy.
As I read the book, Schur mentioned his two kiddos occasionally, and I wondered throughout what they might think of his quest to interrogate and live the moral life, and how that might affect his parenting. Well, at the end of the book Schur anticipated my question in a coda written to his kids. “Parents and philosophers,” he writes, “are annoying in exactly the same way. Both groups spend their lives thinking about what makes a person good and trying to convince other people buy into their theories… You are people on earth. You are not alone here, and that means you owe the other people on earth certain things.”
I was a terrible philosophy student in school, and I’ve got to say, reading this book helped me understand things I did not understand when I read them in the original Kant or Aristotle. With humor and intellectual rigor, Michal Schur hits play on his mixtape of the greatest philosophical hits to help us understand the questions: “what are we doing? why are we doing it? is there something we could do that’s better? why is it better?”
So, dear people on earth who owe other people on earth certain things, what are we doing? We are listening to Michael Schur and George Meyer. Why are we doing it? To be perfect. Is there something we could do that’s better? Not tonight.
Rebecca Hoogs gave this introduction to open our 2021/22 SAL Presents event with Michael Schur on March 4, 2022. Tickets to view the recorded event are still available through Friday, March 11, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. (PT).