Gutfeld: O’Rourke showed the right how to ‘fight back with fun’

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It’s been a good week and a bad one. 

Legendary writer and humorist P. J. O’Rourke passed away. It sucks, but he was kind enough before he went to leave so much behind for all of us, and not just cigar butts and empty whiskey bottles, which sounds like the name of Kat’s autobiography. 

He left us some amazing books like “Parliament of W*****,” “Modern Manners,” and the one that changed me, “Republican Party Reptile,” which is now Liz Cheney’s nickname. 

 P.J. O'Rourke. O'ROURKE REUTERS/Ferran Paredes FP

 P.J. O’Rourke. O’ROURKE REUTERS/Ferran Paredes FP

He also gave us two of the greatest pieces of satire ever written: “The National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook” and the “Sunday Newspaper Parody.” 

O’Rourke was one of the greatest editors of one of the greatest magazines ever, National Lampoon. He may not have written “Animal House,” but he lived it. He made it happen, and he made me happen too. 

OK, you can’t win ’em all. But he gave me hope and he gave me a path — a place to go for someone who didn’t fit in really anywhere. 

I bring this up tonight because what we’re seeing in today’s culture is, in part, P. J.’s legacy. What he did for the right is make it OK for them to be wrong in the best sense of the word. 


To be funny, to be loose, to be high, to be h****, which sounds like the name of my autobiography. 

He told us it’s OK to be alive, which was everything the stereotype of the right was not. We didn’t always have to be staid or stiff or judgmental, and you didn’t have to cede culture to the left. 

The left had their Abbie Hoffmans and their merry pranksters, and O’Rourke said they might be onto something. And then came Andrew Breitbart, our merry prankster. 

So our first thesis was simple: Politics ruins everything, so fight back with fun. 

When I was younger, I wrote a piece called “The Dean Wormer Effect,” based on this fella from the movie “Animal House”:

DEAN VERNON WORMER: Zero-point-two. Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son. // You’re out — finished at Faber — expelled. I want you off this campus at 9 o’clock Monday morning.

Love him. That’s John Vernon. I noted that in every narrative, the framework always stayed the same. We Republicans were always Dean Wormer and the Dems were Animal House. The cheerful troublemakers, the wise guys.


So in every situation, the right had a stick up their a–. Meanwhile, the left had a joint in their mouths. 

My goal was to flip that script to reverse the Dean Wormer effect, and my inspiration was P. J. He made it clear that to fight politics, the weapon was always going to be fun. 

And now it’s happening: the big flip. We’re having fun — they aren’t. It’s driving them crazy, and we really didn’t have to lift a finger. 

And when we do, thanks to P. J., it’s always the middle one. All it took was a little Trump and a lot of wokeism. 

Donald Trump showed us that we could be as obnoxious, funny and feisty as they are and win. 

Former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Now, P. J. was definitely no fan of Trump, but Trump was all “Animal House” and no Dean Wormer. He was more like Rodney Dangerfield’s character in “Caddyshack.” 

Americans no longer had to choose between robotic, helmet-haired Hillary Clinton or robotic, helmet-haired Mitt Romney. Somehow a loud-mouthed billionaire from Queens taught Republicans how to have a good time. 

Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In an instant, we found ourselves laughing at the hapless CNN, which became a gibbering Dean Wormer. In fact, their entire lineup became a string of minor Wormers, shrieking, “All is well,” while the real world ran them over.

And now wokeness came along and turned a once-tolerant Democratic Party into a political version of Jonestown. 

Adhere to an ideology or die. The party that once said, “Keep the government out of my bedroom,” is now the party that forces men to bring their lawyer with them on a date. 

The party that once advocated for a colorblind society now sees pigment, but nothing else. 

The party that was pro-women now replaces moms with birthing persons, so the Dems are in an all-out panic because voters now think their party is too preachy and judgmental, probably from the constant preaching and judging. 

The brand is now more toxic than a cup of Drano. That’s wokeism — political Drano. 

They’re so puritanical they make Jerry Falwell look like Gene Simmons. The Democratic Party is now as repressive as a bag full of ayatollahs, as wokeism, as suck-the-fun-out-of-everything. 

I had a friend who, in order to lose weight, would eat some of his meal and then empty an ashtray on the rest. It worked. He stopped eating, and it ruined everyone else’s appetite, too. 

That’s what wokeism has done to the Democratic Party, but also to women’s sports, awards shows, Disney, our justice system. 

It’s an ashtray loaded with carcinogenic orthodoxy because it can’t create — all it does is destroy. 

It’s a political construct that forces humans to comport to unnatural demands. That may be fun in bed, but not in politics. 

It pretended to be about tolerance, intimidating a party through threats of cancelation. Obey or they will ruin you using social media and its media accomplices. 

Like your wife’s driving, their success was based on scaring you, not convincing you. 

So why make a good argument when you can have rioters burning businesses and media hacks doxxing private citizens for speaking the truth? That’s how they took over the Democratic Party. 

Then, like Brian Stelter trapped in a Frito-Lay warehouse, they eat everything from the inside. It’s funny and cheap. 


I would say the Dems are Dean Wormer, but right now it’s worse. It’s Reagan from “The Exorcist.” The party’s a child possessed by a demon, which definitely needs an exorcism, because if it doesn’t happen soon, they’re toast. 

Voters deserve more than the bad ideas they barf up like so much split-pea soup. I’d like to help, but frankly, I’m having too good a time. 

And for that, I’d like to say thank you, P. J. 

This article is adapted from Greg Gutfeld’s opening monologue on the February 18, 2022 edition of “Gutfeld!”

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