PJ O’Rourke is an American political satirist and journalist known for his work as a columnist at The Daily Beast and frequent panel appearances on NPR’s game show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
O’Rourke earned an undergraduate degree at Miami University before getting his masters in English at Johns Hopkins University. During his college days, his writings largely contained leftist, anti-war, counterculture opinions. However, his political views underwent a drastic change in the 1970s, emerging as a political observer and humorist rooted in libertarian conservative thought.
In his early career, O’Rourke wrote articles for underground magazines and newspapers like The Rip Off Review of Western Culture, Harry, and New York Ace. In 1973, he joined the National Lampoon as editor-in-chief, penning widely read articles such as “How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink.” During his time with the Lampoon, O’Rourke also co-wrote the 1964 High School Yearbook, which became a bestseller.
O’Rourke went freelance in 1981, producing pieces for a wide variety of prominent publications including Playboy, Vanity Fair, Car and Driver, and Rolling Stone. He then served for many years as foreign-affairs desk chief at Rolling Stone. In 1996, O’Rourke also appeared on 60 Minutes as conservative commentator, receiving backlash for a joke made about the Bosnian genocide.
O’Rourke has authored 16 books, three of which are New York Times bestsellers: Parliament of Whores, Give War a Chance, and Driving Like Crazy. All of his manuscripts are typed on an IBM electric typewriter, because, he explains, his short attention span makes focusing on writing on a computer impossible. O’Rourke is regularly booked for public speaking appearances, including corporate entertainment events and private parties.