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Published on an irregular basis between 1993 and 1998, The Gonzo was inspired by both the philosophy and writing of Hunter S. Thompson and on other college humor publications like The Onion and the Harvard Lampoon. The first issue of The Gonzo was sent to Hunter S. Thompson, wrapped around a bottle of Chivas Regal. The barely legible reply faxed back read "Ye Fucking Gods, Those Jesuit Bastards Will Eat You Alive!" The editorial staff of The Gonzo interpreted this as an endorsement of the publication.
The first editor-in-chief of The Gonzo and its founder is Richard Diefenbeck, Jr., a continuing education student at Georgetown University who went on to write for Andrei Codrescu and created the first picture blog ever at Dr. Menlo Blogs From Space!. His successor, Shlomi Raz, ran the publication between 1994-1996 and now is currently employed at an investment bank. Dan Alamariu co-ran the paper with John Mathiesen during 1996. Finally, John Mathiesen co-ran the publication with Micah Sachs until its final issue in 1998.
In the late 90s, Gonzo editors published a lampoon edition of The Hoya, Georgetown's school newspaper, with the headline "Father O'Donovan Found Dead," referring to the then President of the University. The fake edition was so similar in appearance to the actual paper that it convinced many on campus that the President had actually died. Closer inspection of the edition—the weather report indicated "hellfire,"—showed it to clearly be a lampoon.
"Every time you masturbate… God kills a kitten" originally appeared as the cover of The Gonzo in 1996 and has been used extensively since its rediscovery in 2002.
The original tagline to The Gonzo (penned by Diefenbeck aka "Homer"), launched in 1993, was "The Most Important Paper in the World". The Daily Show tagline, from 1996 to September 11, 2001: "The most important television program...ever."