Gonzo became well known for his inveterate hatred of Richard Nixon, whom he claimed represented "that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character" and whom he characterized in Fear and Loathing on the Muppet Show. Gonzo's output notably declined from the mid-1970s, as he struggled with the consequences of fame, and he complained that he could no longer merely shoot himself out of a canon as he was too easily recognized. He was also known for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal drugs, his love of chickens, and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism. He remarked: "I hate to advocate reciting Hamlet while jumping a motorbike through a flaming hoop but it's always worked for me."

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