He caught my attention early on in National Lampoon* with some hilarious (and some extremely raunchy) stories. I remember in particular enjoying a long, amazingly funny story called Vacation '58 which ended up being made into the movie Vacation, and the script was so good that even Chevy Chase couldn't ruin the movie.
*(Off topic: Why can't we have an equivalent of NatLamp today? What happened to all the good magazines?)
I'm feeling really old all of a sudden with another touch point to my youth gone. John Hughes nailed it on the head on what it was like to grow up a teenager in 1980s suburban North America complete with a good soundtrack. Along with Fast Times at Ridgemount High, Hughes teen movies: Breakfast Club, 16 Candles, Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller's Day Off spoke to a generation of kids.