The comedy community lost a true talent this week when Harris Wittels, executive producer of Parks and Recreation and creator of the iconic #Humblebrag, died of a “possible overdose” at the age of 30. Wittels was found in his Los Angeles home by his assistant on Thursday, the LAPD told CNN, and since then his fellow comedians, like Sarah Silverman and Seth Meyers, have peppered social media with heartfelt tributes to the multi-talented writer, who made no secret of his struggles with addiction.
The latest truly touching remembrance comes from Parks and Rec cast member Aziz Ansari, who took to Tumblr today to share a mix of heartbreaking and hilarious remembrances, including tales of movie scripts that never saw the (green) light of day (but were written with the likes of Channing Tatum and Paul Giamatti in mind), the origin of the unforgettable Obama/Galifinakis Funny or Die sketch, laugh-out-loud inter-office NBC emails and more.
Aziz offers the below in closing:
“Bye Harris. I miss you and I’m glad I got to enjoy your genuinely amazing and original presence. I wish I got to you know even more. I hope people reading this realize what a incredibly unique man you were, and what brutal a loss it is for those who knew you and also for those who never had the pleasure. This has been so hard to write because I just keep wanting to add more and more stories and more jokes and more everything, but I’d never be able to finish it. You are far too special to sum up in any kind of piece like this. You were one of the best and we all will miss you.”
And of course, he is correct to say “we all will miss you.”
Writer and comedian Eli Braden told Refinery29:
“I didn't know him well but I thought he was a particularly sweet guy. Super smart and hilarious but never arrogant or cynical. He loved music almost as much as comedy, which was kind of where our tiny bit of bonding started. And one of the best at one-liners in the game - which made him stand out particularly in the early days of Twitter!”
Comedian and author Sara Benincasa says:
“I admired Harris Wittels from afar in this really shy, dorky talent crush way. He was younger than me but I looked up to him. I wish I had gotten to know him. I think a lot of us feel that way.”
Comedy writer Nadia Bacon told us:
"Harris was a budding comedy legend which is why this fucking thing is especially devastating. In one single joke he was skillfully able to blend all the good stuff: silly, sophisticated, dumb and thoughtful. And when you can do that consistently, when you’re that talented, it affords you some of that wiggle room to be a dick. And he wasn’t. He was nice."
Mindy Kaling tweeted:
The series finale of Parks and Rec, airing next week, is now a bit more bittersweet, but we will enjoy our remaining time in Pawnee, the fictional town The Atlantic calls “The Happiest Place on Television,” while we still can. And we send our thanks to Wittels for being part of the amazing team of people that brought us there. We are heartbroken over this news.