Harris Wittels, co-executive producer of Parks and Recreation, was found dead in his LA home this afternoon. While no official cause is clear as of yet, The Hollywood Reporter stated that police had responded to a 911 call at 12 PM for a possible drug overdose. Wittels himself had previously been candid about his struggles with addiction, even recounting his issues on Pete Holmes’ You Made It Weird podcast last November.
Along with Parks and Rec, Wittels also wrote and produced for stellar shows like The Sarah Silverman Program and Eastbound and Down and is even credited with coining the oft-used term “humblebrag,” which he turned into a book. He was also a recurring guest on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast and was a mainstay in the LA stand-up circuit. In fact he just performed in LA last night. Comedian Steve Agee took to Twitter to recount something Wittels said last night: “We’re all trying to avoid thinking about death, that’s why we get excited about these stupid, human interactions.”
In a 2008 interview with Laughspin (then called Punchline Magazine), Louis C.K. included Wittels on a very short list of comedians (including John Mulaney) he thought had amazing potential. Wittels had recently opened for C.K. In 2011, Wittels was one of Variety‘s 10 Comics To Watch, alongside the likes of Amy Schumer, Rebel Wilson and Jerrod Carmichael.
Wittel’s death comes less than a week before the final episode of his acclaimed Parks and Rec, a fact that makes this all the more tragic and cosmically unfair. Tributes and condolences have already begun pouring in from fans and would-be mentors alike. Wittels was 30-years-old. We send out our condolences to his friends and families. Rest easy, Harris.
The first UCB show I ever went to, Harris Wittels took out his dick and balls and I knew I had found a home and hero. #humblebrag
— Noël Wells (@RealTomHankz) February 20, 2015
So sad to hear of the passing of Harris Wittels. Such a talent. Such a loss. #HarrisWittels
— Kevin Nealon (@kevin_nealon) February 20, 2015
So sad. Such a cool funny guy…only 30 “@ComedyCentral: RIP and thank you, Harris Wittels.”
— Al Madrigal (@almadrigal) February 20, 2015
Don’t know what to say. Harris Wittels was a fantastic writer I had the pleasure to work with at Parks and Rec. So so sad. RIP Harris.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) February 20, 2015
Such heartbreaking news about Harris Wittels. A really funny guy.
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) February 20, 2015