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Remebering Harris Wittels



(Harris Wittels)


On Thursday, “Parks and Recreation” writer Harris Wittels died of an apparent drug overdose, after years of using his self-described ‘drug guy’ sensibility to win over fans in comedy and music.


Since his death, Wittels’ co-workers on “Parks,” including Rob Lowe, Aziz Ansari and rAmy Poehler, have expressed their condolences with heartfelt expressions of bittersweet grief.


In one note on Ansari’s blog post, the comedian remembers how Wittels, after an NBC-wide email announcing a mandatory sexual harassment seminar was sent, Wittels responded.


“Serious execs are CC’d along with Harris and the writers. Harris writes back, REPLY ALL, with this gem — now keep in mind EVERYONE is on this email, all the crew, so many higher level producers and execs, here we go:”

Harris NBC email.png

This anything-goes vibe was what Wittels offered in his comedy, taking risky shots his peers revel in remembering.


Wittels’ death is tragic, but no surprise to fans: in November, the comedian and writer appeared on Pete Holmes’ “You Made It Weird!” podcast, where he recounted harrowing tales of rehab and relapses into a burgeoning heroin addiction.


Here are some of the most interesting and painful quotes from that interview.


“Robin Williams had gone to [my] rehab facility,” Wittels said. “I guess that’s not a glowing endorsement.


“If I go out again now that it’s shooting heroin, I could die,” Wittels said in his conversation with Holmes. “That’s it. It’s not fun anymore, it’s like life and death now. And I don’t want to do that to my parents, I don’t want to do that to myself. So I’m taking it more seriously now. And I’m in a good place.”


“I feel good,” Wittels said, ending the podcast episode. “I feel optimistic. I feel clear-headed. And I also feel sometimes like I want to use drugs still. And that’ll just be there forever, and I can’t use them.”


Rest in peace, you crazy, Phish-loving comedian. Thank goodness we got the laughs from you that we did.

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