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Amy Poehler Says 'Parks & Rec' Exec Producer Struggled With Addiction
Just hours after news broke out that Harris Wittels, the co-executive producer of Parks and Recreation, was found dead in his home from a possible drug overdose on Thursday, the show's star Amy Poehler gave a heartfelt speech about Wittels and talked about his drug addiction. Other comedians and friends also took to Twitter to mourn their loss.
At the unite4humanity event in Beverly Hills last night, Poehler was honored with an award for her work with orphans, but during her acceptance speech she chose to speak about the 30-year-old executive producer. "Today, I lost a friend," Poehler said, according to Variety. "I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction."
Poehler added: "I'm sharing it with you because life and death live so close together, and we walk that fine line everyday."
On Twitter, Parks and Rec alum Rob Lowe also mentioned Wittels' addiction:
Goddammit. Addiction takes another. Goodbye Harris Wittels, you were so funny and so sweet. It's a pleasure to have known you. #ParksandRec— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) February 20, 2015
Comedian Sarah Silverman, who snagged Wittels in 2007 when he was a stand-up comedian to write for her series, The Sarah Silverman Program. She tweeted:
He was my baby. I just keep thinking of superman flying backwards around the earth. I wish I could do that. I'm so mad at you Harris— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) February 20, 2015
You should know that Harris was brilliant beyond compare. That his imagination was without limit. That he loved comedy more than anything.— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) February 20, 2015
Wittels was a brilliant comedian who also wrote for Eastbound and Down and created the wildly popular Twitter @Humblebrag; later, he would pen the book Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty. He was also a recurring guest on Comedy Bang Bang with his segment, "Harris' Foam Corner."
He was candid about his struggle with addiction on a 2012 episode of comedian Pete Holmes' podcast, You Made It Weird. Wittels opened up about how he had been using drugs since he was 12, had been addicted to oxycodone and heroin, and did some rehab stints. Just a day before he died, Wittels performed standup at L.A.'s Meltdown Comics and told the crowd he was sober and in a "good place," TMZ reported.
Wittels' assistant found him in his Los Feliz home on Thursday afternoon. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities allegedly discovered drug paraphernalia in his home, according to TMZ. Although it's believed he died from a drug overdose, the L.A. County Coroner's Office will perform an autopsy on him on Saturday to determine the cause of death.
Other fellow comedians shared their love for Wittels on Twitter:
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
Such a nice guy. RIP @Twittels. Please go to his Twitter feed and retweet one that makes you laugh. Won't be hard to find.— Doug Benson (@DougBenson) February 20, 2015
Harris Wittels wrote my first episode of Eastbound and Down and was a hilarious and fun guy to hang out with. I'm very sad today— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) February 20, 2015
I am truly crushed to report that a brilliant comic mind, Harris Wittels, has passed away. This really fucking sucks. #RIPHarris— ʞɔiwbɿɒH ꙅiɿʜƆ (@hardwick) February 20, 2015
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