'Humblebrag' Curator Harris Wittels Tackles Hollywood's False Modesty One Tweet At A Time
Comedian and "Parks and Recreation" writer-producer Harris Wittels was fed up with seeing underhanded brags on Twitter, so he decided to do something about it. Wittels started an account of his own, @humblebrag, retweeting the most insufferable anti-boasts he could find. The account's success led to Wittels writing the book, "Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty."
Wittels filled LAist in on @humblebrag's origins, the delicious craft services on "Parks and Rec" and how tough growing up in L.A. can be.
LAist: You made the term “humblebrag” into a buzzword with your Twitter account, and now you've made it into a book. When did it occur to you to start archiving faux-modest tweets?
Wittels: I created the Twitter feed a couple of years ago, but I would say my annoyance had festered inside of me for roughly six months prior to that happening.
LAist: Has anyone ever reacted negatively to being called out on @humblebrag?
Wittels: People have been cool about it for the most part. I’m just re-tweeting something they themselves said, so they can’t get TOO mad at me. One time, my friend and former-colleague, Chelsea Peretti, got uppity with me for re-tweeting her and as revenge she compiled a list of all the times I personally humblebragged. And it was a lengthy list. I hate the thing that I myself do. Ain’t that always how it goes?
LAist: Does the unique weirdness of living in Los Angeles play a role in the work you create?
Wittels: It definitely played into me writing the song “Under the Bridge,” which you may think was by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but is a song I actually wrote about my experiences in L.A. when I was two years old.
LAist: You've worked as a writer and co-producer on NBC's "Parks and Recreation". Any favorite stories from your work on the show?
Wittels: This is very tangentially related to "Parks and Rec", but it’s worth mentioning. Every year, the Friday before we take our week-long Thanksgiving break, the caterers give the cast and crew a feast of sorts. It is always awesome. And this year they put out this dessert that was the single best food I have ever tasted. They were essentially just these little rice krispie treat balls, but instead of Rice Krispies—are you ready??—it was CORN FLAKES! FUCKING CORN FLAKES. It made all the difference in the world. Everyone from Amy [Poehler] to Rashida [Jones] to myself and the other writers were really freaking out about them. They were gooey but they had a perfect crunch element as well. Just superb. Also, Joe Biden [who appeared on the show airing the week of the general election] is cool.