The comedy show Parks and Recreation is in its final season, and the show is doing its best to wrap up all of its characters and prepare for what would seem like happy endings next week on February 24th. Sadly, one of the producers of the show, Harris Wittels, was found dead in his apartment of a suspected overdose at age 30.
Harris Wittels got his start as a very popular stand-up comedian, and he was known for being "avuncular and easygoing, while engaging with the darkest topics in the strangest ways", according to The Atlantic. He often toured with Louise C.K., who is also famous for his painfully honest routines and his own show Louie on the FX network. Wittels also played drums in Don't Stop Or We'll Die, which is a rock band made of former comics. He created the term "humblebrag" from his Twitter handle, and this became a book.
His comic talents got him jobs working on such shows like The Sarah Silverman Show, Eastbound and Down, as well as Parks and Recreation. On Parks, he was a repeating guest star as Wittels often appeared as a cheerfully stoned animal control worker, and this character was actually a lot like himself in real life.
Amy Poehler, who portrays the lead character Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation, briefly discussed Wittels' passing at unite4:good's unite4: humanity gala at the Beverly Hilton. According to Variety, she stated "Today, I lost a friend, I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction."
When Poehler discussed Wittels, she was being recognized with the Unity Award for her work with Worldwide Orphans and underprivileged children. She also stated that she did not feeling like telling any jokes, which is not like the former Saturday Night Live alumni to do.
Harris Wittels' drug problems were often a part of his routines, openly discussing his efforts to get sober on stage. In November of last year, Wittels appeared on Pete Holmes show You Made It Weird and talked about his addiction to oxycodone as well as heroin, not to mention trips to rehabilitation clinics. It wasn't like he was sharing a dark side of himself for pity's sake, but his honesty was all part of his comedy routine.
Parks and Recreation will be finishing its seventh and final season on February 24, with a two-part episode called "One Last Ride". This year's season started very late in January, but Parks and Recreation have been compensating for it with two episodes every Tuesday, very different from its former Thursday time slot. There are only 13 episodes this season, but with all the cast and crew knowing that it is the last one, the tone is very different. There are still antics to be had by Leslie Knope and her friends in government, but these characters are getting a lot of closure. On the final episode, Leslie and her co-worker friends will unite for one last time before bidding farewell to Pawnee.