30-year-old comedian and Parks and Recreation executive producer Harris Wittels was pronounced dead of an apparent drug overdose around 1pm Thursday when his assistant found him on his couch in his home the Los Angeles Police Department said. Wittels was very open about his struggles with drug addiction. He even spoke about them on Mar Maron’s “WTF” podcast Comedy Bang Bang.
Parks and Recreation will air its final episode next Tuesday, in what will be the seventh season of the acclaimed comedy. Wittels appeared in the show in a small role as an animal control employee. The official cause of death is still to be determined by the County coroner but several industry publications have reported it may be because of an overdose. Wittels had gone to rehab twice for his struggles. In addition to Parks and Rec, Wittels had worked on Eastbound and Down, The Sarah Silverman Program and Secret Girlfriend. Wittels also popularized the phrase “humblebrag” when he turned the phenomenon into a book, “Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty in 2013.”
Many have taken to twitter to express their condolences including cast members from Parks and Recreation, Sarah Silverman, Seth Meyers, Funny or Die, Comedy Central and Dane Cook. Wittels also performed standup comedy, played drums and provided backup vocals for musical group Don’t Stop or We’ll Die with fellow comedians Michael Cassady and Paul Rust. He spoke to a crowd Wednesday night before his death and his music trio was scheduled for a performance at the UCB Theater on February 28th. Mr. Wittels was a graduate of Emerson College and joined Parks and Recreation before its second season.
“You should know that Harris was brilliant beyond compare,” Sarah Silverman wrote. “That his imagination was without limit. That he loved comedy more than anything.”