“My friend, colleague, & hero passed away yesterday.”
The above sentence is how Aziz Ansari shared his heartfelt tribute to Harris Wittels; the comedian, writer, and Parks & Recreation executive producer who passed away a few days ago.
Since his death, many in the comedy community have shared their own personal Wittels stories. Photos, favorite jokes, texts, tweets, or stories. Almost of all them hilariously funny about a too-young-to-die comedian whose main concern was to make people, particularly his peers, laugh.
Aziz began his tribute with what he felt about his friend.
There are so few people that you meet in life that give you that feeling that you’ve found a real unique, original person. Harris Wittels was one of those and we lost him yesterday. He was 30 years old. I’ve been devastated.
I’m still waiting for the other phone call to let me know that Harris is okay and this was all a horrible misunderstanding. I don’t know when my brain is going to be able to process the terrible feeling that fills my heart with dread and my eyes with tears every 20 seconds when I realize this very special person is really gone.
Additionally, Ansari shared that Wittels was his go-to writer to punch up a script or to come up with the funniest joke on the set of Parks And Recreation. Sharing excerpts from movie scripts they worked on together that were never made, Wittels’ stand-up comedy, and how bold he was in the name of his comedy.
Perhaps the best example of this in Ansari’s tribute was when NBC instituted a mandatory workplace harassment seminar, Wittels, on an email with all of the network brass on copy, delivered a well-timed, one sentence joke that completely and hilariously crossed the line.
Ansari continued to reveal that Wittels was the guy behind the funniest jokes from Obama’s appearance on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. He also spoke towards Wittels obsession with bands like Phish and 311. His odd love for Chilis, his struggle with addiction and his last memory of Harris just the day before his death.
Ansari signed off with a heartfelt goodbye to his friend… it’s sure ’bout to get dusty up in here.
Bye Harris. I miss you and I’m glad I got to enjoy your genuinely amazing and original presence. I wish I got to you know even more. I hope people reading this realize what a incredibly unique man you were, and what brutal a loss it is for those who knew you and also for those who never had the pleasure. This has been so hard to write because I just keep wanting to add more and more stories and more jokes and more everything, but I’d never be able to finish it. You are far too special to sum up in any kind of piece like this. You were one of the best and we all will miss you.
Laugh and cry at the same time as you the full tribute here.