Amy Poehler Mourns Death of ‘Parks and Recreation’ Producer Harris Wittels ‘Who Was Struggling With Addiction’

“I don’t really feel like telling any jokes,” the actress and comedian said at a Hollywood event on Thursday

Last Updated: February 20, 2015 @ 9:23 AM

Amy Poehler exchanged humor for sincerity on Thursday while mourning the loss of “Parks and Recreation” writer and co-executive producer Harris Wittels, who she said “was struggling with addiction.”

“Today, I lost a friend,” Poehler told the crowd at a Hollywood Oscar nominee event in Beverly Hills, the New York Daily News reported. “I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction. I’m sharing it with you because life and death live so close together, and we walk that fine line everyday. So, I don’t really feel like telling any jokes.”

Poehler, who leads the cast of the NBC sitcom, was honored at the event for her work with orphaned children. Wittels, a 30-year-old comedian, was found dead in his Los Angeles home just hours earlier. An L.A. Police Department spokesman told TheWrap he died of a possible drug overdose.

“I’m kind of sad, and it’s really great to be here tonight and listen to all of you, and listen to the great work that you do and be reminded why we live in this bizarre planet called Hollywood,” Poehler said. “It’s very strange.”

Wittels had worked on “Parks and Rec” since its debut in 2011. Starting as a staff writer, he worked his way up to co-executive producer. The comedy’s series finale is set to air next Tuesday, March 24, after seven seasons.

Additionally, Wittels has written and produced for HBO’s “Eastbound & Down,” Comedy Central’s “Secret Girlfriend” and “The Sarah Silverman Program.” In 2012, Wittels was cast as a co-star on Silverman’s NBC pilot, “Susan 313,” which was ultimately not picked up.

“RIP and thank you, Harris Wittels,” Comedy Central tweeted after the news of his death broke.


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