Amy Poehler Mourns Harris Wittels: ‘I Lost a Dear, Young Friend’
Amy Poehler was honored at Variety’s second annual unite4humanity event, but in her speech, the Parks and Recreation star took the time to mourn the loss of Harris Wittels, a co-executive producer on the show who was found dead in his home Thursday afternoon from a possible drug overdose.
“Today, I lost a friend,” said Poehler. “I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction.”
Poehler was on-hand to accept the Unity Award for her work with Worldwide Orphans, but her tone was more somber, as Wittels’ death prompted her to grow reflective on the cycle of life and death.
“I’m sharing it with you because life and death live so close together, and we walk that fine line everyday,” she said. “When things happen in our lives, we turn to the people that we love…and we lean on people, in a hope that we will ease our pain.”
Wittels was found dead at around 1:00 PM ET on Thursday, with drug paraphernalia scattered around the house. In addition to being only 30-years-old at the time of his passing, Wittels’ death was made tragic by his well-documented attempts to get clean, as he’s spoken candidly about his attempts to overcome addiction in the past.
“So, I don’t really feel like telling any jokes. 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, earning a laugh. “It’s very strange.”
Ultimately, this is a tragic situation all-around, and my heart goes out to Wittels’ family and friends, Poehler included. Parks and Recreation has been a terrific series, and one of NBC’s best comedies for close to a decade now. Wittels had a lot to do with that, and his loss is a big one for the comedy world.