Ahead of what would be his 33rd birthday this Thursday, The Guardian has a wonderful piece out today about the late Harris Wittels, who died in 2015 after a short but prolific comedy career. In the piece, Wittels’ former coworkers and friends Sarah Silverman, Mike Schur, Aziz Ansari, Amy Poehler, Scott Aukerman, and more reflect on their time working with the writer and comedian, and it’s a fantastic read for Wittels fans. “He felt like a son to me, he really did. I still email him from time to time,” Sarah Silverman – who hired Wittels as a writer on her Comedy Central show – said. “I know it’s denial, but I just had to decide that he’s super busy for the rest of my life. But you can only kid yourself for so long.”
Another quote from Silverman:
The smartest thing I ever did was hire Harris, and the second smartest thing I did was realise how much I had to learn from him, even though he was 14 years younger than me. He taught me to just write the stuff you love and appeal to the people who love that, and not worry about the rest.
Writer/producer Alan Yang (Parks and Rec, Master of None):
I know people will say: “Oh, you’re just saying this because of what happened,” but I swear this is the truth: Harris was basically the funniest person I ever met.
Harris could coast because he was so talented. He basically got away with murder for a long time because he could produce great work on 50% effort.
We have a text chain, the actors from Parks, and his name pops up a lot, memories and things he’d say, just talking about him. The fucking bummer about death is that it ends the conversation and Harris loved conversation – arguing about things, coming up with lists, making dumb jokes. But the conversation is just one way now.
Harris’ mother Maureen:
Harris was such a loving little guy. I remember once when he was 12 or 13, I was walking down the hall with him at his school and he took my hand. He didn’t care about all his friends seeing him. I can feel his hand in mine now, as if he were with me.