Multiple outlets are reporting that Harris Wittels, a comedian and writer for shows like Parks and Recreation and The Sarah Silverman Program, has been found dead in his home at the age of 30. TMZ first reported the news, noting that the cause of death was likely a drug overdose. The comedian had a long history with addiction and had spoken openly about his experiences in rehab.
Wittels was a fixture of the Los Angeles comedy scene, where he was often a guest on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast. He had a regular segment, Harris’ Phone Corner, where he read aloud jokes — mostly terrible ones — that he texted to himself. ("Just call half-and-half: one.'" "Wi-Fi? "Because-Fi.") He was also in a comedic pop band, Don’t Stop or We’ll Die, with fellow comedians Paul Rust and Michael Cassady.
In November 2010, Wittels created "humblebrag," a Twitter account devoted to a phenomenon he had noticed on social media: people making what at first sounded like self-deprecating remarks, which in fact functioned as boasts. This one, from Pixar director Lee Unkrich, is a representative example:
Spaz Alert: I tripped walking up stairs to stage to receive my Oscar Nominee certificate. #foreveranerd— Lee Unkrich (@leeunkrich) February 8, 2011
Wittels retweeted the humblebrags he found onto the Twitter account, and also began collecting them into a series of columns for Grantland. In September 2012, Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty was published as a book.