Harris Wittels was a comedian who was not afraid to post his humorous thoughts on the web, on TV and podcasts. Unfortunately, Wittels died of a heroin overdose at the age of 30 in 2015. Wittels’ family is making it their mission to carry on his memory by spreading the word about substance abuse and grief in any way they can.
Who Was Harris Wittels?
Harris Wittels was a comedic writer and co-executive producer for many award-winning television shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “Master of None.” He was an improviser on podcasts like Comedy Bang Bang and Analyze Phish. In an episode of the podcast “You Made Me Weird,” Wittels was open about his opioid abuse where he spoke about taking prescription opioids for back pain to buying heroin in the park. Wittels would speak about his stints in rehab and his experiences relapsing. Little did anyone know that his substance abuse was not a thing of the past, but an ongoing issue.
How Did Harris Wittels’ Mother Honor His Memory?
Wittels’ mother, Maureen, founded the Houston chapter of Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing six months after her son died. Even though the group is supposed to be for people who have lost someone after at least 18 months, Maureen still wants to provide hopes for others going through tragedy. Maureen has also spoken online about her son’s death with specific calls to action changing drug laws to recognize substance abuse issues as a health crisis instead of crime.
How Did Harris Wittels’ Sister Honor His Memory?
Wittels’ sister, Stephanie, wrote and published a book about her brother called “Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love, and Loss” in 2018. Stephanie speaks about the moments before her brother’s death as well as the details of her mourning and grief when it happened and months after. Stephanie speaks about how Wittels would speak about addiction in Pete Holmes’s podcast knowing that Wittels was using at the time. Stephanie felt like writing this book helped her better channel her emotions to avoid losing memories of her brother. She also made a podcast called “Last Day” of the last day of people who died of an overdose or last day of use before sobriety. Wittels’ family are channeling their grief by breaking the stigma of addiction and not letting Harris Wittels be defined by his addiction.
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