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Amy Poehler Mourns Parks and Recreation Producer Harris Wittels After His Sudden Death at 30

Amy Poehler and Harris Wittels
Amy Poehler remembered late Parks and Recreation producer Harris Wittels, who died suddenly at age 30 on Thursday: "So today, I lost a friend," she said at an event.

On a serious note. While speaking at an event on Thursday, Feb. 19, Amy Poehler took a moment to remember Harris Wittels, the executive producer of Parks and Recreation whose sudden death just hours before left Hollywood stunned.

“Thank you to Unite 4 Good,” Poehler, 43, said as she took the stage for Unite4Humanity’s event at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. “I like your style. I like what you guys talk about: creating generosity as a core value and about inspiring change and open-heartedness in your daily life.”

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“So today, I lost a friend,” she continued. “I lost a dear, young man in my life who was struggling with addiction and who died just a few hours before we came. Jane [Aronson] and I sat and talked about it, and I’m sharing it with you because life and death live so closely together and we walk that fine line every day. At the end of the day, when things happen in our lives and we turn to people that we love and we turn to family and community for support, we lean on people and hope that they will ease our pain.”

harris wittels
(l-r) Colton Dunn as Brett and Harris Wittels as Harris appearing on an episode of Parks and Recreation

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On that note, the normally bubbly comedienne shared that she was in no mood to lighten the mood.

“I don’t really feel like telling any jokes. I’m kind of sad,” Poehler confessed. “And it’s been really great to be here tonight and to be listening to all of you and inspired by the great work that you do and to be reminded why you live in this bizarre planet called ‘Hollywood.’ It’s very strange. I feel like talking about WWO, I feel like talking about the good work that they do, I feel like focusing on trauma and loss, how they encourage children through play and sport and creative arts… I feel not like telling jokes but celebrating with all of you tonight – everyone that works at WWO keeps reminding me of a very basic thing which is, I think we are all connected.”

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She then pleaded with the room to make a difference by taking it one step at a time. “What you have all done for me tonight is when something feels really big, too big to handle, just go very small,” she said. “Just go real small, just look at the person next to you and look in their eyes and meet the person next to you, find out their name, change one person’s life and make one call, write one letter, give one dollar. Whatever small thing feels like what you can do — it changes the course of the ship and that is all it is.”

Wittels, a writer, comedian, and a co-executive producer of Parks and Recreation, was found dead inside his home on Thursday, one week before the show’s scheduled series finale. Along with his TV stint, Wittels also wrote and produced Eastbound and Down and The Sarah Silverman Program.

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Like Poehler, Silverman also mourned Wittels late Thursday.

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