Last Tuesday night, the TV lovers of the world mourned the final episode of the beloved television series, Parks and Recreation. It was a light-hearted show that was incredibly quotable with a fantastic group of writers who developed it into something that was both sharply funny and addictively heartwarming. But the most difficult part of that final episode for fans was not watching their beloved characters say goodbye after seven seasons, but seeing a particular writer/producer grace the screen post-mortem.
Harris Wittels, who played one of the frustratingly dumb Animal Control workers on the show and who also was one of Parks’ writers and executive producers, passed away at the age of thirty from a drug overdose on February 19, just five days before the end of the show he helped create. Wittels was also known for his work on The Sarah Silverman Program and Comedy Bang Bang, as well as coining the term ‘humblebrag’ which made him a young, but experienced powerhouse in the comedy game. In light of this shocking tragedy, WTF with Marc Maron’s episode Remembering Harris Wittels which was re-released following Wittels’ death, seems to be the best podcast choice to send off a writer and comedy genius who will be sorely missed.
Marc Maron is a comedian who sits down with notable people several times a week in his garage, and records hour long interviews that are far more insightful and often more telling than your traditional one-on-one. At the beginning of each episode, Maron takes the time to do a spiel about his thoughts since the last episode, which typically end up being relevant to deeper themes in the pending interview.
In this episode, Maron’s usual dapper tone is replaced by sombreness, as he explains how unaware he was during this conversation, almost two years before Wittels’ death, how telling Harris Wittels’ infatuation with drugs is now with the help of retrospection. Indeed, as you listen, it is eerie how nonchalantly Wittels’ discusses narcotics and how casually he seems to think of his own mortality.