Amy Poehler's Emotional Tribute to 'Parks and Recreation' Producer Harris Wittels: 'I Lost a Friend'

by Raphael Chestang 12:23 PM PST, February 20, 2015
Playing Amy Poehler's Emotional Tribute to 'Parks and Recreation' Producer Harris Wittels: 'I Lost a Friend'

Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler was in no mood for jokes on Thursday when she was honored at unite4:good's second annual unite4:humanity event.

Instead, the actress remembered her friend and colleague, 30-year-old Parks and Rec producer Harris Wittels, in a touching speech just hours after learning of his death.

NEWS: Parks and Recreation Producer Dies of Apparent Overdose

"Today, I lost a friend," Poehler said. "I lost a dear young man in my life, who was struggling with addiction and who died. Just a few hours before we came, [Dr. Jane Aronson] and I sat and talked about it. I'm sharing it with you because life and death live so close together and we walk that fine line every day. At the end of the day when things happen in our lives we turn to the people that we love and we look to our family and our community for support and we lean on people in a hope that they will ease our pain."

Wittels, who acted as a co-executive producer on the NBC show with Poehler, was found on a couch at his Los Angeles home by his assistant. Police responded to a call regarding a possible drug overdose, arriving at the comedian's home in the Los Feliz neighborhood around 1 p.m. Drug paraphernalia was reportedly found in the home.

"I don't really feel like telling any jokes," Poehler continued in her speech. "I'm kind of sad and it's been really great to be here tonight to be listening to all of you -- to be inspired by the good work that you do, to be reminded why we live in this bizarre planet called Hollywood."

NEWS: Parks and Rec Cast Gets Emotional on Their Last Set Day

A friend of Wittels tells ET that the writer-producer was reportedly depressed following the show's production wrap in December and that he was having trouble finding work. The series ends Feb. 24 on NBC.

In addition to Parks and Rec, Wittels' other credits include The Sarah Silverman Program, Eastbound & Down, Secret Girlfriend and coining the term "humblebrag."