My heart goes out to friends and family of Harris Wittels. I’m devastated just as a person who only looked up to him for his jokes and podcast appearances–I can’t imagine what kind of grief they are feeling.

I may have been the only person in the world to see this moment, so it feels important to share:

I saw Harris once in real life. I was waiting in line to see Comedy Bang Bang at the RiotLA festival and he came out of the theater and stood nearby to smoke a cigarette. No one else in line even seemed to notice he was there so I tried to keep my freakout internal, but now I really regret missing my chance to tell him that his jokes were important to me.

Anyway, as he was finishing up his cigarette, he pulled out his phone, wrote something really quick and then went back inside the theater. Minutes later, he came on stage for his Foam Corner segment of the show. He said that he had just written a joke he wanted to share, and then proceeded to do his famous bit: “I hate smoking sections. Unless we’re talking about The Mask with Jim Carrey, in which case the ‘smoking’ section is my favorite part.”

Even though I guess some people would consider it just a dumb little joke, it really felt like I got a personal glimpse at a genius creating something special right in front of me.

Which is also what it felt like to hear him perform on podcasts.

Rest in peace, Harris.

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