I love being in a newsroom by myself, surrounded by the shadows and silence and latent hum of computers.
I wasn’t alone all night, though. The first half of my shift was spent in the auditory company of Harris Wittels, one of my all-time favorite podcast guests ever. What a brilliant guy.
An NPR memorial called my attention to Wittels’ second appearance on Pete Holmes’ podcast “You Made It Weird.” In it, the writer-comedian recounts thea entire odyssey of his drug use, from being a casual toker to getting hopelessly and desperately strung out on heroin.
The way he tells it is so characteristically, bizarrely hilarious that it’s impossible to not relate with him — even as he gets mixed up in Scientology and robbed multiple times. There are also liberal references to Wheat Thicks, a Harris classic. Gimme that wheat.
Near the end, he reflects on Robin Williams’ death, and it gets spooky and premonitious.
I know I can’t do heroin again, he says, Because I’ll just die.b
It’s devastating to hear. That was four months ago. Doesn’t it feel a little like this generation’s Mitch Hedberg moment? Thinking about that, it finally struck me what made his comedy so unique.
Harris Wittels was the man standing in front of a firing squad, asking for one last cigarette, and then lighting the wrong end on purpose.
— Matt Walks (@mgwalks) February 21, 2015