Harris Wittels: The man behind #humblebrag

Harris Wittels may not have been a household name, but he popularized the term #humblebrag.

Harris Wittels, who was found dead Thursday in his Los Angeles home, may not have been a household name or even particularly well known outside the insular comedy world.

But even those unfamiliar with his work on "Parks and Recreation," "Eastbound & Down" or "The Sarah Silverman Program" will understand what it means to humblebrag, a term the 30-year-old comedian was credited with introducing into the lexicon.

Writing for Grantland, Harris defined humblebragging as "a specific type of bragging which masks the brag in a faux-humble guise. The false humility allows the offender to boast their 'achievements' without any sense of shame or guilt."

It's a practice that's endemic among celebrities, torn as they are between a need to toot their own horns and a desire to seem down to earth, but is by no means exclusive to showbiz types. It's also especially rampant on Twitter, which seems to bring out the humblebragger in us all. 

What began as a hashtag grew into a highly popular Twitter account where Wittels shared some of the more egregious examples of the phenomenon (think Olivia Munn complaining that  she looked "like a goober" when she met Tom Hanks or Bethenny Frankel venting about how "intense" the L.A. paparazzi can be "for a girl who doesn't like wearing  makeup.")

For a time, Wittels maintained a column in which he ranked the best -- or was it the worst? -- celebrity humblebraggers (Tyler, the Creator was a frequent champion). He even wrote a book with chapters called "Ugh, I'm Too Skinny!" and "Ugh, Flying First Class Is So Ugh!" and devoted to various types of humblebragging. In a sign of its ubiquity, the term even popped up as an answer on "Jeopardy!" last year. 

On Friday, friends and fans remembered Wittels with humblebrags of their own -- a fitting tribute.

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