Born in Brooklyn, Vizzini wrote for New York City newspapers as a teenager in the 1990s. In 2000, he published his first book, a collection of his essays called Teen Angst? Naaah…, and in 2004, he published his first novel, Be More Chill. Later that year, he was hospitalized for depression and suicidal thoughts, an experience that would inspire the semi-autobiographical It's Kind of a Funny Story. In 2010, Funny Story was made into a movie starring Zach Galifianakis and Emma Roberts.
Vizzini wrote two other books and contributed to the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other publications. He also wrote for MTV's Teen Wolf and ABC's The Last Resort, and was working on NBC's Believe, produced by J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron, at the time of his death.
He is survived by his wife Sabra and their two-year-old son.