Well here’s some strange news: According to The New York Times, standup and The League star Steve Rannazzisi admitted on Tuesday that, despite his reports to the contrary for the past 14 years, he did not narrowly escape the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. In fact, he wasn’t at the World Trade Center at all.
Prior to this week, Rannazzisi has spoken about his alleged 9/11 experience at WTC in various interviews, including podcast interviews on WTF with Marc Maron and Sklarbro Country. “I couldn’t tell exactly where it went in,” Rannazzisi told Maron in his WTF interview, “so, I called up to the office, and it was pandemonium. They were like, ‘We are on our way down, we are on our way down.’” When pressed about the experience yesterday, however, he finally came clean:
Confronted this week, though, with evidence that undermined his account, Mr. Rannazzisi, after a day of deliberation, acknowledged on Tuesday that his account was fiction. Actually, he had been working in Midtown that day, and not for Merrill Lynch, which has no record of his employment and had no offices in either tower. “I was not at the Trade Center on that day,” he said in a statement provided by his publicist, Matthew Labov. “I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.”
The New York Times notes that Rannazzisi has played down the story in recent years, but in a statement released through his publicist he apologized for letting the lie last so long:
“For many years, more than anything,” he said, “I have wished that, with silence, I could somehow erase a story told by an immature young man. It only made me more ashamed. How could I tell my children to be honest when I hadn’t come clean about this?” “It was profoundly disrespectful to those who perished and those who lost loved ones,” he said. “The stupidity and guilt I have felt for many years has not abated. It was an early taste of having a public persona, and I made a terrible mistake. All I can ask is for forgiveness.”
The League is currently in the middle of its final season on FXX. Rannazzisi also has a new Comedy Central special Breaking Dad set to premiere this Saturday.
UPDATE: In light of today’s news, Comedy Central has released the following statement regarding Rannazzisi’s standup special: “We just learned about this last night. We are very disappointed to hear about Steve’s misrepresentations and are currently determining how we will move forward.”