Steve Rannazzisi talks publicly for first time about his 9/11 lie

Steve Rannazzisi spoke out for the first time in almost a month since the revelation that he’d been lying for 14 years about where he was Sept. 11, 2001.

The comedian and star of FX’s The League apologized again this morning, this time on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM morning radio program. He hadn’t been on social media since issuing his first public apology on the subject on Sept. 16, 2015.

Stern: “Do you think of yourself as a liar?”

Rannazzisi: “No, I don’t.”

Stern: “Do you think of yourself as psychologically disturbed? How do you view yourself after doing this thing?”

Rannazzisi: “I mean. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know – psychologically disturbed, I’m not sure if that’s the way to put it. I mean, I do see someone and I’m starting to figure out more about myself. You know. Co-dependency, and how I’m wanting people to like me and to make people happy.”

“It’s not like I moved to Los Angeles with this story with the thought of like, I’m going to go out and trick everyone out there and tell them this is what it is.”

Stern: “It wasn’t calculated.” Rannazzisi: “It wasn’t calculated at all. It was as simple as sitting at The Comedy Store and everyone like, ‘Hey, you’re from New York?’ ‘Yeah, yeah.’ ‘Were you just there? Were you at 9/11? You around it?’ ‘Yeah, yeah, I was downtown. Yeah, I was there.’ ‘You worked there?’ ‘Yeah. Yeah, I did.’ And, it’s – you have 15 seconds, I think. To kind of go, ‘Wait. Hold on. Stop. I’m sorry. That’s not what true.’ And if you pass that 15 seconds, it’s sort of like now…”

Stern: “It becomes the story.”

Rannazzisi: “It becomes a thing where you’re like now I have to be the guy who’s very strange and weird and just said I lied about 9/11.”

Stern asked to clarify that his girlfriend, who became his wife, went along with the lies all of these years.

Rannazzisi: “Yes. She had to. She had no choice.”

Stern: “Did she ever say to you, ‘What are we doing? We weren’t in the Twin Towers.’ Or did you guys just ignore talking about it?”

Rannazzisi: “We talked about it. And she did say, she was like, ‘What, what’s going on here?’ And I mean, when I tell you, I was here, and I was downtown, and I did walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and I did witness…”

Both: “As many of us did.”

Rannazzisi: “And so, to me, I, when I took her story in a way. Because she worked on the 24th floor of the (World) Financial Center, and I just sort of put myself in her position. That. When I told her that, she was just like, ‘Well, why would you do that?’ I-I-I, it just slipped out. I don’t know what to do now to make it, to fix it…The hurt and the pain and the nervousness that you hear now, comes from, because I know what I did was terrible. And I know that I hurt a lot of people. People that lost people. People that helped people survive. And those people, those are the people that I truly am sorry. That’s why I wanted to come on here. Because I wanted to talk to you and your audience. Because you’re personified with New York. And your audience is. Those are the people that truly – I, in my heart, I feel awful that my dumb mistake created a story that just hit a wound that should never have been touched.”

He also told Stern that he personally apologized to Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, whose firefighting father died on Sept. 11, 2001. “We spoke that day and I apologized to him and the thing that he said to me was that people make mistakes,” Rannazzisi said. “I can’t even say thank you enough to Pete Davidson. That guy, he’s top notch.”

Now he just hopes to move on.

“It’s out now and I don’t have to wait and see what’s going to happen or be cautious anymore,” Rannazzisi said. “I don’t have to live with the lie anymore. I’m an idiot; I made a terrible mistake but this is not who I am and I’m going to move on beyond this.”

“The lie that I told and the subject matter is a very touchy subject matter,” he said. “I’m just going to go on stage and be myself. I’m expecting some people will heckle me.”

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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One thought on “Steve Rannazzisi talks publicly for first time about his 9/11 lie

  1. What Mr. Rannazzisi did was wrong, and he will have to live with that. He will have to explain to his children what he did, and some people will never forgive him, and may treat him like crap for the rest of his life.

    But I won’t. He’s a talented guy, and shouldn’t be prevented from providing for his family with his talent. He should be allowed to try to make amends for his actions. Maybe donate his time to a WTC based charity, or volunteer to help at a local fire department; something to show his contrition.

    Some of the vitriol I have read and heard from people over this is down-right frightening. The violent and depraved things people have expressed show that they may need to seek some help themselves. He told a lie, and is now trying to make up for the pain he may have caused. We should allow him the same courtesy we would hope to get ourselves.

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