Comedian: I Lied About Harrowing 9/11 Escape

Steve Rannazzisi: 'I made a terrible mistake'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2015 10:16 AM CDT
Updated Sep 16, 2015 10:48 AM CDT
Comedian: I Lied About Harrowing 9/11 Escape
This image from video shows Steve Rannazzisi during his upcoming Comedy Central special "Breaking Dad."   (YouTube)

Comedian Steve Rannazzisi moved to Los Angeles to pursue an entertainment career after escaping Merrill Lynch's offices on the 54th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower minutes before it was hit on Sept. 11, 2001. Rannazzisi says he realized life was too short and he better make the most of it, per the New York Times. "I still have dreams of like, you know, those falling dreams," he said in a 2009 interview, in which he described his escape in detail. He failed to mention that it was all a lie. "I was not at the Trade Center on that day," Rannazzisi now says. "I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry." The Times reports the comments came after Rannazzisi, who stars on the FXX show The League, was confronted with evidence contrary to his account, including that Merrill didn't have offices in the Twin Towers.

Rannazzisi—who adjusted his story last year to say he was simply "downtown" when the planes hit—was actually working in Midtown on Sept. 11, the Times reports. "For many years, more than anything … I have wished that, with silence, I could somehow erase a story told by an immature young man," he says. "It was profoundly disrespectful to those who perished and those who lost loved ones," he adds. "It was an early taste of having a public persona, and I made a terrible mistake. All I can ask is for forgiveness." The Times uncovered another falsity on Rannazzisi's website: It says he graduated from the performing arts State University of New York at Purchase, when he actually graduated from SUNY Oneonta. His publicist attributed this to an error. Buffalo Wild Wings, which has featured Rannazzisi in ad campaigns, says it is "re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts." (More comedian stories.)

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