NY Times Busts TV Actor And Comedian For Phony Story Of Escaping 9/11

Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP

Steve Rannazzisi, a television actor and comedian who repeatedly recounted a horrifying experience of escaping the World Trade Center on 9/11, admitted on Tuesday to The New York Times the tale was a lie.

Rannazzisi has spent seven seasons acting on the TV show “The League” and is scheduled to have a one-hour special Saturday on Comedy Central.

“I was not at the Trade Center on that day,” he said in a statement provided by his publicist to the Times. “I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.”

He declined a request from the Times for an interview.

“For many years, more than anything, I have wished that, with silence, I could somehow erase a story told by an immature young man. It only made me more ashamed,” he said in the statement to the Times. “How could I tell my children to be honest when I hadn’t come clean about this?”

Rannazzisi talked about escaping the World Trade Center during an interview with comedian Marc Maron on the podcast, “WTF with Marc Maron” in 2009.

Rannazzisi told Maron that he was an account manager at Merrill Lynch until “our building got hit with a plane.”

But, Merrill Lynch had “no record of his employment and had no offices in either tower,” according to the New York Times.

“I worked on the 54th floor of the second tower. I was there and then the first tower got hit and we were like jostled all over the place,” Rannazzisi told Maron. “And then Port Authority came on the loudspeaker and they were like, ‘ hey, explosion in tower one, things are being taken care of, everyone remain where you are, stay calm. We’re figuring things out’.”

“And I was like well I’m going to go check this thing out, so I went downstairs, walked outside, saw all the pandemonium,” Rannazzisi said. “About five or six minutes later and then bang!”

Rannazzisi also said that his then-girlfriend worked on the the 24th floor of the south tower, but didn’t get to work that day because she was stuck in the subway. He was prepared to call her parents and tell them she was dead when she walked through the door to their apartment, he told Maron.

That was wrong too, according to the Times. She was scheduled to work in the World Financial Center near the south tower that day, according to the newspaper.

Rannazzisi began describing the experience around the 25-minute mark:

He recounted the same experience for a series called “Pauly Shore & Friends” in 2009.

“I went downstairs to see what was going on,” Rannazzisi said. “I walk outside, I see the fire and everything and watch the second plane hit the second tower. And I ran, ran, ran, ran, ran.”

Watch him describe it at the 1:26 mark:

Rannazzisi took to Twitter on Wednesday to apologize.

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