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Comedian's Sept. 11 Lie Revealed

Comedian Steve Rannazzisi has admitted to lying for years about being in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

In interviews, Rannazzisi said he escaped the south tower when terrorists crashed two airplanes into the buildings in 2001. Wednesday, he tweeted that he was in New York City that day, but in a building in Midtown.

Rannazzisi is a popular stand-up comic and one of the stars of the FX sitcom The League, about a fantasy football league.

In a 2009 interview with comedian Marc Maron, Rannazzisi told an elaborate story of working for Merrill Lynch for about a year and a half "until our building got hit with a plane." He went on to tell Maron that he worked on 54th floor of the south tower and that he and others were "jostled all over the place" when the plane hit. Rannazzisi claimed the tragedy was the impetus for his decision to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career as an entertainer.

When confronted by Serge Kovaleski of the New York Times, Rannazzisi confessed, through his publicist, that his stories were untrue. The comedian has also taken to Twitter to ask for forgiveness. "I made a mistake that I deeply regret and for which apologies may still not be enough." He continued, "It was profoundly disrespectful to those who perished and those who lost loved ones."

Some of Rannazzisi's comedian friends are accepting his apology. Today on The Opie w/Jim Show on SiriusXM, Saturday Night Live's Pete Davidson said Rannazzisi is "an extremely funny dude. That's why this article kinda sucks." Davidson's father was a firefighter who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks. Davidson tweeted, "Take it easy on @SteveRannazzisi ... He reached out to me and is truly sorry. We all sometimes lie and exaggerate a story to seem cooler ..."

Comedy Central is scheduled to air Rannazzisi's special Breaking Dad this Saturday.

In a statement to NPR, the network says it is still evaluating whether to take any action. "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."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.
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