Steve Rannazzisi said his decision to lie about where he was during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 was “a completely out-of-the-blue situation,” and that it was not a calculated move.
During an interview with Howard Stern on Tuesday, “The League” star spoke out about his lie publicly for the first time since revealing last month that he had fibbed for years about being in one of the fallen World Trade Center towers on 9/11.
“My dumb mistake created a story that hit a wound that should have never been touched,” Rannazzisi told Stern.
For years, Rannazzisi had told people he worked at Merrill Lynch on the 54th floor of the south tower when the planes hit, the first time being during a standup comedy show shortly after 9/11.
“To be honest with you, it was a completely out-of-the-blue situation,” Rannazzisi admitted. “It wasn’t calculated.”
He even enlisted his wife to go along with the lie once he revealed to her his fabrication: “She had to … She had no choice.”
However, Rannazzisi also revealed that his wife was working at the nearby World Financial Center on the day of the attacks, and that her experience compelled him to tell the world he had been working in the south tower as well — a fiction he now regrets.
“The hurt and the pain and the nervousness that you hear now comes from … because I know what I did was terrible,” Rannazzisi said. “I know that I hurt a lot of people — people that lost people, people that helped people survive. And those are the people that I am truly sorry. I feel awful.”
The comedian copped to the lie on Sept. 16, and profusely apologized for it an a series of tweets. “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson defended Rannazzisi after initially taking shots at the fellow comedian — Davidson’s his father was among the firefighters who died in the attacks.
After the revelation, Buffalo Wild Wings dropped Rannazzisi as its spokesperson and TV-commercial star.