Comedian Steve Rannazzisi admits he lied about 9/11 escape

Jason Silverstein, Larry McShane New York Daily News

He’s a Twin Towers truth-twister — and there’s nothing funny about that.

Angry 9/11 family members panned comedian Steve Rannazzisi after his admission that an oft-repeated claim of barely escaping the World Trade Center that September morning was total fiction.

“It’s sickening,” said retired FDNY Deputy Chief Jim Riches, whose firefighter son Jimmy died in the terrorist attack.
Riches compared the mendacious co-star of the hit FX television series “The League” to disgraced network anchorman Brian Williams.

“It’s like that guy from the news — you start exaggerating, you start gradually attaching yourself to a tragedy to be a hero,” Riches told the Daily News.

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson, whose father Scott worked at Brooklyn’s Ladder 118 and died in the towers, tweaked the lying Rannazzisi in a tweet. “It’s ok @SteveRannazzisi people make mistakes,” wrote Davidson. “Can’t wait to meet my dad for lunch later.”

Rannazzisi, unaware of Davidson’s 9/11 connection, tweeted back a tone-deaf thank you.

“I think you missed the point,” shot back Davidson, who was just 7 when his dad died with five colleagues last seen running up the stairs toward the fire.

Rannazzisi came clean five days after the 14th anniversary of the attacks that killed 2,753 people when the two 110-story buildings collapsed.

“I was not in the World Trade Center that day,” the 37-year-old said in a statement to The New York Times. “I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.”

The comedian — who had long claimed that he fled from the 54th floor of the south tower — admitted that he was actually working in Midtown, miles away from Ground Zero.

His claim that the near-death experience convinced him to quit his job at Merrill Lynch and pursue a new career in California was also bogus.

The backlash from the confession was quick.

Comedy Central considered spiking its scheduled Saturday night airing of a Rannazzisi stand-up special. Buffalo Wild Wings was also reconsidering its ties with the comic, who appears in commercials for the restaurant.

FDNY Lt. James McCaffrey, whose firefighter brother-in-law Orio Palmer died in the south tower, said the comedian needed to atone for his lies.

Rannazzisi should “do some volunteer work with legitimate 9/11 charities to relieve the anguish he caused,” McCaffrey said.

The comedian, in a series of rambling tweets, offered a prolonged mea culpa for his serial lies.

“I don’t know why I said this,” he wrote. “It is to the victims of 9/11 and to the people that love them — and the people that love me — that I ask for forgiveness.”

Count Davidson among those who questioned the comedian’s sincerity.

The comic is “not sorry,” snapped Davidson during an appearance on the “Opie & Jim Norton” radio show. “He’s sorry he got caught.”

Rannazzisi isn’t the first prominent pusher of 9/11 lies. Spain immigrant Tania Head, who never even visited the United States until 2003, rose to fame with her supposed survivor’s story and even became the leader of the World Trade Center Survivors’ Network before her hoax was revealed in 2007.

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