You may have heard that comedian and actor (The League) Steve Rannazzisi has been at the center of one of the biggest celebrity scandals of recent years after lying about being a 9/11 survivor. The New York Times called him on it, forcing him to come clean.
More recently, on October 6, he sat down with Howard Stern to try to explain why he lied, which you can watch above.
Stern asked him if he thinks he is “psychologically disturbed,” to which Rannazzisi said:
I mean, I don’t know, psychologically disturbed, I’m not sure if that’s the way to put it. I do see someone and I’m starting to figure out more about myself. Codependency and wanting people to like me. And to make people happy. That’s a big thing.
He says that he moved to Los Angeles with his girlfriend shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His girlfriend apparently transitioned more easily, getting a job and making friends. Rannazzisi says that he worried about making friends, getting started as a comedian and beginning to build a life. He seems to believe that a big part of him telling this lie was to get people to like him. He added:
I think it might have been, like, comedians are cruel people. Especially in the beginning. And I kind of was like, maybe now people won’t be as mean to me or make as many jokes about me…
He also claims that it wasn’t calculated. He didn’t move to Los Angeles with the plan to tell people he was a 9/11 survivor, but that essentially one thing led to another and he lied about it on the spot while at The Comedy Store and then couldn’t take it back.
His wife was forced to go along with it. Rannazzisi said:
She had no choice (but to go along with it)…We talked about it, and she did say, “What’s going on here?”…I took her story, in a way, she worked on the 24th floor of the financial center, and I just sort of put myself in her position.
When I told her that, she was like, “Well why would you do that?” I’m like, “It just slipped out. I don’t know what to do now to fix it, to make it go (away).”
And then we just were kind of like, we’re two people who have no idea what to do, let’s just let it go away, and it will just go away. And, Howard, it did for awhile.
He is still claiming that he did not lie about where he went to college, blaming that instead on people writing that he lied incorrectly on his Wikipedia page. But that comes from that same The New York Times article that uncovered his 9/11 lie. From the article:
(His website) incorrectly reported until Wednesday that he was a graduate of the State University of New York at Purchase, a college with a noted reputation in the performing arts. Mr. Rannazzisi is actually a graduate of SUNY Oneonta, where he majored in communications, according to Mr. Labov, who described the discrepancy as an oversight. On Wednesday, the website dropped Mr. Rannazzisi’s affiliation with the Purchase school, describing him now as a SUNY graduate who had majored in theater and film.
What do you think? Is it time to forgive Rannazzisi?
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