Steve Rannazzisi sat down with Howard Stern Tuesday to give his first interview since it came out that he lied about being in the World Trade Center on 9/11, when he was in fact uptown at the time. He says it was important for him to make his first statement to Stern because both the radio host and his audience are such an ingrained part of New York City. When Howard asks the beleaguered comedian point blank if he thinks of himself as a liar or psychologically disturbed, Rannazzisi says that he doesn’t, but is seeing someone to work through his issues and figure out more about himself.
As for the reasoning behind his indiscretion, Rannazzisi offered up the following explanation:
It’s not like I moved to Los Angeles with this story, with the thought of, like, I’m gonna go out and trick everyone out there and tell them this is what it is — it wasn’t calculated at all — it was as simple as sitting at the Comedy Store and everyone being like, “Hey, you’re from New York?” “Yeah, yeah.” “Were you just there..?” “Yeah, yeah, I was downtown…” “You worked there?” “I did.”
You have like 15 seconds I think, to kind of go, “Wait, hold on, stop, I’m sorry, that’s not true.” And if you pass that 15 seconds, it’s sort of like, now it becomes a thing where you’re like, now I have to be the guy who’s very strange and weird and just says I lied about 9/11.
Rannazzisi definitely sounds genuine and remorseful, but when you consider the gusto with which the guy told the story on Marc Maron’s podcast, it makes you wonder if he’s more sorry that he told the lie in the first place or just sorry that he got caught.
Update: Stern released the entire interview on YouTube: