Alright, look. We’ve all done it. We’ve all told small lies in the frenzied attempt to gain fruitful employment. With the cutthroat, overcrowded pool of minnows that are all scraping and biting for the few jobs out there, who could blame anyone? And it’s all rather innocuous. It could come in the form of a fabricated bullet point on the resume here, an untraceable work achievement there.
Or it could even be making known an anecdote that is completely made up, like, for instance, you were working in one of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, and you narrowly escaped certain doom as planes flew into the buildings. Having seen the fragility and briefness of life firsthand, the experience thus served as a catalyst for you to relocate and begin life again. Buoyed with a newfound vigor and a somber respect for the capricious streams and eddies that compose the human condition, you recount this story to the point where it becomes an integral part of your being, indeed, it’s your origin story.
What, you’ve never done that before? Not even once? Well, that’s what Buffalo Wild Wings spokesman and ‘The League’ star Steve Rannazzisi did.
The New York Times reports today that the comedian completely made up a story about escaping the 9/11 attacks. Reaching as far back as 2009, the comedian has described his 9/11 story for numerous outlets and interviews. The impressively concocted tale stars Rannazzisi as a humble Merrill Lynch desk ant, who, on the morning of 9/11, went to work on the 54th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. BAM. A plane hit the first tower. Rannazzisi then says he escaped to the street, where he saw another plane hit his tower. Awed by the destruction, Rannazzisi then says that the event shook him so much that he escaped to Los Angeles and began a career in comedy, the rest history. “I still have dreams of like, you know, those falling dreams,” he told an interviewer in 2009. Deep.
The New York Times, however, uncovered the truth. As the paper reports, Rannazzisi was working in Midtown that day, and the bank did not have offices in the World Trade Center. Further, Merrill Lynch never employed Rannazzisi, despite him saying in another interview in 2011 that he received a severance package after leaving the company.
In a statement, Rannazzisi says that he was, “not at the Trade Center on that day. I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.” The comedian continued, “I have wished that, with silence, I could somehow erase a story told by an immature young man. It only made me more ashamed. How could I tell my children to be honest when I hadn’t come clean about this?”
He finished his statement, apologetically declaring that “The stupidity and guilt I have felt for many years has not abated. It was an early taste of having a public persona, and I made a terrible mistake. All I can ask is for forgiveness.”
Besides starring on “The League,” Rannazzisi is also the face of the much-coveted Buffalo Wild Wings advertisement campaign that is airing during NFL games for the 2015 season. B-Dubs responded to the revelation in a statement, saying, “We are disappointed to learn of Steve’s misrepresentations regarding the events of September 11, 2001. We are currently re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”
So if there’s anything to learn from this, it’s that if you’re going to lie, make sure the fib is manageable, and will not torment your soul with the anguished wailings of terrorist attack victims. Or just don’t lie. That might be a lesson, too.