When ABC pushed back the sophomore season premiere of The Job from September to January, naturally, there was speculation that the network had lost confidence in Denis Leary's critically-acclaimed cop comedy. But according to Leary, the Gotham-based series owed the delay to Sept. 11, not the disappointing ratings that plagued its debut season.

"We shoot on-location in downtown New York," the show's creator and star tells TV Guide Online. "A week [after the attacks] we knew there was no way we were going to make it on the air until January — at least. Which in retrospect is a good thing, because I had neither the time nor the interest to watch something new."

The unexpected hiatus was no break for Leary, however. He spent his downtime raising $1.2 million for the The Fund for New York's Bravest — a branch of the Leary Firefighters Foundation he started in 1999 when his cousin, best friend and four others died while battling a blaze in his hometown of Worcester, Mass. "We had planned eventually to go to the national level," he explains. "Unfortunately, because of the events of Sept. 11, we had to go into high gear overnight. People just started sending in money because they wanted to help the New York guys."

Fortunately, it doesn't look like tough times will change Leary's unique brand of comedy. "My sense of humor comes from the dark recesses of my Irish soul," says the former stand-up comic, who currently can be seen in the psychological drama Final. "With my cousins and siblings, there were about 17 of us within a two- or three-block radius, all with the same outlook on life: Expect the worst to happen, can't wait to get it over with."