Jay Leno Debuts His ‘Brand-New Face’ After Suffering Third-Degree Burns


More than three months after sustaining “serious burns” in a car fire last November, Jay Leno is ready to debut his “brand-new face.” Appearing on Wednesday’s episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, the 72-year-old comedian quipped about the accident at his Burbank garage, which resulted in damage to his face, hands, and chest.

“It’s unbelievable. What happened, I was working on a car and I got a face full of gasoline. And it caught fire. I had been eating a Flamin’ Hot Dorito when I bit into it. It set my face on fire,” Leno joked. “All third-degree burns. It was pretty bad.”

When Clarkson remarked that “you can’t tell at all,” he replied, “You think there’d be a zipper here or something,” gesturing to his jawline. “But no. Only for the second time in my career am I the new face of comedy. I got it once in the ’80s, and now I get it again.”

TMZ first reported the accident, which occurred on November 12 when flames erupted from a vintage car in Leno’s garage “without warning,” according to the outlet. Leno was working on a steam engine when the fire broke out, and the former Tonight Show host sustained second- and third-degree burns. “I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am okay,” he said in a statement to Variety. “Just need a week or two to get back on my feet.” Leno’s recovery included a 10-day stint in the Grossman Burn Center, where he underwent two skin-graft surgeries and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for his ailments, according to Deadline.

Leno first spoke about the accident in depth last December, telling People that “when you work with cars, you have a lot of accidents,” but admitting that the November incident was “bigger than most.” Alongside his longtime friend Dave Killackey, Leno was attempting to unclog a fuel line in the undercarriage of his 1907 White Steam Car. “With a steam car, you have gasoline, but you also have a vaporizer, which is heated by a pilot light to turn water into steam,” he told People. Leno reportedly pushed air into the fuel line to try to unclog it, resulting in “a face full of gasoline.” 

Only two months later, Leno landed himself in a serious motorcycle accident when he “got knocked off” his vintage bike on January 17, as he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He sustained a broken collarbone, two broken ribs, and two cracked kneecaps. Leno said that he didn’t initially want to disclose the extent of his injuries so soon after the gasoline fire. “You know, after getting burned up, you get that one for free,” he joked. “After that, you’re Harrison Ford, crashing airplanes. You just want to keep your head down.”

Adding insult to his various injuries, Leno’s CNBC reality show, Jay Leno’s Garage, which began on the network in 2015, was canceled in January. The series finale debuted in late October of last year, just weeks before Leno’s accident.


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