Leno clearly kept his humor intact after his accident.
Jay Leno has given his first interview since he was burned while working on one of his cars. Leno was released from the hospital roughly three weeks ago. In an interview with Today, Leno says that "people were very nice. I got wonderful cards and letters" after the accident.
Leno suffered burns to the left side of his face from a gasoline fire. The comedian and ex-Tonight Show host was also burned on his chest and arm. Apparently, Leno's burns concerned President Joe Biden so much that the politician called Leno while he was in the hospital.
Leno, ever the comedian, asked Biden if he had better things to do than to be calling him, but said that he "appreciated it" during his interview with Today in his famous garage. Jay also elaborated on what happened during the incident.
Leno says he was burned by a 1907 White steam car. The car was featured on Jay's YouTube channel a decade ago. You can see the video below. In 1907, these were the Mercedes-Benz G-Class of early automobiles, driven by the rich and famous to show off this new technology. Buffalo Bill reportedly owned one, for example.
Regardless, this is the car that burned Leno.
Leno says the fuel line was clogged, and he was underneath the car trying to unclog the pipe. Someone blew air through the other end of the line at Leno's request. Leno caught a "face full of gas," after which he says, "the pilot light 'jumped,' and my face caught on fire." The friend, Dave, apparently thought Leno was messing around when he hollered, "Dave, I'm on fire."
Dave Killackey is a long-time friend of Leno. He told Today you couldn't see Leno's face. "He was really engulfed," says Killackey. Dave pulled Leno to his chest, presumably to smother the flames against his shirt. "I thought it was a bad Tinder date," cracked Leno.
Leno is apparently pretty stubborn. Despite being told by medical professionals to head to a burn center (which he eventually did), Leno drove home. "My wife doesn't drive anymore, and I didn't want her stuck, not knowing what was going on. It just seemed like the right thing to do," Leno says.
Jay and Mavis Leno have been married for 40+ years.
Eventually, Leno spent nine days at the Grossman Burn Center. The burns were no joke. Burned layers of skin were removed from his face, but Leno didn't care. He sent pizzas to nursing staff and spent time cheering up other patients in his ward.
"When you look like me, you don't really worry about what you'll look like," says Leno of the effects of his injuries. We must admit; the man still looks healthy just a month after his accident.
Leno clearly credits Grossman for its work. "I trust people who are the best to do what they do." Leno says doctors worked on his ear as well. "We saved all the original parts," says Leno, sounding more like an auction listing than a person speaking about their once-burned face.
Leno was in a "glass coffin" or hyperbaric chamber, and the pure oxygen helped his face, hands, and fingers heal. While there, Leno worked out new material, which he performed a few days after his release. "I never thought of myself as a roast comic," Leno quipped to the media.