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Jay Leno Says Audiences Were Surprised His Injuries Weren’t Worse In First Post Fire Interview

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Leno is back to cracking jokes and making light of the fire that injured his hands and face

by Sebastien Bell

December 14, 2022 at 15:33

by Sebastien Bell

Jay Leno has given his first TV interview since suffering injuries to his face and hands while working on a car. Not interested in feeling bad for himself, the comedian and collector was cracking jokes throughout the interview with Today’s Hoda Kotb.

In the interview, Leno tells the story of how the fire started, how it was put out, what his recovery was like, and how he’s been since the incident. While the comedy veteran downplays almost every part of the process, it sounds like it was quite a frightening experience.

Leno says that he was working on a historic 1907 White steam car whose fuel line was clogged when the accident happened. He was under the car, trying to unclog the line, and asked his friend, Dave Killackey, to blow some air through it.

More: Jay Leno’s Friend Smothered Garage Fire Flames, May Have Saved Comedian’s Life, Report Claims



That’s when gas sprayed all over Leno’s face and hands, and caught on the pilot light, engulfing him in flames. Killackey, also featured in the interview, said that the fire was so intense that he couldn’t see Leno’s face for the flames.

Thinking quickly, Killackey pulled Leno towards his chest and into a bear hug in an attempt to smother the fire. That worked well enough to allow him to call 911 and get more help. Doctors, of course, told Leno that he needed to go to the burn unit, but Leno decided instead to drive himself home that night.

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Fortunately, his wife had a little more sense and got Leno back to hospital and into a burn ward. There, doctors and nurses say that Leno never once complained through his treatments (some of which are quite painful), and that he was buying pizzas for the staff and trying to cheer up other patients.

There were no shortage of people trying to make him feel better, too, though. Leno received lots of flowers and cards during his stay at the hospital, and even got a phone call from President Biden. Although he says he’s surprised the president didn’t have anything better to do, he admits that it was a touching gesture.

Asked what he was thinking through his time in hospital, he says that he was thinking about his comedy act. Fortunately, the medical professionals were thinking about his wellbeing and have done a very good job. Although there are some lingering signs of the injury on his hands, there’s little evidence of the trauma elsewhere.

That was almost disappointing to his first audience after the fire, which he says was surprised by how like himself he looked. Almost allergic to making a big deal about it, though, he makes jokes throughout the interview, and can’t help but close his time with Kotb by telling her about a car that he had been bequeathed by Johnny Carson.

 

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