Jay Leno Says His 'Brand New' Face Is 'Better Than What Was There Before' After Suffering Burns

The comedian was hospitalized and treated at a burn center in November.

Jay Leno is finding humor in his recent accident. In November, the former host of the Tonight Show was hospitalized for 10 days in the burn unit after a vintage car he was working on caught fire, leaving him with burns to his hands and face. 

In a new interview with WSJ, the 72-year-old comedian recounted the incident, which he says upgraded his appearance. 

"Eight days later, I had a brand new face. And it’s better than what was there before," he quips to the publication before sharing minor details. "But really, it was an accident, that’s all. Anybody who works with their hands on a regular basis is going to have an accident at some point. If you play football, you get a concussion or a broken leg. Anything you do, there’s a risk factor."

In true Leno fashion, telling a little joke about the situation keeps people from being worried.  

"You have to joke about it," he says. "There’s nothing worse than whiny celebrities. If you joke about it, people laugh along with you."


Leno confirmed to TMZ, via his hospital bed, that he was working on his 1907 White Steam Car, fixing a clogged fuel line. A fuel leak then triggered gasoline to spray in his face, at the same time, a spark triggered an explosion -- which set the comedian on fire. 

Thankfully, a friend was nearby and was able to immediately extinguish the fire. After suffering third-degree burns on the left side of his face, he was admitted to the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital in Los Angeles. 

Shortly after the accident, Leno told ET, "I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am OK. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet." 

Leno was back on his feet and back on the stage in no time, following his release from the hospital. On Nov. 27, the Jay Leno’s Garage host returned for his Sunday night set at the Comedy Magic Club. 

An eyewitness says the comedy club made a "Welcome Back Jay" sign, which also read, "We Love You." The poster was signed by the club owners and staff. Leno was joined by his wife, Mavis, and the club's owner, who sat with them. Leno appeared to be in good spirits, and according to the eyewitness, Leno looked like himself, and the burns weren't glaringly visible.