Comedian Jay Leno Says There’s Only One Thing That Could Make Him Retire
US comedian Jay Leno poses in front of a 1979 Ford F-150 pickup, in the style of one owned by Walmart founder Sam Walton, on August 20, 2022, during the 27th annual Woodward Dream Cruise, in Royal Oak, Michigan. - The event is a celebration of automotive culture, attracting nearly one-million visitors and thousands of classic vehicles.
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Comedian Jay Leno has been through a lot in the last year, but he said on Saturday that even after all of that, there’s only one thing that could force him to retire: a stroke.

Leno, who appeared on Saturday at a kick-off event for his upcoming NBC reality show “Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge,” told fans that he would likely slow down if and when he ever suffered a stroke.

“Then you slow down,” he said. “That’s when you retire — when you have your stroke.”

The former “Tonight Show” host has been seriously injured in two serious accidents in the last year alone — just weeks apart — and has continued to perform even amid his ongoing recovery.

The first accident was an explosion and fire in his Los Angeles garage that caused third-degree burns to his face and hands. Leno had been attempting to repair a fuel line in his 1907 White Steam Car at the time – and he later said that his friend Dave’s quick response was what ultimately saved his life. Dave, who was with Leno when the gasoline ignited, smothered the flames.

The comedian spent several days in the hospital, where he was treated with skin grafts and some time in a hyperbaric chamber.

Within a week of his discharge from the hospital, he was back onstage performing stand-up for a sold-out crowd in Hermosa Beach, California.

Just two months later, Leno, 73, suffered several broken bones in a motorcycle accident. He only revealed the news after being asked by the Las Vegas Review-Journal how his recovery from the burns was progressing, at which point he said, “That was the first accident. OK? Then just last week, I got knocked off my motorcycle. So I’ve got a broken collarbone. I’ve got two broken ribs. I’ve got two cracked kneecaps.”

“I’m OK!” Leno told the apparently shocked interviewer. “I’m OK, I’m working. I’m working this weekend.”

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