‘It’s Unbelievable’: Jay Leno Talks About Suffering ‘Pretty Bad’ Third-Degree Burns

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Comedian and host Jay Leno arrives at the 26th Annual White House Correspondents' Weekend Garden Brunch at the Beall-Washington House on April 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Jay Leno talked about suffering “pretty bad” third-degree burns that landed him in the hospital as he joked about his “brand new face.”

During the 72-year-old comedian’s appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” on Wednesday, the host and Leno discussed what happened last year when he was working on a car in his garage.

“It’s unbelievable,” the TV personality explained. “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,” he added. “All third-degree burns. It was pretty bad.”


Clarkson said she couldn’t “tell at all” that the former late-night host had sustained such serious burns.

“You think there’d be a zipper here or something,” Leno said, pointing 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.”

In November 2022, the comedian was working to repair a fuel line on his Steam Car when a leak caused gasoline to spray over his hands and face. A spark then caused an explosion, which ignited the gas.

Leno underwent a series of treatments, including grafting procedures on both his hands and face at the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles. He has credited his close friend with saving his life after his quick thinking resulted in putting out the flames that could have otherwise possibly led to his death.


Leno landed in the hospital again in January, this time after getting in an accident on one of his vintage motorcycles and breaking multiple bones.

Later, Leno cracked a joke about crashing his bike, connecting it to headlines about Marvel star Jeremy Renner’s near-fatal snow plow accident earlier that month.

“I was riding my motorcycle up in Lake Tahoe and I came around the corner and bam, I crashed into Jeremy Renner’s snowplow,” the TV personality tweeted.

Related: Jay Leno’s ‘Garage’ Reality Show On Chopping Block At CNBC After 8 Years: Report


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