Jay Leno Explains Why He Didn't Take Pain Meds After Burns

Comedian is making the interview rounds
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2022 2:12 AM CST
Jay Leno Describes the Moment 'My Face Caught on Fire'
Jay Leno attends the Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief in Los Angeles on Sept. 12, 2017.   (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

Jay Leno described the moment that, as he puts it, "my face caught on fire" during an interview with Hoda Kotb that will air in full on the Today show Wednesday. While working on his 1907 White Motor Co. steam-powered car in his garage, he noticed the fuel line was clogged and got underneath the vehicle to attempt to unclog it, he told Kotb in a preview of the interview that can be viewed at NBC News. "I said, 'Blow some air through the line,'" Leno says. "Then suddenly, boom, I got a face full of gas. And then the pilot light jumped, and my face caught on fire. My friend pulled me out and jumped on top of me and kind of smothered the fire."

Leno, 72, was at a burn center for 10 days after the Nov. 12 incident. He also recently spoke to People about the experience, noting that he knew to close his eyes and hold his breath when the fire was sparked. "I'm not a panicky guy, but I knew if I breathed in I could scorch my lungs," he says. "I was under the car maybe 10 seconds before Dave [Killackey] pulled me out. Any longer than that I could have lost my eye." He says he hasn't taken any pain medication since the fire: "The pain is a reminder that I'm an idiot!" Leno also addressed the incident briefly in a recent Wall Street Journal piece, concluding, "You have to joke about it. There’s nothing worse than whiny celebrities. If you joke about it, people laugh along with you." (More Jay Leno stories.)

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