Posted For: Newly
By Hank Berrien
Former late-night host Jay Leno, who suffered third-degree burns on his face when he was working on his 1907 White Steam Car and an explosion occurred, gave a succinct explanation for why he has not complained about his recovery.
Leno, who hosted The Tonight Show between 1992 and 2009, was working on a clogged fuel line when gas spurted onto his face and hands, followed by a spark that ignited the gasoline, as TMZ reported. He issued a statement after the accident in which he said, “I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am OK. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet.”
In an interview published Sunday in The Wall Street Journal, Leno offered typically self-effacing commentary on his refusal to languish in self-pity, declaring, “You have to joke about it. There’s nothing worse than whiny celebrities. If you joke about it, people laugh along with you.”
“Eight days later, I had a brand new face,” Leno said of the accident, quipping, “And it’s better than what was there before.”
“But really, it was an accident, that’s all,” he continued. “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.”
Soon after the accident, Leno’s doctor, plastic surgeon Peter Grossman, acknowledged Leno suffered “significant burns to his face and hands” and would need a “surgical excision and grafting procedure,” but added, “He seems to be a gentleman who really doesn’t want to make a big deal of this,” according to Fox News. “He wants to get back to work, that’s what he does. I had to tell him that he needs to step back a bit and that these things take time.”
Leno underwent grafting procedures on both his hands and face at the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles. Leno’s accident occurred on November 13; after spending over a week in the hospital he performed November 27 at The Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California.
As he entered the club, Leno joked, “We got two shows tonight: Regular and extra-crispy.”