Leno appeared as a guest on the Adam Carolla podcast and explained in great detail exactly what happened.
If you’re wondering how exactly did Jay Leno get burned, what happened after the fact, and what did the media get wrong, you can hear it from Jay himself. Leno recently appeared on the Adam Carolla podcast earlier this week (December 9, 2022) and spoke at length about that fateful day and about the several days recovery after the fact.
Check out his interview below.
“I was working under the steam car, and the steam car is open flame because you have a pilot,” Leno explains.
It was later reported he was working on a 1907 White Steam Car as featured on his Youtube channel 9 years ago.
“My friend Dave is there, and I said, “Shoot me a little pressure through the fuel lines, so you could clear this line” And, all of a sudden I just get a face full of gas, maybe a quart (in my face.)”
“I turned my head, saw the flames, so I quickly closed my eyes, and I held my breath. I remember Nikki Lauda got in a fire, he breathed in and scorched his lungs.Embed from Getty Images
“I went to Dave and told him, “I’m on fire” and he went, “What? Don’t kid around!””
“He looked at me, pulled me out, then he jumped on me and extinguished me. By that time, my face was extremely burnt.”
Leno then explains how Burbank Fire shows up and, despite them recommending he needs to go to a hospital ASAP, Leno insists that’s not necessary as he has a comedy gig later that day.
“I’m at Flappers (a Burbank comedy club) tonight, I can’t,” he tells the firefighters.
“No, you can’t do a show,” they insist.
Leno says emergency services first took him to St. John’s hospital, and, after being told to go to a burn center, he decides to go home for the night instead.
“So, I went home and spent the first night at home….and then that morning I drove to the burn center to check myself in.”
Leno described how, over the course of nine days, his face was literally wrapped in a helmet.
“Your face is wrapped in a helmet for nine days, and you’re in the same room for nine days, that’ll make you crazy. But, they were wonderful, it’s a wonderful hospital, it’s probably one of the best burn centers in the country.”
Before wrapping up this particular segment of the interview, Leno made it a point to credit his friend Dave for acting so quickly.
“I probably would’ve lost this eye (points at his eye) if it wasn’t for Dave He put his hand over my face, and my face was on fire so that burned his whole arm. He got a bad burn, also.”
The rest of the interview veers away from that entire frightening experience, but midway through Leno sort of reflects and wraps up the ordeal quite nicely.
“When your face is burned, and then it begins to tighten, you just feel the strength coming back, it just feels kind of cool.” (this was said sarcastically, of course.)
“Are you most alive when you think you’re going to die? Is that probably true? Is there anything to that? It kind of makes you appreciate like. OK. OK.”