Jay Leno shows off his 'new face' 3 months after garage fire
Jay Leno is showing his "new face" three months after his garage fire.
The Tonight Show alum, who suffered third-degree burns when his face, neck, ear, upper body, left arm and hands caught fire on Nov. 12, appeared on Wednesday's Kelly Clarkson Show along with the doctor and nurses who treated him.
"This is a brand new face," Leno, 72, said. "It is. It's unbelievable."
In between cracking jokes about his injuries, he retold the story about working on his 1907 White Steam car in his 140,000 square foot Burbank, Calif., garage when, while trying to unclog a fuel line, he was hit with a face of gas which caught fire via the car's pilot light.
"Only for the second time in my career am I the new face of comedy," he quipped. "I got it once in the '80s and now I get it again. This is a brand-new ear."
Yes, Leno's ear was reconstructed after the incident, which necessitated several surgeries. Dr. Peter Grossman, who treated him at the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills, Calif., appeared on the show — along with nurses Karin, Alyssa and Amy, who assisted in Leno's care — to discuss how it all played out.
"When I first saw Jay, I was a little uneasy," Grossman admitted. "He was a little bit more significantly burned that I had hoped. Knowing that it's Jay Leno — and a face that everybody recognizes — there's a little bit of angst going on there." However, "He's done remarkable... He's a good healer."
Leno joked that he got a "new face in about 8 days" at the hospital. He went on to reveal that he'll be hosting a benefit for the hospital, to help children being treated there, before gifting the three nurses with trips to Atlantis in the Bahamas as a thank you.
Since Leno's accident, he's returned to work and has a full schedule of shows slated. However, he subsequently had other injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident on Jan. 17. That left him with a broken collarbone, two broken ribs and two cracked kneecaps.
News of the garage fire broke in November. At the time, Grossman talked about performing a surgical excision and grafting procedure, in which nonviable tissue that would delay wound healing was removed and a biological skin substitute was put on the burn areas, to accelerate Leno's healing. Leno also underwent "very aggressive" hyperbaric oxygen therapy — a treatment that increases oxygen to injured areas to speed up healing.
Leno gave his first TV interview to the Today show's Hoda Kotb in December. In it, his long-time friend Dave Killackey, who smothered the fire on his face and extinguished the car, said Leno "downplays" what happened but he was "engulfed." He said Leno's face was "a wall of fire."