Jay Leno Jokes About His ‘Brand New Face’ After Burn Accident

Jay Leno is showing off his “new face” after overcoming severe burn injuries sustained in an unintentional car fire that occurred at his garage back in November.

The former Tonight Show host discussed his comeback when appearing on The Kelly Clarkson Show after Clarkson, 40, commented on how well he looks. “This is a brand new face,” Leno, 72, boasted. “It’s unbelievable. I was working on a car and I got a face full of gasoline and it caught fire.”

“I had been eating a flaming hot Dorito and when I bit into it, it set my face on fire,” he joked. “No, no, but it was interesting. It was all third-degree burns. It was pretty bad.” The comedian’s recovery has left Clarkson speechless, she continued, adding that it’s impossible to tell he was in an accident.

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“You think there’d be a zipper here or something, but no this is like a brand new face” Leno teased as the singer laughed. “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. That’s a brand new ear!”

Leno suffered serious second-degree burns all over his face and upper body back in November while he and his longtime friend Dave Killackey were repairing a clogged fuel line in the undercarriage of a 1907 White Steam Vehicle parked in the TV host’s 140,000 square foot Burbank garage.
Leno was treated at The Grossman Center for burns to his face, neck, chest, hands, and left arm after paramedics responded in just a few minutes. Over the course of nine days, Leno underwent two skin grafting procedures (using pig intestine and human cadaver skin, respectively) to help regenerate new, healthy skin.

Jay Leno Shows Off Brand New Face After Suffering Burns

He also endured sessions in hyperbaric chambers to help oxygenate tissue. Leno returned to the stage six days after leaving the Center to perform stand-up at the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California. In an exclusive chat with PEOPLE a month after the accident, Leno described the ordeal in detail, stating, “It felt exactly like my face was on fire. Maybe like the most intense sunburn you’ve ever had, that’d be fair to say.”

As he continued to heal, Leno said he was aware that his situation could have been much worse. “I know how bad it could have been,” he explained. “But I’m OK. And I’m sure I’ll continue to do the same stupid things I’ve always done. Just maybe a little bit more carefully!”

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