‘You have to joke about it’: Jay Leno, 72, relies on humor amid his recovery from garage fire

Jay Leno is opening up about his recovery after he suffered burns on his face and body in a garage fire last month.

The 72-year-old star penned a column for The Wall Street Journal about moving forward in the wake of the November 12 accident as he worked in his garage.

‘You have to joke about it,’ the former host of The Tonight Show said. ‘There’s nothing worse than whiny celebrities. If you joke about it, people laugh along with you.’

The latest: Jay Leno, 72, is opening up about his recovery after he suffered burns on his face and body in a garage fire last month. He was snapped November 28 in Manhattan Beach, California, where he performed for the first time since the accident

Leno was treated for third-degree burns at the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills, California in the wake of the incident.

‘Eight days later, I had a brand new face,’ he said, and ‘it’s better than what was there before.’

The comedy icon had been working on a 1907 White Steam Car when the fire erupted after he was sprayed with gas by a fuel leak.

‘But really, it was an accident, that’s all,’ Leno said. ‘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.’

The star penned a column for The Wall Street Journal about moving forward in the wake of the November 12 accident as he worked in his garage

The star penned a column for The Wall Street Journal about moving forward in the wake of the November 12 accident as he worked in his garage

The former host of The Tonight Show said, 'You have to joke about it.  There's nothing worse than whiny celebrities.  If you joke about it, people laugh along with you'

The former host of The Tonight Show said, ‘You have to joke about it. There’s nothing worse than whiny celebrities. If you joke about it, people laugh along with you’

Road to recovery: The iconic TV host, 72, was at his LA mansion on Saturday, November 12 when one of the vehicles 'erupted into flames without warning' (he is pictured being discharged from hospital on Monday)

Road to recovery: The iconic TV host, 72, was at his LA mansion on Saturday, November 12 when one of the vehicles ‘erupted into flames without warning’ (he is pictured being discharged from hospital on Monday)

The iconic TV host was at his LA mansion on Saturday, November 12 when one of the vehicles ‘erupted into flames without warning’ – with the star sustaining facial burns and requiring skin-graft surgery.

The star was discharged from the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles last month, after receiving treatment for 10 days.

Dr. Peter Grossman told ET of Leno’s recovery: ‘He’s got a very strong attitude. He’s a very strong individual.

‘And he’s a person who really is looking to move forward, to try to find a way to get past this episode of his life and to get back to what he normally likes to do, which is to be out there and entertain and be with the people. I think at some point soon he’ll get there, but I’ve had to tell him that, for the time being, he needs to sit back and take care of Jay.

The former Tonight Show host was at his Los Angeles mansion when one of the vehicles ‘erupted into flames without warning’ – with sources telling TMZ the left side of his face was burned.

In a statement Leno 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.’

He later told TMZ that it was his friend, Dave, who saved his life, by jumping on him and smothering the flames.

The host said that he was repairing a clogged fuel line when he got sprayed on his hands and face with gasoline.

The comedy icon had been working on a 1907 White Steam Car when the fire erupted after he was sprayed with gas by a fuel leak

The comedy icon had been working on a 1907 White Steam Car when the fire erupted after he was sprayed with gas by a fuel leak

Leno was welcomed back by patrons of the comedy club upon his return to the venue

Leno was welcomed back by patrons of the comedy club upon his return to the venue

Leno was taken to the burn ward at Grossman Burn Center according to TMZ, with his eye and ear not affected by the fire. On Monday, Page Six reported last month that Leno may need skin grafts as a result of the burns.

George Swift, a mechanic in the comedian’s personal garage, told ET that it was a steam car that sent Leno to the hospital.

It was a steam car. This steam was made by gas. It got sprayed, like a gas,’ Swift, a mechanic who works at the garage, said.

‘He called me, and he told me there was a fire and the fire department is coming,’ the employee continued.

In a separate interview with Access Hollywood, Swift said that Leno is ‘going to be fine.’ He added: ‘It’s nothing life-threatening. He’s in great spirits, but you know, it’s going to take a while.’

The Burbank Fire Department also spoke with ET and confirmed that they were dispatched to Leno’s luxury garage around 12.30pm November 12 for reports of a fire.

Upon arriving at the scene in the 3100 block of North Damon Way, ‘one adult male’ was assessed and treated.

Leno was transported to a local emergency room and then taken to the Grossman Burn Center for further care.

A spokesperson for the medical center told People: ‘Jay wants everyone to know that he is in stable condition and receiving treatment … for burns that he received to his face and hands from a gasoline accident in his garage over the weekend.’

She continued: ‘He is in good humor and is touched by all the inquiries into his condition and well wishes. [He] wants to let everyone know he is doing well and is in ‘the best burn center in the United States.”

The Burbank Police Department told DailyMail.com that they were not called to the scene of the fire.

In a statement Leno (pictured in a shot on his Instagram) 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 a statement Leno (pictured in a shot on his Instagram) 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’

Leno had previously shared details on his extensive collection of Barrons.com, sharing more details on how he acquired the lot of old-school cars.

The steam cars, which he had said are ‘reliable and dependable,’ require a boiler to heat water to steam which is then used to drive a piston that turns the vehicle’s wheels.

In 2021, the ‘Tonight Show’ veteran was actually stopped in his 1906 Stanley Steamer for speeding on Interstate 405 in California.

Leno’s steam collection includes ‘cars, stationary engines, and even an enormous Advance steam tractor,’ according to the 2021 story published by Barrons.

Following the incident inside his garage, he canceled a performance in Las Vegas scheduled for the next day after event organizers revealed he suffered a ‘serious medical emergency.’

An email to Forum 2022 attendees from The Financial Brand and obtained by People read: ‘His family was not able to provide us very many details, but there was a very serious medical emergency that is preventing Jay from traveling.

‘All we know is that he is alive, so our prayers go out to him and his family tonight.’ It is understood that Leno has canceled his engagement for the week as a precaution, after being rushed to hospital.

The Jay Leno’s Garage star has more than 180 vehicles including exotic cars, hypercars and museum-grade artifacts, according to US News & World Report.

His collection includes vehicles which are both affordable and attainable, with an affinity for motor vehicles.

Jay Leno's Garage warehouse in Los Angeles where the accident that left Leno with serious burns happened November 12

Jay Leno’s Garage warehouse in Los Angeles where the accident that left Leno with serious burns happened November 12

It is not the first time the star has put himself at risk with his beloved vehicles, as he was left visibly shaken after getting into a car crash while filming the CNBC show in 2016 with legendary stunt driver Bob Riggle.

Both ended up upside down after Riggle lost control and the car rolled over, although neither were hurt.

In 2019, he spoke about his battle with high cholesterol after he was shown a scan of a blockage in his heart.

Working in collaboration with Cholesterol 911, he urged others to overhaul their lifestyles.

He said; ‘We really want people to see the connection, because a lot of people don’t realize high cholesterol — and if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, you’re increasing your risk for another one.

‘It’s like an earthquake, it might not destroy the house, but it certainly weakens the structure.’

The former Tonight Show presenter missed an appearance at a financial conference - with an email to Forum 2022 attendees from The Financial Brand and obtained by People confirming the star is in ill-health

The former Tonight Show presenter missed an appearance at a financial conference – with an email to Forum 2022 attendees from The Financial Brand and obtained by People confirming the star is in ill-health

‘There’s a lot of people walking around like that, they’re just time bombs. You’ve got all this cholesterol, you don’t realize it until it actually hits, you know?

It’s like in a car, if even one piece of dirt gets in the eye of the needle of the jet, and boom and no more gas comes through. And that’s what happens with your heart.’

He has previously detailed taking medication and using a portable EKG device that monitors his heart rhythm and detects irregular heartbeats.

Leno added: ‘I’m not one of those guys. I don’t run five miles a day and do all that kind of stuff.

‘Hopefully I’m appealing to people who think like me, which is probably the majority of the population, who would like to do more but not if it sounds like kind of a pain.

‘But this is not a pain, it’s really simple. You go to the doctor, it’s a quick visit, he can tell you what you need to do.’

The star, pictured with wife Mavis in 2013, boasts an impressive car collection of more than 180 vehicles

The star, pictured with wife Mavis in 2013, boasts an impressive car collection of more than 180 vehicles

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