Burbank, CA

Jay Leno: His Rash of Bad Luck Continues

Herbie J Pilato

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According to Andy Kalmowitz and Jalopnik.com, "It’s been a rough couple of months for comedian and automotive icon Jay Leno. Just a few months ago he sustained third-degree burns to his face after a fire broke out at his garage in Burbank, California. Now, he is once again recovering after a motorcycle accident left him with several broken bones."

As Kalmwitz went on to explain, "in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the 72-year-old comedian revealed that he had a motorcycle crash on January 17. It left him with a broken collarbone and two broken ribs, and it cracked both of his kneecaps. Despite the mishap, Leno appears to be in good spirits."

Indeed. As Erin Keller of the New York Post documented, Leno relayed his dramatic rescue from the fire "by a close friend when he suffered severe burns in a horrifying freak accident last month."

"The funnyman and car fanatic revealed what caused the fiery explosion in the 72-year-old former Tonight Show host’s garage, where the incident happened on Nov. 12."

“It was a 1907 White Steam Car. The fuel line was clogged, so I was underneath it,” he said of working on the vintage car — alongside close friend David Killackey — during a talk with “Today” anchor Hoda Kotb. “It sounded clogged and I said, ‘Blow some air through the line,’ and so he did.”

Leno said the fuel line made a noise, “and suddenly, boom, I got a face full of gas.

“And then the pilot light jumped and my face caught on fire,” he recalled.

Luckily, Leno said Killackey acted fast. “I said to my friend, I said, ‘Dave, I’m on fire.’ And Dave’s like, ‘All right.’ I said, ‘No, Dave, I’m on fire.’ And then, ‘Oh, my God.’ Dave, my friend, pulled me out and jumped on top of me and kind of smothered the fire,” Leno recalled.

"Leno was taken to Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles," Keller chronicled, "...where he was treated for third-degree burns on his face, chest, and hands during a 10-day stay. Leno also received skin grafts and another surgical procedure."

Then as journalist Jesse O'Neill later detailed in the New York Post, "Maybe it’s time for this car buff to hire a driver and mechanic."

That's because, as O'Neill continued to explain, Leno "hit a police vehicle multiple times as he pulled up to his comeback gig Sunday in California — more than two weeks after suffering third-degree burns while working on a classic car in his garage."

Leno "hit the tire of a police Jeep with the back right tire of his Tesla as he attempted to park in front of a Hermosa Beach comedy club, video shows," O'Neill explained further. He then "inexplicably backed up and collided with the car a second time."

“You can just go, we’ll figure it out later,” the star-struck cops told the A-lister after his wife, Mavis Leno, rolled down her passenger window to talk to them.

"Leno then struggled to execute an easy parking job, opting to parallel park in front of the Comedy Magic Club instead of simply pulling into the wide-open spot, while paparazzi and fans looked on," O'Neill conveyed.

Leno "needed to shift gears four times to pull into the spot, and nearly hit the curb at one point, video of the ungraceful arrival published by Lion’s Share News showed. Despite the embarrassing entrance, Leno was all smiles and wisecracks as he emerged from his vehicle, looking unscathed despite his serious ordeal," O'Neill documented further.

“Did I rub your tire?” he asked the cops who were standing in front of the car, before bending over to inspect his vehicle for possible damage.

“Yeah, no, it’s fine,” Leno said before delivering self-deprecating quips to the paps.

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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