Jay Leno has shown his “new face” three months after his garage fire.
The Tonight Show alum, who sustained third-degree burns to his face, neck, ear, upper body, left arm, and hands on Nov. 12, appeared on Wednesday’s Kelly Clarkson Show with the doctor and nurses who treated him.
“This is a completely new face,” Leno, 72, added. “It is. It’s incredible.”
In between cracking jokes about his injuries, he recalled the story of working on his 1907 White Steam automobile in his 140,000 square foot Burbank, Calif., garage when he was struck with a blast of gas, which caught fire via the car’s pilot light while trying to unblock a fuel line.
“I’m only the new face of comedy for the second time in my career,” he joked. “I had it once before in the 1980s, and now I have it again. This is a completely new ear.”
Following the tragedy, Leno’s ear was repaired, which required multiple procedures. Dr. Peter Grossman, who treated him at the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills, Calif., appeared on the show, as did nurses Karin, Alyssa, and Amy, who participated in Leno’s care.
“I felt a little apprehensive when I first met Jay,” Grossman admits. “He was a little more severely burned than I had hoped. There’s a bit of angst there, knowing it’s Jay Leno — and a face everyone recognizes. He’s done incredible things…He’s an excellent healer.”
The hospital gave Leno a “new face in roughly eight days,” he said. He said he’d be throwing a benefit for the hospital to aid the children being treated there before thanking the three nurses for trips to Atlantis in the Bahamas.
Leno has returned to work and has a complete show schedule after his injury. Unfortunately, he suffered more injuries due to a motorcycle accident on January 17. As a result, he had a shattered collarbone, two broken ribs, and two damaged kneecaps.
The garage fire was first reported in November. Grossman discussed doing a surgical excision and grafting surgery to speed Leno’s healing, in which nonviable tissue that would impede wound healing was excised.
A biological skin substitute was applied to the burn regions. Leno also had “quite severe” hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which boosts the amount of oxygen delivered to wounded areas to speed up healing.
In December, Leno gave his first television interview with Hoda Kotb on the Today show. In it, his long-time friend Dave Killackey, who covered the fire on his face and extinguished the automobile, said Leno “plays down” what happened but that he was “engulfed.” He referred to Leno’s visage as “a wall of fire.”