Jay Leno Hospitalized Following Horrific Car Fire

Jay Leno has been hospitalized with severe burns after a car fire, but has released a statement saying he is okay.

By Matthew Creith | Published

Stand-up comedian Jay Leno has famously been in love with classic cars for as long as he has been famous, often tailoring many of his television shows to fit his passion for automobiles. The former late-night host of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno was in a garage in Los Angeles where he stores many of his vehicles when a horrific car fire occurred and now Leno has been taken to a burn center. According to a report by TMZ, Leno suffered a serious face injury to the left side of his face, but the flames did not cause burns to his eyes or ears.

After arriving at the burn unit of Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jay Leno has so far canceled all of the events he had scheduled for the rest of this week. Originally supposed to make an appearance at a conference that day for The Financial Brand, organizers of the event let everyone in attendance know that Leno would not be able to fulfill his appearance duties because of his sudden medical emergency. However, Variety reports that Leno has responded to inquiries about his condition by stating, “I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am ok. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet.”

Ever the optimist, Jay Leno seems to be in high spirits despite what is surely a horrendous ordeal involving his love of cars in a garage he adores. Since 2014, the 72-year-old comedian has been the host of Jay Leno’s Garage, where he reviews classic cars, motorcycles, and racing vehicles alongside comedic personalities like Tim Allen, Gabriel Iglesias, Adam Carolla, Brad Garrett, Jeff Dunham, and automobile appraiser Donald Osborne. The web series turned television show is notable as the final television appearance by Saturday Night Live alum Norm Macdonald, who passed away from cancer in September 2021.

Prior to his work on Jay Leno’s Garage, car enthusiast Jay Leno hosted The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1992-2009, and then again from 2010-2014. Chosen in a controversially high-profile decision to take over The Tonight Show from longtime host Johnny Carson when Carson retired after a 30-year stint, the coveted late-night spot was sought after by fellow comedian David Letterman. Letterman had long expected to succeed Carson, but when he didn’t get the gig after all, he moved his own late-night talk show from NBC to CBS where he hosted Late Show with David Letterman until 2015.

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Jay Leno was embroiled in a bit of controversy later in his late-night talk show hosting career when NBC chose to give Leno his own talk show in an earlier time slot, and comedian Conan O’Brien took on hosting duties of The Tonight Show for a brief time between 2009-2010. NBC didn’t receive the ratings they had expected from their late-night schedule, so they shifted Leno back into his old time slot while O’Brien eventually took his show to TBS. Conan ran on the cable network for 11 seasons from 2010 to 2021, competing with Leno, Letterman, and Jimmy Kimmel until Leno and Letterman finally signed off from late-night hosting.