Jay Leno reveals he broke bones in motorcycle crash, 2 months after garage fire
Jay Leno, who made headlines late last year after getting burned on 7% of his body in a fire in his garage that erupted while he was working on one of his vintage cars, has revealed he was involved in yet another accident.
Leno was asked by the Las Vegas Review-Journal how he was feeling after November’s fire when he said he'd been injured recently in an accident on his 1940 Indian motorcycle.
“It’s so funny you should say that,” the comedian, 72, replied. “That was the first accident. OK? Then just last week, I got knocked off my motorcycle. So I’ve got a broken collarbone. I’ve got two broken ribs. I’ve got two cracked kneecaps.”
Leno later talked to NBC News on the phone about the incident on Jan. 27. He said that he's fine and will be able to perform this coming weekend despite the Jan. 17 accident.
He said he had been driving his motorcycle when he noticed the smell of leaking gas and tried to pull into an empty parking lot to turn around.
"So I turn around, I start to cut through a parking lot. And there was a wire across two poles which was not well marked and boom, I just got — it clotheslined me, hit me in the neck and threw me off the bike," he told NBC News. "And the bike kept going and I was laying on the ground. So that’s about the end of that."
His spokesman confirmed the story to NBC News as well and added that while Leno had to cancel some events, he will return to the stage next week while he continues to improve.
“He’s OK," the spokesman added. "He had a shoulder operation, and that was about a week ago. And he has some trouble with his knees. He can walk around. He comes to work every day.”
In his call with NBC News, Leno outlined his upcoming touring schedule and joked about the crash.
“It’s a 72-year-old guy driving an 83-year-old motorcycle. So what can happen, really, when you think about it?" he quipped.
The former "Tonight Show" host elected to keep this accident under wraps because of all the media attention he received after he was burned in November.
“You know, after getting burned up, you get that one for free,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “After that, you’re Harrison Ford, crashing airplanes. You just want to keep your head down.”
Leno spent 10 days at the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles after he suffered burns to his face, chest and hands while he worked on a vintage car in his garage. A notorious workhorse, the comedian returned to the stage just 15 days after the blaze, which occurred while he and friend Dave Killackey were tooling around with a vintage car.
“It was a 1907 White Steam Car,” Leno told TODAY in December about the fire. “The fuel line was clogged so I was underneath it. It sounded clogged and I said, ‘Blow some air through the line,’ and so he did.”
“And suddenly, boom, I got a face full of gas. And then the pilot light jumped and my face caught on fire,” he added.
Leno initially went home before his wife, Mavis, told him to go to the hospital.
“When you look like me, you don’t really worry about what you look like,” he told TODAY. “Look, if I’m George Clooney, it’s going to be a huge problem. But they said it would be alright so, you know my attitude is I trust people who are the best to do what they do.”
In his Jan. 27 call with NBC News, Leno said his mind immediately went to the recent burn incident while he was "going down" off his motorcycle.
“As I was having the second (incident) and I was going, 'Oh, I have to get another brand-new face,'" he said. "Grossman gave me a new face and I’m going to bang this one up and I have to get another but luckily, I didn’t have to do that. So I’m OK.”
He added that the incident hasn’t dissuaded him from driving his vintage cars and motorcycles.
"No, no. Men over the age of 40, you can’t teach them anything really. It’s just a classic accident, just happens all the time to people, you know, so it’s just one of those things," he said. "What I tell people, the joke, I say, 'I was going down the road, I came around the corner and crashed into Jeremy Renner’s snowplow.'"
Renner was hospitalized on New Year's Day after he was run over by his own snowplow near his home in Reno, Nevada as he tried to stop it from hitting his nephew.
Leno's show featuring his many vintage vehicles — "Jay Leno's Garage" — was recently canceled by CNBC, NBC News confirmed on Jan. 27. It had been on the network since 2015.
Leno told NBC News he plans to shop the show around.
“We’re going to take 'Jay Leno’s Garage' somewhere else. You know, it was CNBC, they’re a financial news network. And when they took us on, it was somewhat unusual to have this car show in the middle of financial news," he explained, adding he still felt it had been a successful show. "But now they’ve decided to go with straight financial news across the board. So we’ll move on to somewhere else. But I enjoyed my time there and everybody was great."
CNBC confirmed to NBC News that the network is doubling down on "its core content of business news and personal finance information" and "has extended the strategy to its primetime programing."
Leno noted those primetime changes in his comments.
"It’s fine. No hard feelings or anything," he said. "CNBC ... has canceled its whole primetime lineup. So they’re not doing original programming anymore. So it wasn’t just us, it was the whole primetime departments been closed down.”
TODAY, NBC and CNBC are owned by the same parent company, NBCUniversal.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com