After severe burns, Jay Leno leaves the hospital for a ‘wonderful’ Thanksgiving dinner.
“A lot of my friends have been having their hands full,” Leno joked at the start of the Thanksgiving episode of his ABC sitcom Last Man Standing.
Fourteen years later, the comedian is an Oscar-winning star. His characters are now household names.
But his initial reaction to the pain of his very own hospital stays has been so different, he’s not sure if it’s the result of seeing people die or if he truly is more in tune with the human condition.
“I was in a lot of pain,” Leno says. “I wasn’t able to walk as much as I wanted to. I was losing weight. So when I started doing public speaking, I thought, ‘Why don’t I just say I’m a terrible person?”
Jay Leno at the 2013 Academy Awards.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Leno says he doesn’t always appreciate how he’s gotten so lucky.
Leno recently took part in a Q&A session with Oprah Winfrey in Los Angeles. It was his first public comment about his health since that Thanksgiving night at Cedars-Sinai in 2010.
Here’s what he had to say, with some context:
What has your health been like these last few years, and the effect that it’s had on your work?
I’ve had issues with my weight for years and years. And my body fat level is up. I’m much skinnier, much fatter.
How has it affected your performance — both onstage and in the movies?
It made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to expect.
I would be in a film, and people in the audience would get mad, which made me uncomfortable.
But once I started looking into it, I saw a lot of positive things.
And what about the health issues in the last few years?
The health problems I had have made me stronger. I’m more in tune with my body and my body now.
So the fact that I was the recipient of an Emmy and an Oscar and an Emmy nomination, and all of the other accolades, doesn’t necessarily mean