Jay Leno, headlining in Warren, visits National Packard Museum


WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – He retired from late night television in 2014, after more than two decades hosting “The Tonight Show.” Now, comedian Jay Leno is getting laughs on the road

His tour stopped in Warren on Friday, and before the event, WKBN caught up with him at the National Packard Museum. Leno is a huge car buff, so he was right at home at the museum, which commemorates the Packard Motor Car and the family that influenced the growth and history of the auto industry.

Dressed in jeans and a denim shirt, Leno walked in only an hour before he was set to go on stage at Packard Music Hall. He shook hands and then headed into the gallery for a quick tour.

“It’s fun to play the hall, and it’s more fun to come to the museum and poke around and see where he lived and all that kind of stuff,” Leno said, admiring the room full of classic cars.

He joked about the history of the area.

“I’m from New England. New England is like Ohio; it doesn’t change a whole lot,” he said. “Los Angeles, every month they bulldoze the place, and it’s like the witness protection program; you can’t tell which streets used to be. But in the Midwest and New England, things don’t change a whole lot, so it’s kind of fun.”

Leno even talked about his own collection, featuring nearly 300 cars and motorcycles.

National Packard Museum Executive Director Mary Ann Porinchak said she was able to take the trip to see Leno’s collection in person. That relationship, and Leno’s love of cars, led to the visit to the National Packard Museum.

“It’s always so much better and so much more thrilling to have the ultimate car guy come and visit the collection, so it’s been wonderful,” she said.

Porinchak called Leno a “pillar in the car collectible world” and appreciates his interest in the museum.

“I think our community doesn’t realize the prestige that we have that we own, that heritage and that birthright that Packard was built right here in Warren, Ohio,” she said.

Something Leno knows is worth seeing again.

“Oh sure, I’ll be back,” he said.

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