Jay Leno Once Almost Got Bitten By Alligator After Inviting Steve Irwin on Show

by Leanne Stahulak

We all know that Steve Irwin lived his life on the edge while working with several wild animals, but he once roped late-night host Jay Leno into his shenanigans too.

Back in 2002, Irwin appeared on Leno’s late-night talk show, “The Tonight Show,” bringing along a special friend. That special friend, of course, was a 600-pound, 12-foot long alligator named Morris.

When the crew brought Morris on to the stage, Irwin warned Jay Leno to watch out for when he “swings.”

“The only thing you gotta watch out for, Jay, is when he swings. He’ll actually swing around with such speed that he could actually grab you before you even know what’s happening,” Irwin explained.

The two talk a bit more about the differences between a crocodile and an alligator. Meanwhile, Morris keeps swinging around in different directions and hissing, not too happy with his change of scenery. At one point, he starts getting close to the edge of the stage near the camera crew. Irwin tells Jay Leno to grab his tail and pull him back from the crew.

The image is comical, the two pulling back on this giant alligator. Afterwards, Irwin asks Leno if he wants to “jump in there” and straddle Morris so Leno can pet him. Leno starts to do so, but suddenly Morris swings around.

Jay Leno’s likely never moved faster in his life. As soon as Morris swings, Leno jumps back, one leg in the air as he stops straddling the gator. The crowd gasps as Morris’s teeth come close to Leno’s leg. Talk about a nail-biting scenario!

For the next several seconds, Leno just keeps repeating, “Gotta be fast, gotta be fast, gotta be fast.” Eventually, he ends the segment with, “How did I get this job!?”

See the hilarious encounter for yourself in the video below, right around the 8:30 second mark.

Jay Leno Talks About Comedians ‘Changing’ With the Times

Earlier this year, Jay Leno spoke with Janine Rubenstein on an episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast. He talked about what it means to be a comedian in the era of cancel culture. Leno, a former comedian himself, is not afraid to change his material to keep up with the times, and he encourages others to do so as well.

“I think it’s like any other thing, you either change or die,” Leno said. “In football, you have certain rules. And when the rules change, if you don’t conform to them, you’re out of the game.”

Comedy has to change, according to Jay Leno.

“Now, everybody has a voice. You have to change the material to the times you live in,” he said. “My attitude is, ‘Look, these are the new rules. You want to adapt. If you don’t, fine. Don’t get up and tell jokes then.’”