Jay Leno made a name for himself as host of NBC's "The Tonight Show," a position he held for 22 years, until February 2014. It also made him a fortune: The gig reportedly paid as much as $30 million a year.
The 68-year-old shows no sign of slowing down: He's been hosting CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage," a series that explores Americans' obsession with cars, since 2015, and he launched a car-care product line in 2016.
On top of that, he still does "about 210" live comedy shows a year, he said on actor Dax Shepard's podcast, "Armchair Expert."
Why? "That's the only way you stay sharp," Leno told Shepard. "The stage is not a natural place to be and if you don't do it on a regular basis, it becomes unnatural. If you do it every night and a chair falls over or somebody yells or something — when it's unfamiliar to you, when something happens, it knocks you out of your rhythm."
From the time he entered the working world as a teenager, Leno has always had at least two ways to make money, he tells CNBC Make It: "I had two jobs because I realized that was the quickest way to become a millionaire."
His first two gigs were at McDonald's, where he sliced potatoes, and at a Ford dealership, where he worked as a the "lot boy," he says: "I would alternate between the two, so it was cars and hamburgers, which are actually still two of my passions."
A few years later, when he was trying to break into comedy, Leno supplemented his comedy gig earnings with money he made working at a car dealership. Even after landing "The Tonight Show," he continued doing live comedy shows on the side.