Daffy Leigh Diffey (An IndyCar Commentator’s Tale)

daffydiffeydrive

Image from Indy Race Reviewer

NBCSN’s lead announcer is seriously funny, often without even trying.

You know Leigh Diffey if nothing else from his amusing accent. He’s the great big bloke on tv with an even bigger mug. Semi-famous as the (enormous) face of the IndyCar and F1 commentariate on NBCSN, he’s almost bigger than life. He also happens to have a head roughly the size of a Firestone. It’s said that Leigh once got his enormous noggin too close to a confused tire changer in the heat of the action – with near disastrous results. Fortunately both the crewman and air gun survived.

LeighDiffeymotorsportsnbcsportscom

Photo from motorsports.nbcsports.com

A real sport, Diffey calls F1 and IndyCar races indifferently. The talkative, if not fluent, talking head seamlessly transitions from one bunch of European and South American drivers with funny names like Kimi, Nico, Nico and Sebastian to the other bunch of European and South American drivers with funny names like Helio, Tony, Simon and Sebastien. While we’re on the subject, how about that label on Leigh? You suppose he caught any grief growing up down under in the ’70s with a moniker like that? Maybe they all have hilarious handles down there, who knows. He is from somewhere called Queensland, after all.

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

Truly international in resume and style, Diffey has obvious, bulging talent. Vaguely resembling the Michelin man, had he not caught on as a television personality he no doubt would’ve become a successful Saturday morning cartoon character. Come to think of it, working with David Hobbs, Steve “Whoaa!” Matchette and Jon Beekhuis (not to mention Paul Tracy) on a lowly NBC cable channel isn’t that far off.

LeighandHobbsmotorsportsnbcsportscom

Photo from motorsports.nbcsports.com

It’s his golden voice – once you get past the juvenile sounding outback drawl – that earns Leigh his money. Sounding like James Bond on speed to most undiscerning American ears, he and Matchette add an inebriated Arthur-ian air to the lesser races with their peculiar yet adorable accents. A near master of impersonation, Leigh sometimes sounds exactly like an Aussie Porky Pig during race calls, lustily emitting ear splitting squeals of delight.

leighporky

Image from Indy Race Reviewer

One thing critics can’t say of ol’ Leigh is that he doesn’t “get it” when it comes to the excitement of IndyCar racing and the passion of its fans. [Are there any IndyCar coverage critics, besides us we mean?] He routinely rattles the windows with his exuberance, doing so two or three times every race at a minimum. Often Diffey rather quickly tends toward the boisterous, big and loud. Kinda like the sport he covers. And certain other animated comedic characters, as well.

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Image from yosemite-sam.net

He’s truly one of a kind when he’s in front of the camera. But always remember, off screen and underneath that bizarre, cartoonish exterior he’s from the unhinged homeland of Mad Will Power. Avoid him at all costs after five o’clock, because by then he’s deep into the beer – and Vegemite.

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Photo from heraldsun.com.au

So be on the lookout for Daffy Leigh Diffey kids, appearing on some Saturday mornings and even a few Sundays this season, too. And if you’re ever lucky enough see him at the track, whatever you do . . . don’t get between Leigh and a tire changer. Or a yeast and onion sandwich.

 

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