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June 21, 1941
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Flaherty was born Joseph O'Flaherty in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but moved to Chicago where he started his comedy career with the Second City Theater as Joe O'Flaherty. After seven years in Chicago, he moved to Toronto to help establish the Toronto Second City theatre troupe. During those years, he was one of the original writer/performers on SCTV, where he spent eight years on the show, playing such characters as Big Jim McBob (of Farm Film Report fame), Count Floyd/Floyd Robertson, and station owner/manager Guy Caballero who goes around in a wheelchair simply for the respect therein.
Other memorable Flaherty characterizations included emotional talk show host Sammy Maudlin, seedy saxophonist-private eye Vic Arpeggio, aggressive elocution lecturer Norman Gorman, myopic public television host Hugh Betcha and "crazy as a snake" ex-convict Rocco.
SCTV ceased production in 1984.
Throughout his film career, Flaherty has appeared in a number of cult favorites, for example, playing the part of the Western Union postal worker who delivers Doc Brown's 70-year-old letter to Marty McFly in 1989's Back to the Future Part II, as well as yelling "jackass!" in Happy Gilmore. In season 8 of Family Guy, Joe once again played the Western Union man in "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side". He likewise satirises his Back to the Future Part II character in "The Big Bang Theory", this time playing a Vatican Worker whose job is very similar to his character in Back to the Future Part II.
In 1989, Flaherty played a guest role in Married... with Children in episode 4.04, "Tooth or Consequences", as a recently divorced dentist that must repair Al Bundy's teeth.
Between 1997-1998, Flaherty starred in the TV adaptation of The Police Academy (Police Academy: The Series) as Cmdt. Stuart Hefilfinger. The series lasted for only one season.
In 1999, Flaherty joined the cast of Freaks and Geeks, an NBC hour-long dramedy set in 1980-1981 academic year, in which he played Harold Weir, the irascible father of two teens. Despite a dedicated cult following, the show only lasted one season. In the third episode, "Tricks and Treats", he dons a cheap vampire costume reminiscent of his "Count Floyd" character of the depicted era.
He made appearances on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens as Father McAndrew, priest at the Heffernans' church. He currently stars on the Bite TV original program called Uncle Joe's Cartoon Playhouse, and serves as a judge on the CBC program Second City's: Next Comedy Legend.
Flaherty's brothers are comedy writers David and Paul Flaherty (the latter being a writer on SCTV).
He currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario. He has a daughter and a son: Gudrun Flaherty and Gabriel Flaherty.
- Count Floyd (1982) (RCA)
|2004||Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy||Himself||Only appears in deleted scene in the DVD edition.|
|2004||Home on the Range||Jeb the Goat||Movie|
|2003||National Security||Owen Fergus||Movie|
|1999||Detroit Rock City||Father McNulty||Movie|
|1997||The Wrong Guy||Fred Holden||Movie|
|1996||Snowboard Academy||Mr. Barry||Movie|
|1996||Happy Gilmore||Donald the Jeering Fan||Movie|
|1995||A Pig's Tale||Milt||Movie|
|1994||Stuart Saves His Family||Cousin Ray - Funeral||Movie|
|1990||Maniac Mansion||Dr. Fred Edison||Movie|
|1989||Cannonball Run 3 (Speed Zone)||Vic DeRubis||Movie|
|1989||Who's Harry Crumb?||Doorman||Movie|
|1989||Back to the Future Part II||Western Union Man||Movie|
|1987||Innerspace||Waiting Room Patient||Movie|
|1986||One Crazy Summer||General Raymond||Movie|
|1985||Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird||Sid Sleaze||Movie|
|1983||Going Berserk||Chick Leff||Movie|
|1981||Heavy Metal||Lawyer (segment "Captain Sternn"), General (segment "So Beautiful and So Dangerous")||Movie|
|1980||Nothing Personal||Patrol Car Policeman #2||Movie|
|1980||Used Cars||Sam Slaton||Movie|
Celebrities impersonated by Flaherty on SCTV include: Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, William F. Buckley, Jack Klugman, Robert Mitchum, Bing Crosby, Don Knotts, Yassir Arafat, Richard Nixon, Alistair Cooke, Slim Whitman, the corpse of Albert Schweitzer, Gregory Peck, Eddie Anderson (as 'Rochester'), Alan Alda, Elvis Presley, Hugh Beaumont, John Huston, Larry Fine, Pope Paul VI, Geraldo Rivera, Art Garfunkel, Broderick Crawford, Jacques Cousteau, Lowell Thomas, Henry Fonda, Marcello Mastroianni, Sylvester Stallone, Shoo Boxx, Paul Bradley, Aaron Copland, Dom DiMaggio, Dick Beddoes, Gavin MacLeod, Prince Philip, Tom Wolfe, Peter O'Toole, Salvador Dalí, Gene Siskel, and musician Paul Revere.
Flaherty appeared in a cameo in the deleted scenes from Anchorman as the salacious News Director who first employs Rita Genkin after her graduation from Syracuse University. He encourages her to wear a swimsuit to do the weather.
- In the third episode of Freaks and Geeks, "Tricks and Treats", he is dressed up as a vampire, a reference to his character Count Floyd.
- Joe Flaherty Biography (1941-)
- A bit of SCTV trivia here: Count Floyd, who was SCTV news anchorman Floyd Robertson in a vampire costume and make-up, is based on Bill Cardille, whom Joe Flaherty watched as a kid growing up in Pittsburgh. Cardille did the weather for the local NBC station, and on weekends hosted the studio wrestling matches and as "Chilly Billy" hosted the Saturday night horror feature.