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Flaherty in 2009
June 21, 1941
Joseph Flaherty (born June 21, 1941) is an American actor, writer and comedian. He is best known for his work on the Canadian sketch comedy SCTV from 1976 to 1984 (on which he also served as a writer), and as Harold Weir on Freaks and Geeks, and for his role in Happy Gilmore (1996).
Life and career
He moved to Chicago, where he started his comedy career with the Second City Theater as Joe O'Flaherty. Along with several other Second City performers, he began appearing on the National Lampoon Radio Hour from 1973 to 1974. 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 only for respect.
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. The same year, Flaherty played Count Floyd in a short-film that was shown at concerts by the rock band Rush before the song "The Weapon", for their tour in support of Grace Under Pressure (and can be seen in the home video, Grace Under Pressure Tour).
Flaherty has appeared in a number of cult favorite films, for example, playing the part of the Western Union postal worker who delivers Doc Brown's 70-year-old letter to Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II (1989), as well as the crazed fan yelling "jackass!" in Happy Gilmore. In season eight of Family Guy, Flaherty once again played the Western Union man in "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side". He likewise satirizes his Back to the Future Part II character in "The Big Bang Theory", this time playing a Vatican worker whose role is essentially identical to that of his Western Union character.
In 1989, Flaherty played a guest role in Married... with Children in season-four episode "Tooth or Consequences", as a recently divorced dentist who must repair Al Bundy's teeth.
During 1997–1998, Flaherty starred in the television adaptation of 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 the 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 starred on the Bite TV original program, Uncle Joe's Cartoon Playhouse, and served as a judge on the CBC program The Second City's Next Comedy Legend.
Beginning in 2004, Flaherty was a member of the faculty at Humber College, where he taught a comedy-writing course. He was also on the program's advisory committee.
|1979||1941||Sal Stewart/Raoul Lipschitz||Movie|
|1980||Nothing Personal||Patrol Car Policeman #2||Movie|
|1980||Used Cars||Sam Slaton||Movie|
|1981||Heavy Metal||Lawyer (segment "Captain Sternn"), General (segment "So Beautiful and So Dangerous")||Movie|
|1983||Going Berserk||Chick Leff||Movie|
|1984||Johnny Dangerously||Death Row inmate (uncredited)||Movie|
|1985||Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird||Sid Sleaze||Movie|
|1986||One Crazy Summer||General Raymond||Movie|
|1987||Innerspace||Waiting Room Patient||Movie|
|1988||Kid Safe: The Video||Count Floyd||Educational direct-to-video|
|1989||Speed Zone (Cannonball Fever)||Vic DeRubis||Movie|
|1989||Who's Harry Crumb?||Doorman||Movie|
|1989||Back to the Future Part II||Western Union Man||Movie|
|1990||Maniac Mansion||Dr. Fred Edison||Television series|
|1994||Stuart Saves His Family||Cousin Ray - Funeral||Movie|
|1995||A Pig's Tale||Milt||Movie|
|1996||Happy Gilmore||Donald the Jeering Fan||Movie|
|1996||Snowboard Academy||Mr. Barry||Movie|
|1997||The Wrong Guy||Fred Holden||Movie|
|1999||Detroit Rock City||Father McNulty||Movie|
|1999-2000||Freaks and Geeks||Harold Weir||Television Series|
|2001||That '70s Show||Bryan (Mountie)||Television Series|
|2002-04||Teamo Supremo||Cloaked Skull (voice)||4 episodes|
|2002||Clone High||Abe's Foster Dad (voice)||Television Series|
|2003||National Security||Owen Fergus||Movie|
|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|
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, Hugh Hefner, 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.
- Joe Flaherty Biography (1941-)
- "The Second City – Joe Flaherty". The Second City. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
- Hischak, Thomas S. (2011). Disney Voice Actors: A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland & Company. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-7864-6271-1.