A legacy in laughter, remembering Joe Flaherty

Apr 18, 2024 | Arts, Culture

Actor Joe Flaherty, known for his iconic roles in SCTV and Freaks and Geeks as well as being a comedy instructor at Humber College died after a brief illness. He was 82.

Flaherty’s daughter confirmed that he died on April 1 after a brief illness in a media release.

He became a vital member of the sketch comedy show SCTV, showcasing his talent for character acting and improvisation

Flaherty captivated viewers with his memorable portrayals and characters like the iconic Big Jim McBob, the mysterious Count Floyd, news reader Floyd Robertson, and the shrewd station owner Guy Caballero.

Joesph O’Flaherty was born on June 21, 1941, in Pittsburgh. He was the oldest of seven children. He worked as a production clerk at an electric factory before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force.

He moved to Chicago where he joined Second City in 1969 and seven years later moved to Toronto to help launch a Second City troupe.

Apart from his TV work, Flaherty appeared in various films, including Back to the Future Part II in 1989, where he played the Western Union man character.

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Joe Flaherty portrayed Donald in Happy Gilmore 1996, where he played a fan of Shooter McGavin, portrayed by Christopher McDonald.

Flaherty taught a comedy writing course as an artist-in-residence at Humber College’s School of Creative and Performing Arts starting in 2004.

He served as the artistic director of the school’s comedy writing and performance program, which he helped found. Additionally, he was a member of the program’s advisory committee.

Andrew Clark, a faculty member and the coordinator of the Humber College comedy program, talked about Joe Flaherty’s contribution to Humber College.

“Joe Flaherty worked at Humber College, Comedy program since its beginning in 1997, and into the early 2000s,” Clark said.

“He also brought in comedians who were of a very high level, such as people he worked with at SCTV,” he said.

Clark said he was a good teacher who was very open to ideas and a positive human.

He was the voice artist for numerous animated projects, including series such as The Magic School Bus, The Critic and Family Guy.

He received the Primetime Emmy Award in 1982 for his work on SCTV.

Fans and colleagues took to Instagram and other platforms to mourn his loss and celebrate his contributions to comedy and entertainment.