Joe Flaherty

Joe Flaherty
Born Joseph O'Flaherty
(1941-06-21) June 21, 1941
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1976–present
Spouse(s) Mary Choshller (1992-present)

Joe Flaherty (born June 21, 1941) is an American actor 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.


Flaherty was born Joseph O'Flaherty[1] in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but 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,[2] 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.

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 Back to the Future Part II (1989), as well as the crazed fan 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 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 episode 4.04, "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 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.

As of 2004, Flaherty is a member of the faculty at Humber College, where he teaches a comedy writing course. He is also on the program's Advisory Committee. He is an accomplished pianist.

Flaherty's brothers are comedy writers David and Paul Flaherty (the latter being a writer on SCTV).

He currently resides in Los Angeles, California. He has a daughter and a son: Gudrun Flaherty and Gabriel Flaherty.



Year Film Role Notes
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
2002 Clone High Abe's Foster Dad (voice) Television Series
2002 Slackers Mr. Leonard Movie
2001 That '70s Show Bryan (Mountie) Television Series
1999-2000 Freaks and Geeks Harold Weir Television Series
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 Television series
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
1987 Innerspace Waiting Room Patient Movie
1986 One Crazy Summer General Raymond Movie
1986 Club Paradise Pilot Movie
1985 Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird Sid Sleaze Movie
1984 Johnny Dangerously Death Row inmate (uncredited) Movie
1983 Going Berserk Chick Leff Movie
1981 Stripes Border Guard 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
1979 1941 Sal Stewart/Raoul Lipschitz 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.

Flaherty appeared as an immigration Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in the "Canadian Road Trip" episode of That '70s Show alongside fellow SCTV member Dave Thomas.


  1. Joe Flaherty Biography (1941-)
  2. 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.
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