Joe Flaherty’s first acting experience came at The Pittsburgh Playhouse where he appeared in several productions, followed by formal training in New York. But it wasn’t till he joined the famed Second City comedy troupe in Chicago that he hit his stride. There he delighted audiences with his improvisational skills, which were renowned for their sharpness and hilarious unconventionality.
He was one of the original cast members of the critically acclaimed SCTV, where he created many iconic characters, including irascible station manager Guy Caballero, Count Floyd, and Sammy Maudlin, as well as razor sharp impressions of people like William F. Buckley, Charlton Heston and Alan Alda. He received two Emmy Awards for writing on the series.
Flaherty has appeared in many films, from 1941, Used Cars, Stripes, Going Berserk, Club Paradise and Follow that Bird, to Back to the Future II, Who’s Harry Crumb? and Happy Gilmore, where he played the doggedly demented “Jackass” guy.
His television roles have been abundant and eclectic, running the gamut from Police Academy, Family Guy and King of Queens to playing Fred Edison on George Lucas’ series, Maniac Mansion (alongside Kathleen Robertson) and the highly praised Freaks and Geeks, in which he played Harold Weir.
His portrayal of Harry Slutzky in Stealing Dawn marks the latest in a lifelong collaboration with his brother, writer-director Paul Flaherty.