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Joe Flaherty, comedian known for work on SCTV and Freaks and Geeks, dead at 82



Joe Flaherty, comedian known for work on SCTV and Freaks and Geeks, dead at 82

Joe Flaherty, the comic and author identified for his roles on exhibits like Freaks and Geeks and SCTV, has died. He was 82.

“After a quick sickness, he left us yesterday, and since then, I have been struggling to come back to phrases with this immense loss,” his daughter Gudrun Flaherty informed CBC Information on Tuesday, by way of SCTV producer and shut household good friend Andrew Alexander.

“I take solace within the reminiscences we shared and the unimaginable affect he had on these round him. His spirit, humour and love will likely be part of me eternally.”

An improvisation skilled with an iconic voice and reward for the visitor spot, Flaherty’s credit run the gamut from film blockbusters reminiscent of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy to TV staples reminiscent of Frasier, Freaks and Geeks and Household Man.  

However he was maybe greatest identified for a small position as a heckler within the Adam Sandler movie Comfortable Gilmore, and as a author and performer within the Canadian comedy sequence SCTV.

WATCH | Martin Brief calls Joe Flaherty ‘the anchor’ of SCTV: 

Martin Brief remembers Joe Flaherty as ‘the anchor’ of SCTV

Canadian comedy icon Martin Brief stated he relied closely on Joe Flaherty within the early days of working collectively on SCTV. ‘I labored with Joe for 50 years,’ Brief stated about Flaherty, who died at 82. 

One of many present’s unique members, Flaherty stayed on for the present’s whole six-season as he labored alongside comedian legends reminiscent of John Sweet, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy and Martin Brief. And a minimum of in Brief’s opinion, his presence shepherded SCTV to the long-lasting standing it will definitely loved.

“Once I was on SCTV, we used to name him the anchor,” Brief stated in an interview with CBC Information. “In different phrases, he was the one who anchored the entire present.”

The 2 labored collectively each earlier than and after the sequence ended. Nevertheless it was on SCTV, Brief stated, the place Flaherty most instantly acted because the glue behind the scenes. 

“I relied on him desperately,” Brief stated. “I might be within the edit room modifying a chunk — I did not know what I used to be doing. And I would say ‘Joe, get in right here. Assist me!'”

Catherine O’Hara, left, and Flaherty attend a panel dialogue marking the fiftieth anniversary of Second Metropolis, in Chicago on Dec. 12, 2009. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Photos)

Although he by no means attained fairly the identical blockbuster heights of a few of his castmates (or made the transfer over to U.S. competitor Saturday Night time Dwell as did a few of them), Flaherty’s was a well-known identify each in entrance of and behind the digital camera — particularly to fellow comedians. 

“Joe was at all times there within the background, pulling the strings, initiating issues, making issues occur. And I bought the good thing about it,” stated Dave Thomas, well-known as one half of SCTV’s Bob and Doug McKenzie duo.

“He was a pioneer and created a type of comedy that numerous comedians after us — like Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler and Conan O’Brien — credit score him for being a type of an innovator.”

Bigger than life

Thomas cited Flaherty’s use of darkish comedy “earlier than it was hip to be darkish,” and his writing: a larger-than-life expertise that earned him two Emmys and introduced him into the orbit of numerous different comedians. 

Alongside writing, directing and starring within the Levy-created Maniac Mansion from 1990 to 1993, Flaherty pulled the identical multi-hyphenate obligation on his comedy-anthology sequence Actually Bizarre Tales alongside O’Hara, Sweet and Brief.

With all that shared historical past, Thomas stated listening to about Flaherty’s dying by a brief textual content virtually did not appear actual.

“You are by no means actually ready once you get ‘Joe handed in the present day.’ Three phrases,” he stated. “And it is virtually like, not, that is not truthful — that each one the experiences, all of the laughs, all of the performances, all of the jokes, all of the exhibits may be condensed like that into three phrases. It is unhappy.”

WATCH | Flaherty on creating Actually Bizarre Tales: 

Joe Flaherty, post-SCTV, discusses Actually Bizarre Tales

The comic enlists former colleagues, together with Catherine O’Hara, for a brand new sequence he is producing. Aired July 9, 1986 on CBC’s Noon.

Flaherty regarded on his successes with humility. In accordance with The New York Occasions, he joked to an enormous crowd at SCTV‘s 2018 reunion that it was shocking anybody remembered them in any respect and that, earlier than the occasion, he “simply did not know if anyone would present up.”

However the group continued collaborating on and off, Flaherty stated, due to what they might do collectively.

“I would say the SCTV individuals carry to Hollywood a sure — I might say it is a capability to get probably the most out of a script … as nicely or higher than anyone else within the biz.” Flaherty informed CBC Information in 1986.

“It is merely a matter of realizing how… your half matches in with the remainder of the characters, after which methods to get probably the most out of it. That is the underside line, is to simply milk it for every part it is price.” 

After the present led to 1984, Flaherty went on to star in a number of different comedies, however established himself as a consummate performer with one other iconic position: Harold Weir within the comedy-drama Freaks and Geeks in 1999.

Although that sequence ran for only one season, like SCTV it went on to achieve cult standing and launch the careers of a technology of different comedians.  

‘So cool we thought he was Canadian’

Followers and former co-stars shared their condolences on X, quickly after information of his dying broke.

“Worshipped Joe rising up. At all times had me and my brother laughing,” wrote Sandler. “The nicest man you possibly can know. Genius of a comic. And a real sweetheart. Good combo.”

“I used to be so thrilled to have the ability to work with him,” stated actor Jennifer Tilly, who performed Flaherty’s daughter in 1997’s The Mistaken Man. “His efficiency was pitch good. An excellent comic. Gone too quickly.”

“Joe Flaherty, an American so cool we thought he was Canadian. Thanks, Floyd Robertson,” wrote Ontario comic Stewart Reynolds — referencing the long-lasting information reporter character Flaherty performed on SCTV.

Pittsburgh to Toronto

Flaherty earned his honorary Canadian standing from a long-running affiliation with the nation and a few of its most profitable sequence.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1941, Flaherty served with the U.S. air drive for 4 years earlier than becoming a member of Chicago improv group The Second Metropolis in 1969 — the place his time would overlap with future Saturday Night time Dwell star John Belushi and Ghostbusters actor and Groundhog Day director Harold Ramis.

He ultimately moved to Toronto, the place he would assist set up the Canadian arm of the troupe, paving the way in which for a profession that might be perpetually affiliated with Canada and Canadians. He would play Kirk Dirkwood on CTV’s David Steinberg Present, Mayor Andrews within the Canadian sitcom Name Me Fitz, and held a recurring position within the Vancouver-shot Robson Arms. He additionally made a visitor look on Royal Canadian Air Farce

He later grew to become a college member at Toronto’s Humber School, serving as an artist-in-residence and taking part within the school’s first comedy workshop in 1997. That workshop, stated writer and fellow teacher Andrew Clark, would later evolve into Humber’s present comedy program.

“Joe was a vital a part of that, as a result of he introduced different comedians of his stage, you recognize, in to satisfy with college students,” Clark stated, whereas reminiscing on how compassionate and dedicated Flaherty was with these college students, regardless of his legendary standing.

“I knew he was terrifically proficient. However that is after I realized that he had this entire different realm to him, which was as a type of mentor and an teacher,” he stated. “After which when it was over, I instantly went to a pay telephone and known as my dad and mom and stated, ‘Guess who I used to be simply in a room with?'” 

Flaherty was married to Judith Dagley for 22 years till the 2 divorced in 1996. The couple had two youngsters, Gudrun and Gabriel Flaherty.

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