Joe Flaherty was one of the earlier members of the Second City, performing in seven different Mainstage revues in Chicago before going on to star alongside fellow alumni John Candy, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, and more on Second City Television (SCTV). He continued to act in shows such as Freaks and Geeks and films that include Stripes, Happy Gilmore, and 1941.
Beginning his comedy career at The Second City in Chicago, Flaherty starred in seven Mainstage revues, and was a member of the production team for “Old Wine” in 1969. He starred alongside Brian Doyle-Murray and Harold Ramis in “The Next Generation”, “Justice is Done or Oh, Cal Coolidge”, and “Cooler Near The Lake”. Three of his later revues, “Cum Grano Salis”, “No, No, Wilmette”, and “43rd Parallel or McCabre & Ms. Miller”, also starred future comedic legend John Belushi. Flaherty later appeared on National Lampoon Radio Hour with Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, and past collaborators Doyle-Murray and Ramis.
Flaherty moved to Toronto after seven years in Chicago to help develop the Toronto Second City branch, where he also starred in SCTV. Total, he spent eight years on SCTV, inspiring future comedic talents like Judd Apatow and Matt Groenig. He was nominated for nine Primetime Emmy Awards in Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program, and won twice in 1982 and 1983. Impressions he did on the show included Kirk Douglas, Richard Nixon, Art Garfunkel, Gregory Peck, Alan Alda, and many more. Original characters ranged from Big Jim McBob, Guy Caballero, and Count Floyd, the latter of which Alice Cooper gave a special thanks to on his album, Special Forces, in 1981.
Throughout his run at SCTV and after the show ended, Flaherty continued to act in both television and film. He had roles in many films that starred fellow Second City alum, such as 1941, Going Berserk, and Stripes. Additional films and television shows include Back to the Future II, Happy Gilmore, One Crazy Summer, National Security, Freaks and Geeks, Family Guy, The King of Queens, and more.
1969: Old Wine, Mainstage – Production
1969-1970: The Next Generation, Mainstage
1970-1971: Justice is Done or Oh, Cal Coolidge, Mainstage
1971: Cooler Near The Lake, Mainstage
1971: No, No, Wilmette, Mainstage
1971: Picasso’s Mustache, Mainstage
1971-1972: Cum Grano Salis, Mainstage
1972: 43rd Parallel or McCabre & Ms. Miller, Mainstage
Farm Film Blowup