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Comedy Great Joe Flaherty Dies: Did He Leave Behind An "SCTV" Reunion Special?

Comedy legend Joe Flaherty, best known for his iconic characters on the groundbreaking Canadian sketch series SCTV, has died at the age of 82. Explore Flaherty's remarkable career, from his early days at Second City to his time on SCTV and beyond, highlighting his Emmy-winning achievements and the outpouring of tributes from fellow comedians and fans.

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Joe Flaherty Photo: Getty images
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The comedic world is in mourning after the passing of Joe Flaherty, a legendary performer who co-founded the Canadian sketch comedy series “SCTV”. Flaherty, who breathed life into iconic characters like the wheelchair-bound station owner Guy Caballero and the unforgettable horror host Count Floyd, died on April 1 at the age of 82

From Second City to SCTV Stardom 

Flaherty's comedic journey began at the famed Second City improv troupe in Chicago. His talent for sketch comedy and improvisation soon propelled him north to Toronto in 1973, where he helped establish a new Second City outpost. This move proved pivotal, leading him to co-found SCTV in 1976 alongside comedy greats like John Candy, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O'Hara. 

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For six seasons, Flaherty reigned supreme on SCTV, captivating audiences with his versatility. He portrayed a wide range of characters, each more outlandish than the last. Whether it was the flamboyant Caballero, the deadpan news anchor Floyd Robertson, or the over-the-top talk show host Sammy Maudlin, Flaherty's comedic timing and character development were unmatched. His collaborations with fellow cast members like John Candy, particularly their "Farm Report" parodies with the exploding celebrities, remain etched in comedy history. 

Beyond SCTV: A multifaceted career 

While SCTV cemented Flaherty's comedic legacy, his career thrived beyond the show. He graced the big screen in films like Back to the Future Part II (as the frantic Western Union man) and Freaks and Geeks (as the endearing Harold Weir). He even lent his voice to animated projects and showcased his comedic chops in various television shows, including a recurring role on The King of Queens. 

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A legacy of Laughter and Inspiration 

Flaherty's influence extends far beyond the characters he brought to life. He was a master improviser, a talented writer (earning nine Emmy nominations for his SCTV work), and a dedicated mentor, teaching comedy writing at Toronto's Humber College. 

The news of Flaherty's passing has evoked an outpouring of tributes from fellow comedians and industry icons. 

Martin Short, his SCTV castmate, described Flaherty as the show's "anchor" and "the funniest man in the room," praising his guidance and comedic brilliance. 

Director Martin Scorsese, who helmed a yet-to-be-released SCTV reunion special, expressed his deep admiration for Flaherty's comedic genius. 

Comedians like Adam Sandler (his heckler in Happy Gilmore) and Jennifer Tilly (his on-screen daughter in Freaks and Geeks) took to social media to celebrate Flaherty's lasting impact. 

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