Joe Flaherty (Born Joseph O'Flaherty: June 21 1941) is an American actor, known for his for roles in television and films such as Back To The Future II, Freaks and Geeks, SCTV and The King of Queens.

Joe appears on Married... with Children as Dr. Plierson, Al's dentist, in the season 4 episode, "Tooth or Consequences".

Early lifeEdit

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he started acting as a teenager doing children's play at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. After high school, he served 4 years in the US Air Force. At the age of 21, he originally planned to pursue a career as a draftsman, but decided to pursue acting again. With his previous acting jobs, he accepted an offer with Second City Theater and moved to Chicago.

Acting CareerEdit

He started his career with Second City, performing in both Chicago and Toronto, Canada. He also worked on the National Lampoon Radio Hour from 1973 to 1974. After several years, he moved to Toronto to help establish the Toronto Second City theater troupe, which eventually lead to SCTV, where he served as a writer and performer until it ended its run in 1984. Some of his well known characters from the show included Count Floyd, Guy Caballero, Big Jim McBob and Sammy Maudlin. He was notorious at Second City for improvising midway through a sketch that would catch the performer off guard, making it difficult for them to improvise given what he had ad libbed.

Throughout the 1980s, he appeared in various films and television shows, such as Stripes, Heavy Metal, Innerspace and Club Paradise, usually starring alongside fellow SCTV actors such as John Candy and Martin Short. One of his more memorable roles during the 1980s was as the Western Union messenger who delivers a message to Marty McFly in Back To The Future II.

During the 1990s, he appeared on various television series such as Nurses, Phenom, Ellen and Police Academy: The Series. His movies include Happy Gilmore, Stewart Saves His Family and Detroit Rock City. He also starred, wrote and directed the television series, Maniac Mansion from 1991 to 1993.

In the 2000s, he had a major role on the short lived television show, Freaks and Geeks as well as roles on Even Stevens, The King of Queens, Clone High, and more recently Call Me Fitz.

Personal LifeEdit

From 1976 to 1996, he was married to Judith Flaherty and together they had two children, Gudrun, who is also an actress and writer, and Gabriel. His brothers, Paul and Dave, are comedy writers.

He was previously a faculty member at Humber College in Ontario, Canada, teaching comedy at their School of Creative & Performing Arts.


  • He is a fellow Second City alumni, along with Dan Castellaneta, Fred Willard and Brian Doyle-Murray.
  • He reprised his role as the Western Union messenger from Back To The Future II for 3 episodes of the FOX animated series, Family Guy.

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