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Adam Sandler, Martin Short, More Mourn Joe Flaherty: The ‘Funniest Man’

Some of the biggest names in comedy are mourning Joe Flaherty.

After news broke that Flaherty, best known for his work on the sketch show SCTV and Freaks and Geeks died at age 82, comedians, including Adam Sandler and Martin Short, shared their condolences and favorite memories of Flaherty in their lives and careers.

Flaherty’s daughter, Gudrun, confirmed his death in a statement with the New York Times, sharing he died after “a brief illness” on Monday. “Since then, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with this immense loss,” she told the outlet. “Dad was an extraordinary man, known for his boundless heart and an unwavering passion for movies from the ’40s and ’50s.”

“In these last few months, as he faced his health challenges, we had the precious opportunity to watch many of those classic movies together — moments I will forever hold dear,” Gudrun added.

Back in February, Flaherty’s former SCTV castmate, Short, shared a note saying the actor was “very ill” and “aware of the gravity of his failing health.” As such, Short asked fans to donate what they could in an effort to cover care costs so Flaherty could “spend whatever time he has left at home rather than in a facility.” 

Here’s what several of Flaherty’s friends and fellow comics said following the news of his death:

Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler shared his sadness following the news of Flaherty’s death, sharing a carousel of photos of the late comic.

“Oh man. Worshipped Joe growing up,” Sandler wrote. “Always had me and my brother laughing. Count Floyd, Guy Caballero. Any move he made. He crushed as border guard in Stripes. Couldn’t be more fun to have him heckle me on the golf course.”

“The nicest guy you could know. Genius of a comedian,” he continued. “And a true sweetheart. Perfect combo. Much love to his kids and thanks to Joe for all the greatness he gave us all.”

Martin Short

After the news of his death, Short paid tribute to his friend in a statement to Rolling Stone, calling him “simply the funniest man in the room.”

“In over 50 years of our friendship, there were very few people as wise or hilarious when it came to comedy, teaching improvisation and the art of character work as Joe,” Short said. “In SCTV we called him the anchor.  In life, he was simply the funniest man in the room.  I just adored him.”

Martin Scorsese

Another iconic Martin shared his condolences for Flaherty: Scorsese said that he “had the chance to meet” Flaherty several times, and also praised his discipline, calling him a “true master of his art.”

“I hope that I was able to express my admiration and my love for his work on SCTV and beyond,” he wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “I’ve always been drawn to comedians and comic actors — they have to be disciplined, observant, practiced.”

“It’s no exaggeration to say that they pretty much have to be great. And Joe was great, a true master of his art,” he added.

Paul Feig

Paul Feig, who created and produced Freaks and Geeks, also shared a sweet message about Flaherty, sharing a link to an obituary.

“He was my TV dad and a true comedy hero,” Feig wrote. “Always happy to tell any story about your favorite SCTV sketch, he was just the greatest guy.”

“I will truly miss him and always be grateful to have known him. Rest in comedy, Joe,” he added.

Jennifer Tilly

Tilly similarly shared a “TV dad” message, referencing their roles in The Wrong Guy.

“I was so thrilled to be able to work with him. His performance was pitch perfect,” she wrote. “A great comedian. Gone too soon.”

She also retweeted a fan account post of a scene featuring them both from 1997.

Judd Apatow

Apatow described Flaherty’s presence on set as “magical.”

“We were always so excited. We couldn’t believe he was a part of Freaks and Geeks,” wrote Apatow, who developed and produced the show. “We loved him so much and told him all the time. He made everything he was in so much better.”

“Joe was the kindest man, a brilliant actor and a GOAT in the world of comedy. Every moment with him was a treasure,” he added.

Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt shared a hilarious clip of Flaherty playing Count Floyd in a 1982 episode of SCTV where he introduced clips of not-so-scary horror films.


“Poor Count Floyd — never got to preview the awful movies he showed,” Oswalt wrote. “Good god Joe Flaherty was to-the-core funny.”

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