GIGGLE CITY: Joe Flaherty will ‘do the Count’ at the Edmonton Comedy Festival

Joe Flaherty is fine with Count Floyd being his most famous SCTV character, but he can only do it in short bursts. Not because he’s tired or anything. It’s just that there’s not much material there.

“He’s not even a real vampire,” Flaherty says.

Don’t worry. The 70-year-old master of sketch and improv comedy wouldn’t dream of disappointing his fans. Count Floyd will be making short bursts of appearances at the Edmonton Comedy Festival this week. Flaherty hosted Wednesday’s “Homecoming Gala” at the Citadel Theatre, will be appearing with his old friends in the Die Nasty live improvised soap opera Thursday through Saturday on the Rice stage, followed by a stint as Count Floyd in the Monster Chiller Horror Party in 3D in the Citadel lobby Saturday night.

Wow, kids, isn’t that scary? Ooowwoooooo! (cough, cough).

Today, Joe Flaherty plays himself:

Q: If you could be any (other) celebrity, who would it be and why?

A: I guess maybe Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots. I sort of envy him. He’s a great quarterback, great arm, good looking guy. I’m a big football fan.

Q: Of all the characters you created on SCTV, which is your favourite?

Q: This is a lesser known character: Rocco from the soap opera. He was so much fun to play. He had larceny in his heart, but lead for brains. I always liked that combination: an ineffectual villain.

A: Least favourite?

Q: Any character that I had to sit in a make-up chair more than an hour for – Jack Klugman.

Q: What’s your worst heckler story?

A: We were performing at Second City in Chicago and some guy tossed a drink at us. I think he was offended by the scene. We were doing something from the Bible, treating it like a soap opera. He didn’t like that and fired a whole drink filled with ice at us. It was right towards the end of the scene anyway, so we hit the end and scurried away. I think the guy was removed. There’s another one: We were doing a Second City routine, a ‘50s take off, and all during the show this guy kept yelling out stuff at us, screaming things, disrupting every scene we did. Finally, I looked at one of the guys in the cast, Brian Murray, and we nodded to each other, so we jumped off the stage and grabbed the guy by the arms and walked him right out the door. We got a nice round of applause for that. He didn’t even know why we were throwing him out. We found out later that it was an actor who had done a pretty popular film at the time, Goin’ Down the Road, Paul Bradley. Apparently he drank some kind of liquid from a lantern, kerosene or something. He was a bad alkie.

Q: When you taught comedy (Humber College for three years), what was the one thing you wanted to impart to your students?

A: I wish I could boil it down to one thing. It has to do with being intelligent and honest in your approach. Find something funny and explore it intelligently and honestly, even if you have to look bad in the process. I think the audience appreciates these traits – assuming you have a sense of humour to begin with. That’s the main thing.

Q: What’s the difference between kids today and when you were a kid?

A: Video games and superheroes. That was something I found out when I was teaching. I’d say: come up with an idea and do a sketch, and so many of them wanted to do superheroes.

Q: Weren’t you into superheroes when you were a kid?

A: Sure. We had Superman comic books, but we kind of grew out of them, you know? If find it strange how popular superheroes have become. You can’t identify with these people. In comedy and drama, the most interesting part is how you can identify with the characters. But now you have a character that has superpowers? Where’s the interesting vulnerability? It’s not just  Kryptonite. I don’t know – but it’s here to stay, like frickin’ Star Trek. It just won’t die.

Q: Shatner’s here on Sunday.

A: Really? Boy, that was the dumbest show ever. Each week they’d end up someplace on the studio lot: Western Town, ‘20s Chicago. What the hell kind of space show was that? Give me a break. I keep waiting for it to die out, but it doesn’t. I knew there were a lot of Trekkies around, but I always thought they were fringe characters. It was lame, I’m sorry.

Q: Do you know what character you’re going to play in Die Nasty this weekend?

A: A couple of names have been thrown around. Rocco might make an appearance. There’s no time to do a workshop. I’m just going to pick up a costume, go with a character and run with it. The theme is the mafia in 20’s Chicago. Maybe I can do Star Trek. Maybe I can be Shatner.