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Encyclopedia > The Ministry of Silly Walks
John Cleese as the Minister of Silly Walks in the halls of the Ministry
John Cleese as the Minister of Silly Walks in the halls of the Ministry

"The Ministry of Silly Walks" is a sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, episode 14 entitled "Face the Press", first aired in 1970. A shortened version of the sketch was performed for Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl. Image File history File links Ministry_of_Silly_Walks. ... Image File history File links Ministry_of_Silly_Walks. ... This article is about the television series. ... Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl is a 1982 film in which the Monty Python team perform many of their greatest sketches and skits in the Hollywood Bowl, including a couple of pre-Python ones. ...


The sketch

This sketch involves John Cleese as civil servant in a fictitious British government agency responsible for developing Silly Walks through grants. Cleese, throughout the sketch, walks in a variety of silly ways, and it is this more than the dialogue that has earned the sketch its popularity. Cleese is presented with a "walk in progress" by one Mr. Putey (Michael Palin) — a walk which turns out to be actually not that silly. He tells Putey that he does not believe the Ministry can help him, as his walk is not silly enough, and funding is short. The government, he explains, is supposed to give equally to Defence, Social Security, Health, Housing, Education and Silly Walks, but recently has been underfunding Silly Walks. Cleese later offers Mr. Putey a grant that will allow him to work on the Anglo-French Silly Walk, La Marche Futile (an obvious parody of the Concorde's Anglo-French development), illustrated with some particularly ludicrous walk motions by Cleese, who is clearly reveling in the prospect of the Anglo-French project's taking place. “Cleese” redirects here. ... Michael Edward Palin, CBE (born 5 May 1943) is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries. ... For other uses, see Concorde (disambiguation). ...

There is a brief appearance by Mrs Twolumps serving coffee with full silly walk (Carol Cleveland in the Hollywood Bowl version). The result of her style of walking is that no coffee is left in the cups by the time she puts them down on the desk. In the Hollywood Bowl version, Carol Cleveland accidentally (or possibly intentionally) hops next to Cleese and spills some of the coffee on him during the sketch. For other uses, see Coffee (disambiguation). ... Carols first Python appearance. ...

As the years went by, Cleese found it increasingly difficult to perform these walks. He'd say, when told about a new Python Tour, "I'm not doing silly walks."

Some right-wing inspired observers claimed to see in this sketch a satire of government projects. But it should be noted that in the book The Pythons, members of the troupe indicated that they considered the whole scene nothing more than pure silliness. Cleese in particular is mildly dismayed that so many fans consider it their "best" sketch.

It has been suggested by John Cleese's former Director of Studies at Downing College, Cambridge, that the inspiration for the sketch came as a result of Cleese's time studying there, where the uneven, slippy and ill-supported gravel paths of the college domus often force undergraduates to navigate carefully around frequently-formed puddles and pot-holes with an amusing, broad and 'silly' stride[citation needed]. However, this explanation is highly unlikely, as the sketch was written by Terry Jones and Michael Palin, who were educated at Oxford University. Terence Graham Parry Jones (born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, on February 1, 1942) is a British comedian, screenwriter and actor, film director, childrens author, popular historian, political commentator and TV documentary host. ... The University of Oxford, located in the city of Oxford in England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. ...

References in popular culture

  • A reference to this sketch appears in Fawlty Towers episode The Germans, when a concussed John Cleese tries to cool things down by offering I'll do the funny walk — impersonating a German soldier's goosestep.
  • In 2000, an episode of Mission Hill, Andy and Kevin Make a Friend (or One Bang for Two Brothers), referenced the sketch when one of the characters attempts to impress a girl by showing how he does a "great silly walk" from the Ministry of Silly Walks.
  • In the Nintendo 64 game GoldenEye 007, various computer monitors can be seen showing a man doing John Cleese's silly walk.
  • In 2005, the sketch was chosen by a poll taken in Britain as the 15th greatest comedy sketch of all time (and one of 5 Monty Python sketches in the top 50).
  • A reference is made to the "silly walk" in an episode of the WB's Gilmore Girls when Rory says "Please, don't walk away like that," and Dean responds with "Sorry, I'd do a silly walk, but I'm not feeling very John Cleese right now."
  • In the movie Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One For the Road, Larry the Cable Guy makes a reference to The Ministry of Silly Walks and performs various silly walks to illustrate how people walked in Wal-Mart at around 2:00 AM.
  • In October 2006, the children's educational TV programme Numberjacks on CBeebies (part of the BBC network) featured a "silly walk" by actor/gymnast Alex Liang in episode 5. In this episode, Alex plays a businessman whose shoes get struck by the "Problem Blob" which makes his shoes go into "silly walk" mode and has him "silly walking" all over Richmond Park.
  • During a satellite appearance on The Phil Donahue Show to promote A Fish Called Wanda, Cleese was pressured by Donahue and the studio audience to do a silly walk. Cleese eventually vanished off screen and returned a few moments later, claiming he had just done a silly walk.
  • In an issue of The Simpsons Bongo comic when the British invade Springfield it shows John Cleese doing the goosestep and labels him as "the Minister of Silly Walks".
  • In the 25th anniversary special of the radio sketch show I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, John agrees to take part in resurrecting the show on the conditions that he can sing The Ferret Song and perform the Funny Walk. Of course, being a radio show, this comprised a full build-up and introduction, followed by several footsteps, and John finishing it by saying "Thank you," to tumultuous applause. He then apologises, saying that he thinks he missed a bit, to which Graeme Garden replies, "The funny bit?".
  • On an episode of The Chasers War On Everything, the boys do a sketch called "The Chaser's British Comedy Sketch", which is done in the same manner.
  • In November 2007, as the Eurostar duration between Brussels and London was reduced to 1 hour and 51 minutes, the Ministry of Silly Walks has appeared in an ad campaign in Belgium. The adverts were all on building corners, this one showing two workers carrying a large glass pane walking towards the corner on one side, and walking towards them on the other side a John Cleese look-alike doing his famous Silly Walk. The tagline read "Warning! London is just around the corner!".

Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom made by the BBC and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. ... The Germans is the sixth episode of the BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers. ... Wehrmacht troops Goose-Step through Warsaw The Stechschritt, commonly known in English speaking countries as the Goose-Step, is a special form of the equal step, which is usually demonstrated in solemn military parades and passes in review of closed units. ... For the Boston neighborhood, see Mission Hill, Boston, Massachusetts. ... The Nintendo 64 ), often abbreviated as N64, is Nintendos third home video game console for the international market. ... For the film, see GoldenEye. ... The WB Television Network is a television network in the United States, founded as a joint venture between the Warner Bros. ... Gilmore Girls was long-running, Emmy Award winning, and Golden Globe nominated American television drama/comedy created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. ... Information Nickname(s) Rory, Mary (from Tristan DuGrey), Ace (from Logan Huntzberger) Age 22 Date of birth October 8, 1984 Occupation journalist Family Lorelai Gilmore (mother) Christopher Hayden (father) Georgia GiGi Tinsdale (half-sister) Spouse(s) Logan Huntzberger (Ex-boyfriend) Dean Forester (Ex-boyfriend) Jess Mariano (Ex-boyfriend) Relatives Emily... Dean Forester is a fictional character from the TV series Gilmore Girls. ... Daniel Lawrence Whitney (born February 17, 1963 in Pawnee City, Nebraska), better known by the stage name Larry the Cable Guy, is a stand up comedian, actor, and one of the co-stars of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. ... Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ... Numberjacks is a childrens television series for 4-5 year olds and is shown regularly on BBC2 and CBeebies in the UK. [1] It is produced by Open Mind Productions for the BBC and features a mixture of computer-generated animation and live action. ... CBeebies is a British television channel produced by the BBC and aimed at children six years and under. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... The Phil Donahue Show, also known as Donahue, was the first tabloid talk show. ... A Fish Called Wanda is a movie released in 1988 by MGM. It was written by John Cleese and directed by Charles Crichton. ... Im Sorry, Ill Read That Again was a long-running BBC radio comedy programme that originally grew out of the Cambridge University Footlights revue Cambridge Circus. ... Graeme Garden, as a Beefeater in The Goodies (TV series) episode The Tower of London David Graeme Garden (born February 18, 1943) is a British comedy writer and performer. ...

The Science of Silly Walks

In a research article published by Britain's Royal Society in 2007, it mathematically disproves the function of a silly walk as a natural primary source for mobility. In an example of life imitating art, they funded this through grant money.

  • AFP Mathematics proves the silliness of silly walks

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Video Monty Python - ministry of silly walks - monty, python, humour, sketch, british - Dailymotion Partagez Vos Videos (101 words)
by radikod on Monty Python - ministry of silly walks
by tryo610 on Monty Python - ministry of silly walks
by Frederic on Monty Python - ministry of silly walks
The Ministry of Silly Walks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (771 words)
John Cleese as the Minister of Silly Walks in the halls of the Ministry
Cleese is presented with a "walk in progress" by one Mr.
The result of her style of walking is that no coffee is left in the cups by the time she puts them down on the desk.
  More results at FactBites »



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