John Cleese

RORY: [follows him] Please don’t walk away like that.
DEAN: Sorry, I’d do a silly walk but I’m not feeling very John Cleese right now.

John Cleese (born 1939), British actor, comedian, screenwriter, and comedian. He is most famous for being a founding member of Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the surreal comedy sketch show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, initially broadcast on BBC1 from 1969 to 1974.

Although Monty Python had little success in the US during their first American tour, Monty Python’s Flying Circus began airing on the PBS station KERA Dallas in 1974; other PBS stations followed and by 1975 it was the most popular show on these stations. It helped open the door for other British comedies in the US. Monty Python’s Flying Circus also aired on MTV in 1988.

Dean is referring to one of Cleese’s most famous sketches, “The Ministry of Silly Walks”, in series 2, episode 1, entitled “Face the Press”. In the sketch, John Cleese plays a civil servant responsible for developing silly walks, and spends the sketch walking in various silly ways in a thoroughly serious and determined manner.

Rory and Dean may have watched a DVD of the original show, or of the 1982 documentary, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, where the Monty Python team performed both classic sketches and new material. It was the last time the “Ministry of Silly Walks” sketch was performed in public. John Cleese had a hip and knee replacement in 2010, so that he was unable to perform the silly walks again.

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