Pythons put foot in it with Silly Walks says Cleese

IT was a walk which defined a group of comedy legends.

John Cleese

But John Cleese has declared that his iconic Ministry of Silly Walks routine with the Monty Python team was simply not very funny.

With tongue firmly in cheek, he said only his performance made it into a good sketch.

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Cleese has ruled out a return for the routine in the Monty Python reunion shows.

The comic told Alan Yentob in BBC One’s Imagine documentary that he did not want to do the sketch – one of the comedy group’s most famous – during the shows at the O2 in Greenwich, south London.

He said: “The one thing I’m glad I won’t have to do is the silly walk sketch, which I never thought was as funny as everybody else did and I pointed out to Terry Jones, I think it was his idea, the only reason it became so iconic was the brilliance of my performance because I never thought it was a very good sketch”.

The cult comedy troupe –Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones – announced their comeback for a string of gigs last year.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus was made for TV between 1969 and 1974 and generations of fans can recite lines and whole sketches. Sixth Python Graham Chapman died of cancer in 1989 aged just 48, and nine years later the five remaining members shared a stage at the Aspen Comedy Festival in the US.

Idle said the reunion show had “become sort of a musical with Python in the middle, which is what I like”. He added: “It won’t just be five 70-year-olds trying to do a sketch show”.