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Therapeutic Ministry of Silly Walks

By David Butler Uncategorized 26 Jul 2016


Monty Python still lingers as a classic among many of us. Why not combine some physical comedy with some therapy – for this, the sketch of the ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ is as good as any.


What a great way to contextualise walking, especially for someone who experiences pain while walking  – there are marvellous straight leg raises, lunges, crossing the midline, and silly walks in different environments. I have been using it as therapy for years – getting people to watch it or even do it, perhaps when noone is looking! There is some very modern therapy here. Many thanks to John Cleese.



– David Butler


  1. David, Isn’t it the reaction of the audience that empowers anything different than the norm? Don’t we limp as a preservative?


  2. David, For a clinician, this is often an empowering of the culture to laugh at something like ataxia. Has Steven Hawking taught us nothing?


    1. Hi Barrett,
      I’m not seeing the link to laughing at ataxia or any kind of ridicule of disability at all. With the obvious physical comedy aspect aside, there was probably a bit of commentary on the English political system and public servants though.

      In Cleese’s performance isn’t there a celebration of the variety of human movement? Perhaps (especially given the context within British culture) even a comment on how societal mores and values influences our freedom to move? Or maybe it’s just a bit of classic Python silliness? (Cleese always maintained that this was the case).

      Maybe there is a translation issue – the UK population voted the Ministry of Funny Walks bit the 15th greatest comedy skit of all time in 2005. When Monty Python episodes were originally aired in the US, nearly 30 minutes was cut from each episode and replaced with adverts because broadcasters thought the American public would be offended by some (especially the ‘scatological’) content.


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