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Old 24 October 2018, 12:03 AM
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Snake Dutch 'silly walks' crossing is a hit

A Dutch town has officially opened a 'silly walks' road crossing, in honour of a classic sketch from the 1970s BBC comedy programme Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Spijkenisse near Rotterdam has replaced the usual crossing sign by the town hall with one of a man with a bowler hat and briefcase flinging his leg high in the air, in emulation of John Cleese's performance from the 'Ministry of Silly Walks' sketch, NOS public television reports.

https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-...8e4t65oi7D_pWc
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  #2  
Old 24 October 2018, 11:27 AM
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I never quite get the bits of British humour that are popular abroad.

I suppose it's similar to the way that the Swedish reputation for film noir and general darkness (apparently) developed (according to David Bellos in Is That a Fish in Your Ear?), because when Bergman was writing for international audiences he stripped back his style completely from what he used with domestic audiences, and so that gained a reputation for being the Swedish style, even though he apparently wrote much lighter stuff for domestic audiences. It's the broader physical stuff that has the widest appeal, so Mr. Bean not Blackadder, to use a standard example...

To be fair though, I suppose the Ministry of Silly Walks never stops being relevant; it's certainly got something to say about Brexit at the moment.
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Old 24 October 2018, 01:10 PM
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I suspect some of the international appeal to certain British comedy shows is because they are seen as somehow more 'British' to foreign viewers.

But also when shows like Monty Python develop a cult following abroad (as opposed to being generally enjoyed by a mainstream audience) they end up with fans that are more nerdy about it and have a tendency to reference it a lot (a lot!). This could give many people the idea that the show with the more obsessive following internationally is therefore the most popular in its home country.

But in this case, I think it's just that the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch has a lot of international and inter-generational appeal just by being simple, physical comedy.
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Old 24 October 2018, 01:46 PM
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It's also easier when among non-Python-fans to get laughs referencing the Ministry of Silly Walks, for example, than it is referencing the argument clinic or the architects sketch.

Python is popular abroad because it's distinctly different from domestic comedy elsewhere, and because (at least in the US) it was presented in volume and in its original form. We still like other forms of British humor - sorry, humour - but it doesn't stand out as distinctly.
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Old 24 October 2018, 02:30 PM
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Yes, I think part of my point applies more to the non-English-speaking bits of "abroad", rather than you former colonies. So it's inevitable that physical comedy rather than more language-based comedy is more popular in those parts.

The USA is a special case in that Monty Python still seems to be more popular there than it is here these days; some of Monty Python is this sort of physical comedy but some isn't...
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Old 24 October 2018, 03:18 PM
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I watched a Monty Python documentary the other night and found out that John Cleese never thought the Ministry of Silly Walks was funny to begin with. He did it because the others insisted.

Seaboe
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Old 24 October 2018, 03:18 PM
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You haven't really seen a Monty Python sketch until you've seen it in the original Klingon.
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Old 24 October 2018, 03:19 PM
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To expand on my previous comment, I think Monty Python's initial and ongoing popularity in the US is in part due to the fact that (almost) the entire first three seasons were shown on non-commercial PBS, where the stream of consciousness style (and the occasional naked lady) could be enjoyed unedited. Its stylistic predecessors and contemporaries were either shown with commercial interruptions, edited for content, chopped into bits that were used in other (American) shows, or just not seen at all. Of course, Python was generally a cut above the rest of the pack as well.

On the other hand, I really can't explain why Benny Hill was so popular for a while, especially when his original Thames shows were cut and re-edited into 30-minute (counting credits and many commercials) episodes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
I watched a Monty Python documentary the other night and found out that John Cleese never thought the Ministry of Silly Walks was funny to begin with. He did it because the others insisted.
Well it just proves that guy has no sense of humor!

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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
You haven't really seen a Monty Python sketch until you've seen it in the original Klingon.
lupDujHomwIj luteb gharghmey

Last edited by ChasFink; 24 October 2018 at 03:39 PM.
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  #9  
Old 25 October 2018, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I suppose it's similar to the way that the Swedish reputation for film noir and general darkness (apparently) developed (according to David Bellos in Is That a Fish in Your Ear?), because when Bergman was writing for international audiences he stripped back his style completely from what he used with domestic audiences, and so that gained a reputation for being the Swedish style, even though he apparently wrote much lighter stuff for domestic audiences. It's the broader physical stuff that has the widest appeal, so Mr. Bean not Blackadder, to use a standard example...
I recall reading that when making A Fish Called Wanda, Cleese relied on the American cast members (Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis) to help him in tuning the humor so that it would work better with an American audience. His previous film, Clockwise, had performed disappointingly in the states. (Although I personally find it hilarious, it does have some bits that I think don't resonate so much with Americans, and occasionally may use some language or slang that not all US folk would understand.)

Quote:
To be fair though, I suppose the Ministry of Silly Walks never stops being relevant; it's certainly got something to say about Brexit at the moment.
There was a Facebook meme I reposted today, with a cat being asked what he thought about Brexit: "I think you should repeatedly ask to leave, then when the door opens, just sit there and stare at it. That's what I would do."
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Old 25 October 2018, 10:33 AM
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That meme actually turned up shortly after the referendum, partly because Cameron had said he would invoke Article 50 immediately and then didn't, I think. It annoyed me a bit then and it annoys me far more now, when the utter lack of preparation is even clearer than it was before - we didn't "hang around" or "sit there staring" at all; the referendum was supposed to be advisory; that's how it was got through Parliament, and it's only because of a sentence printed in some stupid leaflet, and some of Cameron's more idiotic pronouncements, that people were able to argue it should be both binding and immediate.

As it happens, Theresa May still invoked Article 50 far too soon - with insufficient discussion and before anybody had even agreed what we were supposed to be trying to do. All this "get on with it!" crap served nobody except the people who actively want us to crash out with no deal in order that they can exploit the chaos for their own economic purposes. That it somehow got turned into a popular meme mocking the country, when waiting and thinking for a bit was one of the few sensible things we actually tried to do, pisses me off completely. And it makes no sense now anyway because we invoked the Leave clause 18 months ago and (if nothing else changes) will be out in about 5 months whether we like it or not.
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  #11  
Old 25 October 2018, 09:11 PM
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Ah, I can see it that way if it's been floating around a while. I was looking at it in terms of the recent failed attempts at making the right exit deal.

The whole thing seems poorly thought-out to me, but then I'm very much *not* a nationalist.
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