On social media, images have circulated of a City of Ottawa social distancing bulletin that had been altered in reference to Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "The Ministry of Silly Walks."
Aired in 1970, the beloved sketch stars troupe member John Cleese as Mr. Teabag, a public servant working in a fictitious government ministry that is in charge of creating new, unabashedly silly ways to stroll.
While unaltered signs around Ottawa show silhouettes spaced apart by red arrows, the altered notice features Cleese's character, briefcase and all, distancing with an exaggerated gait.
The images eventually found their way to Cleese himself, who shared it from his verified Twitter account.
"In a park in Ottawa," he wrote, adding, "(Probably Canada, although there's no 'Sorry' at the end)."
The City of Ottawa's official Twitter account also appreciated the good humour with a Python reference of its own, writing, "#OttCity won't apologize for following The Ministry of Silly Walks recommendation that if someone is less than 2 metres from you 'Run away, run away' and do so at the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow."
In a park in Ottawa ( Probably Canada, although there's no 'Sorry' at the end ) pic.twitter.com/J6Hp48eYzh— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) April 9, 2020
Some sleuthing by the CBC revealed the sign-altering artist to be Alex Di Nardo, who whipped up the humorous version in Photoshop. Following his creation going viral, he wrote on Twitter, "Never had 'create an urban legend' in my bucket list, but whatev."
#OttCity won't apologize for following The Ministry of Silly Walks recommendation that if someone is less than 2 metres from you "Run away, run away" and do so at the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.— City of Ottawa (@ottawacity) April 9, 2020
"I swear it only took me 10 minutes. It was totally on a whim," he told the broadcaster. "This was a hack job. I actually just quickly pilfered some clip art and slapped it together as an inside joke."
Never had 'create an urban legend' in my bucket list, but whatev.— Alex Di Nardo (@MrAlexDiNardo) April 8, 2020
Monty Python's official Twitter account also gave Di Nardo's creation a share, which may inspire more of their fans to have a laugh with some Python-inspired signage.
We love this #Pythoninspired #covid19 #socialdistancing guidelines sign. Have you seen any other #pythoninspired signs? If so, share them with us here. #montypython #sillywalks pic.twitter.com/mGL3ErgnSb— Monty Python (@montypython) April 8, 2020
Recently, the city of Ottawa got some help from the Wu-Tang Clan in the fight against COVID-19.