Comically altered physical distancing notice draws chuckles, and city laughs along

alk this way: The altered sign replaces silhouettes of ordinary people with John Cleese's character from the 1970 Monty Python sketch The Ministry of Silly Walks. (Shannon McMillan/Twitter)

An image of a comically altered City of Ottawa sign that’s been circulating on social media has now caught the attention of the lanky comedic giant who inspired it.

The figures on the physical distancing notice have been changed to resemble John Cleese’s character from The Ministry of Silly Walks, a famous Monty Python sketch that dates back 50 years.

The city posted the bilingual signs around parks and playgrounds to remind people to keep a two-metre distance to reduce their exposure to COVID-19. The unaltered signs feature silhouettes of people walking, separated by red arrows marking the desired distance between them.

Actor John Cleese made the exaggerated stride famous in a 1970s Monty Python sketch about civil servants who work for the the Ministry of Silly Walks. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

The doctored sign seen in the image circulating on social media instead shows the silhouette of a bowler-hatted figure carrying a briefcase and brolly, and taking long, silly strides.