Walk this way (humor)

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A "Walk this way" sign on a brick building in Holt, Norfolk, indicating the way to the Holt Foot Clinic.

"Walk this way" is a recurrent pun in a number of comedy films and television shows. It may be derived from an old vaudeville joke. It refers to the double usage of "way" in English as both a direction and a manner.

One version of this old joke goes like this: A heavy-set woman goes into a drug store and asks for talcum powder. The bowlegged clerk says, "Walk this way," and the woman answers, "If I could walk that way I wouldn't need talcum powder!"[1]

As a popular visual gag, the joke has appeared in films, perhaps first in After the Thin Man (1936), with William Powell imitating the butler, and by director Mel Brooks,[2] including The Producers, Young Frankenstein[3] and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.[4] According to Gene Wilder, who co-wrote the script of Young Frankenstein and played the title character, Brooks added the joke while shooting the scene, inspired by the old "talcum powder" routine.[5][verification needed] Marty Feldman, who played the hunchback Igor in Young Frankenstein, later said:

It's a terribly old music hall joke. I did that to make the crew laugh and Mel Brooks said, "Let's shoot it" ... [Gene Wilder and I] both said, "Mel, please take that out", and he left it in. He said, "I think it's funny". Audiences laugh at it. Gene and I were both wrong. Mel was right.[6]

The Aerosmith song "Walk This Way" was inspired after the band went to see "Young Frankenstein" in 1974.[7]


  1. ^ The Bridgemen's Magazine, Volumes 45-46, 1945
  2. ^ Mazur, Eric Michael (2011). Encyclopedia of Religion and Film. ABC-CLIO. p. 92. ISBN 9780313330728.
  3. ^ Mendelsohn, Daniel (21 June 2001). "Double Take". The New York Review of Books.
  4. ^ Sheriff of Rottingham asks his men to "walk this way", Robin Hood: Men in tights
  5. ^ Wilder, Gene (2005). Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search for Love and Art. Macmillan. p. 151. ISBN 9780312337063.
  6. ^ Marty Feldman: Walk This Way, The Bookseller, September 13, 2011
  7. ^ "Young Frankenstein: Mel Brooks, Aerosmith and 'Walk this Way'". Charleston, South Carolina: Julia Santen Gallery. Retrieved 2018-06-07.

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