Walk this way is an old-established joke that has its roots in vaudeville. Relying for its punchline on the linguistic double usage of "way" as both a direction and manner, the joke is perhaps most familiar to modern audiences via Mel Brooks in many of his films, including Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Spaceballs and Young Frankenstein.
Brooks, however, is not the only purveyor. Monty Python's Flying Circus used the line as a running gag, and the joke has been used or referenced in films and television shows ranging from M*A*S*H, Daffy Duck cartoons, and The Three Stooges shorts to Rugrats, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Garfield and Friends and Animaniacs. Brooks' version also inspired a 1975 song by Aerosmith.
The Muppets have followed this comedic tradition, incorporating the classic gag on several occasions.
Uses of the joke
- Link Hogthrob instructs Fozzie Bear (dressed as First Mate Piggy) to "walk this way" in a Pigs in Space sketch in episode 216 of The Muppet Show.
- In a Count von Count sketch, the Count is working as an elevator operator, and he instructs Kermit to "walk this way" into the elevator, inspiring Kermit to mimic his waddle.
- In the Fraggle Rock episode "Junior Faces the Music," after Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, Red, and Boober are assembled in Gobo and Wembley's room, Cantus the Minstrel advises the group to "walk this way." Shrugging, the Fraggles imitate Cantus' slow gliding walk, even in a later scene as they head closer to the Gorgs' Garden.
- In the Fraggle Rock episode "Space Frog Follies," Uncle Travelling Matt tells Wembley to "walk this way" as they exit Gobo and Wembley's room. Wembley does, imitating Matt's clumsiness on the way out.
- In the Fraggle Rock episode "The Trial of Cotterpin Doozer," Large Marvin tells Feenie Fraggle to "walk this way" as they follow Cotterpin Doozer to the Doozer Dome. Marvin walks in a funny way and says "Coming liiiiiittle girl!" and Feenie does the same.
- In the Fraggle Rock episode "Mokey, Then and Now," just prior to the "Voodoo Spell" song, Mokey tells Wembley and Boober, "Follow me and do what I do." Ever the literalist, Wembley copies her exactly as she exits.
- In the Jim Henson Hour Pitch Reel, Jim Henson tells Gonzo to "walk this way." Gonzo watches Henson walk offscreen, then remarks to the camera, "If I could walk that way, I'd have legs!"
- In the "Pigs in Space" insert in Little Muppet Monsters episode "In the Beginning" two aliens with abnormal limb placement (they have short rounded bodies with one arm coming out the top of them) tell Link Hogthrob and First Mate Piggy to "walk this way", they then proceed to follow them hunched over with one arm in the air.
- In "The Tubmans of Porksmith" UK Spot in Muppets Tonight episode 102, Carter tells the Handyman to "walk this way" to where Howard Tubman is stuck in his chair. The handyman does, imitating Carter's shaking slow walk.
- In the 2004 Sesame Street video A Celebration of Me, Grover, Grover (seeking to shift from his Waiter Grover capacity to Super Grover) asks a duck for directions to the nearest phone booth. Naturally, the duck tells him to "walk this way." Grover shrugs and follows suit, down to repeating the duck's quacking.
- In a 2011 episode of Sesame Street, Alan and Chris are about to demonstrate their Bubble Fest Finale. They tell child Crystal to "walk this way" and exit in a hammy, barker-like manor. Crystal does the same.
- A Muppet t-shirt first sold in 2013 in Germany, depicts Animal (illustrated) walking is his typically hunched over posture, and the words "Walk This Way," with the sub line "Rock'n'Roll 1976." Although this image with Muppet rocker Animal could simply be a reference to the Aerosmith song "Walk This Way" that was a top-charting Rock'n'Roll hit in 1976, rather than a play on the classic vaudeville gag.
- "What This Way" (Sesame Street song)