What joke would you tell the Dalai Lama?

17 June 2011
Nowadays many people – buyers included, or perhaps especially – find their professional life leads them to speak, meet, liaise and do business with people from all corners of the globe. For these relationships to be a success, a degree of cultural sensitivity and awareness is essential. So spare a thought for Australian TV presenter Karl Stefanovic who opened his interview with the Dalai Lama with a joke that absolutely bombed. He said: “So the Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop and says ‘can you make me one with everything’?” He then waited for the reaction of his holiness, which was, well, blank. Stefanovic tried again, this time adding gestures which helped, but what actually made the leader laugh was when Stefanovic burst out laughing while blaming himself for how badly it went. “I knew that wouldn’t work,” he chortled. While this incident may have led to international embarrassment for Stefanovic, apparently the joke’s purpose was to put his interviewee at ease, so in that sense, perhaps it was a success after all.
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