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TGIF: The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop… June 16, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff, TGIF.

Chris Durban shared this little video with me, which a friend of hers in Australia sent her, because she thought it would make a good TGIF video. As Chris explains, it is “a good example of a cultural mismatch, with (as he [her friend] put it) “the joke being on the Australian TV presenter trying to be funny.” :-)” For those of you who don’t get it either, I will explain the joke below the video window.

My favorite line is “You know that a joke’s in trouble when you’ve got a translator off to the side.” Truer words have never been spoken.

To those non-native speakers who, like the Dalai Lama, have no idea what he’s going on about, the joke is when he says “make me one with everything.” It’s a pun (meaning it has 2 meanings): 1) Make me a pizza with everything 2) Make me at harmony with everything (which according to the Buddhist tenet the ultimate goal is to become one with the world and be at peace through meditation.



1. Jim - June 17, 2011

I saw this, it was hilarious – I feel for both of them!

2. MM - June 17, 2011

Oh, I beat you to it, Jill, and with no help from Chris – it was on BoingBoing this week!

Jill (@bonnjill) - June 17, 2011

Yes, you did, Margaret. I saw your post as I was posting mine. Great minds think alike I guess…

P.S. What’s BoingBoing? I haven’t been in Germany for a few years. Is it a popular TV show like Stefan Raabs’ TV Total?

3. MM - June 18, 2011

BoingBoing is a blog in the USA! boingboing.net

This Dalai Lama clip appeared on the arts news programme on 3SAT yesterday evening.

I love the typical joke language ‘The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop…’ good header.

4. Anil Sharma - June 21, 2011

I think the way the Dalai Lama laughed at the awkwardness of the situation was funnier than the joke itself. Maybe he should have used a translations service with qualified professionals. Maybe then the joke would have gone over better!

5. May - June 22, 2011

Maybe it was the Aussie accent. That can’t be easy for the non-native speaker. (I would say that the Dalai Lama is most comfortable with the British/American accent, as he speaks with a mixture of both.)

6. Sarah Dillon - June 23, 2011

This is completely cringe-worthy on SO many levels!!! Not least because I find this particular morning TV presenter embarrassing in his cavalier approach to anyone who does not conform to his version of the “‘Strayian norm”. I mean really, how unused to non-native speakers do you have to be to try a joke like that??! Sounds like the kind of thing your beavis-and-butthead buddies would put you up to after a few beers… “Hey, dude, you so gotta tell the Dalai Lama this joke when you see him tomorrow… a-huh, a-huh, a-huh!” Pretty embarrassing effort for a nationwide TV channel, in my opinion! 🙂

7. patenttranslator - June 29, 2011

The joke is unifinished.

Here is one possible ending:

The pizza guy turns to Dalai Lama and says:

“No, only you yourself can do that. But I can make you a pizza with all the toppings. And would you please finally stop making fun of me and my job?”

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