Last Week Tonight host John Oliver has, in the past, had some interesting if now downright comic interviews with known personalities – from Edward Snowden to Stephen Hawking. On 5 March, his Sunday show aired a meeting with one of the most popular leaders in the world – the Dalai Lama.
Making a trip to India in December, Oliver visited His Holiness at his home-in-exile Dharamsala, in the foothills of the Himalayas in India, and the two talked about a range of subjects.
"The Chinese government absolutely hates you," Oliver said, starting off straight away with China's negative relations with the Tibetan leader. He mentioned that one official had even called the Dalai Lama a "wolf in monk's clothing".
Unfazed by the hateful rhetoric, the Buddhist leader laughed it off, mentioning that they had also called him a "demon", while mimicking devil horns over his head. "Whatever they want to say, that's their freedom," he said. "I have no negative feeling. I just feel love. I practice taking others' suspicion, distrust and giving them patience, tolerance and compassion. I practice that."
In its bid to weaken the Dalai Lama's power in Tibet, the Asian giant reportedly kidnapped a six-year-old boy appointed to be the next Panchen Lama. At the time of the Dalai Lama's death, it would have fallen on this young child to search for his next reincarnation and select him to take up the role of Buddhist leader.
However, with the boy under Chinese control, and China appointing its own Panchen Lama, the Dalai Lama believes he may not have a successor at all. "If I become the last Dalai Lama, I will be very happy," the spiritual leader said. "I may say... [I am] quite intelligent," he added, comically tooting his own horn.
Calling China's efforts to weaken his power in Tibet a "foolish act", the 81-year-old explained: "Our brain has the ability to create common sense. The Chinese hard-liners... that part of the brain is missing."
The two also talked about the Tibetans, who self immolated in the name of the Dalai Lama and the Free Tibet movement. His Holiness explained that he could not directly speak against the suicidal acts because of the effect it would have on the victims' families. To explain the power his comments could hold, he offered to recollect and incident during a visit to Mongolia.
"They took a lot of vodka," the Dalai Lama said "I suggested that they drink much less vodka... instead of that... drink horse milk.
"They followed," he told a rather surprised Oliver. "Since then, I think a majority of Mongolians no longer drink [vodka]."
Watch the complete interview below: