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UN Secretary-General Hoaxed By Canadian Comedians


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon apparently saw the funny side of being tricked.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon apparently saw the funny side of being tricked.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has fallen victim to a prank by the Canadian comedic duo the "The Masked Avengers," who were posing as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

According to a press release from the Avenger's publicist on September 27, comedians Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel got through to the UN chief in less than an hour on the phone.

"The 'Prime Minister' complained he was too busy combing his hair with Krazy Glue to attend the UN," the release stated.

This week the UN's General Assembly is convening, which sees heads of states and global leaders descend upon New York for a week-long gab fest. Prime Minister Harper is not in attendance.

The comedians then requested that Ban intervene with Canada's NHL commissioner to make sure Quebec City gets a hockey team as quickly as possible. Ban realized he was being pranked, and was "amused" by the phone call.

According to the release, although security required a secured line to speak with Ban, he was patched straight through to the duo's Montreal studio CKOI 102.1.

The Masked Avengers had previously pulled a similar prank on U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin three days before the 2008 election.

Ban's spokesperson Martin Nersirky confirmed that the call had taken place.

In an email, he told RFE/RL: "He [Ban] very quickly realized it was a prank. He took it in the way it was intended -- as a joke."

"In this week of all weeks there are so many calls coming in from all over the world and from many delegations, and it was perhaps not the best use of his time, but these things can happen."

"The call was made during a gap between events, so there was no rushing involved."

Nesirky added: "It's obviously not supposed to happen, and we will be listening out extra hard in future for poor French accents on the line from Canada."

According to the release, the call will be broadcast on the radio and also streamed online on September 28.

-- Courtney Brooks

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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