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Call Me, Haiti? One Man's Quest To Skype Around The World

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Comedian Mark Malkoff has lived for a week inside of an IKEA store, consumed beverages at 171 Starbucks in Manhattan in less than 24 hours and proved that his kid's Big Wheel bike could beat a New York City bus across 42nd Street.

But after all those stunts, there are still worlds left to conquer — like talking to someone in every country in the world over Skype. Malkoff used Facebook and Twitter to locate willing participants in 162 countries — including North Korea! — and then joined them in a video chat. Malkoff tells NPR's Scott Simon that he was surprised by the response his project received, with calls including serenades, prayers and invitations to visit.


Interview Highlights

On the kids in Gambia he Skyped with, and other surprises

"Weren't they adorable? .... I had no idea that people were going to bring their kids into the video, pets — people prayed in the video, people sang to me."

On whether he's still in touch with his global Skype contacts

"I would say probably a quarter of the people have invited me to stay in their homes. That was just something I did not expect ... they were proud of their country — they even would go outside and show me landmarks, they would show me the mountains — I got to see the entire city of Dubai, which was beautiful, Tiananmen Square. And I tried to reciprocate, so I showed people around the world the Brooklyn Bridge. I was in Times Square showing them all around."

On the themes of their messages to the world

"It was just love and peace ... you know, we're way more similar than different. And I've gotten a lot of messages from viewers around the world that ... the video definitely made them laugh, but people were crying a lot. I mean, the words were just very touching."

On whether this was more than just a publicity stunt

"I feel like I've made all these friends, and I really do hope to travel and meet some of these people ..."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Source: NPR

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