The thing is that we aren't laughing at someone. We are laughing together at related experiences. My boss heard the exchange and stated it was memorable. We did everything in our power to make his experience positive.
At the end of the interview the applicant thanked me. My boss and the attorney said that was a truly memorable experience. I reminded them that sometimes we are lucky to get a great supporting role in a larger play. The secret is that sometimes the public servant should thank the applicant for sharing special moments in their lives.
Understanding how to make those moments special is good public service.