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Funniest Zoom fails from a year of virtual everything

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Zoom has become a huge part of all our lives during the pandemic. It’s allowed us to connect with distant family members, watch virtual performances and work remotely. Just, please, no one say the words ‘Zoom quiz’ again.

It’s a brave new world, but as some of us have been unlucky to find out, it’s an absolute minefield of potential embarrassments. Accidentally unmuted microphones, unknowingly switched-on webcams and rogue filters are the stuff of nightmares for those who fall victim, but for the rest of us watching on, it’s provided much spirit-lifting schadenfreude.

Here, we’ve rounded up some of the funniest, strangest, most cringeworthy Zoom-tastrophes from the past year of the pandemic.

Jackie Weaver: The Woman, The Myth, The Legend

Let’s get the most obvious one out the way early doors, and revisit the infamous tale of Jackie Weaver — a woman who, despite claims to the contrary, did actually seem to have a fair bit of authority. Last month, an online meeting between members of the parish council in Handforth, a small Cheshire town, descended into total, electrifying chaos. It was a whirlwind of misunderstood standing orders, gazumped chairmen, Britney Spears references, and Aled’s iPad. None of it really made sense, but we loved it all the same. As Jackie Weaver rightly said at one point: “It’s nothing if not lively in Handforth.”

‘I’m not a cat’: Lawyer goes viral for accidental kitten filter

On a Venn diagram of “hilarious”, “absurd” and “actually really cute”, this video sits right in the sweet spot. Texas lawyer Rod Ponton joined the Zoom for a virtual hearing of the 394th Judicial District Court to find that, lo and behold, his face had been supplanted by that of an adorably sheepish kitten. As Ponton’s assistant tried in vain to remove the filter, Ponton seemed utterly flummoxed. “I’m prepared to go forward with it,” he stuttered, his feline eyes darting from left to right, before assuring the judge: “I’m here live… I’m not a cat!”

Rocco the interrupting cat

Cat disrupts parliamentary committee meeting

It’s not just Zoom filters that can turn calls into a feline frenzy. In July, John Nicholson MP was speaking during an online committee meeting, only for his cat’s tale to appear out of nowhere and derail the whole thing. “Rocco, put your tail down,” says Nicholson, while somehow managing to keep a straight face throughout it all. We wouldn’t be surprised if somebody didn’t get their Whiskas that evening.

“Yes, you can have two biscuits”

Imagine this: you are a toddler. Breakfast was hours ago, your stomach is rumbling, and so you decide you want biscuits. Not one, but two biscuits. That seems fair. Mummy, chief arbiter of biscuit distribution, is talking to a two-dimensional man on a screen in the spare room, but this matter is urgent. So you walk in and ask Mummy whether you can have two biscuits. She seems unduly alarmed by the request, but says yes, you can have two biscuits. Mission accomplished.

Scarlett, The Shelf Rearranger

Daughter hilariously interrupts expert’s BBC interview

Not every kid who barges in on their parents while they’re live on national television does it in search of biscuits. In the case of Scarlett — daughter of Dr Clare Wenham, who was appearing on BBC News to talk about the latest lockdown approach — she simply wanted to find the best place on the shelf for her picture of a unicorn. Fair play to Dr Wenham, who handles the distraction with consummate professionalism. Let’s hope the shelf matter has since been resolved.

If you’re someone who found the prospect of an IRL meeting with your boss nerve-wracking enough, then the rise of Zoom meetings has probably added a fun new layer of anxiety to proceedings. Whether or not the idea of your boss turning inadvertently turning themselves into a potato would alleviate or worsen those fears is a matter of personal opinion, but that’s what happened to one poor boss back in March last year. Potat-oh no, indeed.

The (apparently) trouser-less TV correspondent

ABC News’ Will Reeve caught on air without trousers on

Ever had the dream where you’re at work and you realise you forgot to put any trousers on? When viewers watching ABC saw the channel’s correspondent Will Reeve delivering an update in a suit jacket, shirt and what seemed like just his underwear, that nightmare appeared to have passed over into reality. A photo of the supposed mishap went viral on Twitter, which prompted Reeve himself to reply: “They’re shorts I promise.” He later confirmed that he was trying to be efficient and get ready for a post-TV appearance workout, but got caught out by the camera angle. Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks they can get away with an undressed lower half on their next Zoom.

The whole “my bookshelf is better than yours” battle has been raging throughout the pandemic — we’ve all been trying to prove how incredibly well read we are on Zoom by showing off our literary goods in the background. Less of us have been taking part in the “my dildo is bigger than yours” challenge, but this was a solid first effort from BBC Wales guest Yvette Amos. Viewers were quick to spot something alarmingly phallic on Amos’ bookshelf when she appeared on the channel, and were quick to speculate on why it was there. A mistake? On purpose? Practical joke by her housemates? Art piece? Novelty candle? Who knows.

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