For all the extraordinary difficulties of the past year, with bad news coming month after month, those who tried to keep some semblance of normalcy by taking work and social meetings at home through Zoom had even more things to contend with. The funniest Zoom moments of the pandemic year are due to the amazing technology that allowed us to keep work and social connections going – but posed real issues for those who had family or pets making their presence known.
From prowling cats, to barking dogs, to parrots landing on heads, to people showing up in cat filters in court proceedings — 2020 truly had it all.
And the funniest Zoom moments like these were some of the things that allowed us to keep our sanity and a modicum of our old sense of humor through the darker days of the past year.
We sometimes received an unwelcome peek into the private lives of our coworkers and their families as well, when some of them failed to realize they had to be fully clothed during Zoom meetings.
One of the Zoom exchanges which will undoubtedly go down in history is one that took place against the extraordinarily serious background of a trial, being held remotely in Texas.
The defendant and his lawyers were on one feed, with the judge and prosecutor on their own feeds. One problem, however — the defense attorney was a cat. Or at least he appeared so, after the daughter of his assistant had finagled with the settings of his laptop, changing its filter to portray the Zoom user as a cat.
The consternation on the lawyer cat’s face was clear, as everyone can see him — in the guise of a kitten — mouthing “Oh no” and glancing down at his monitor after he realized the mistake.
Even during such proceedings — and during times like those of the past year — humor connected us and made life just a little easier to bear.
Best Zoom Moments of 2020 Often Included Kids Being Kids
Serenity was a hard thing to come by last year as well, and millions of people across the world engaged in meditation to help with the stresses of life. And that usually does do the trick — except when the online instructor has a child making bunny years in back of her.
Not to be bested, the mother uses the incident as a teachable moment, but shows a crack in her supposedly calm demeanor. “It’s really challenging, I know, with children home from school, and working from home. Just try to keep all of those distractions out of the way,” she tells her meditation students — in her meditation voice — while waving threateningly at the little girl behind her.
We got a peek into social dynamics as well this past year, after the teacher of a second grade class lost her internet connection and her students suddenly realized they were without a leader.
The class made it onto the list of the funniest Zoom moments of 2020 after the proceedings quickly broke up, and one second-grader remarked, “They kicked her off the Internet!” and others chimed in with their thoughts about what they should do next.
One observant young man cautions his classmates, saying “Do you see that icon in the corner? The teacher is recording this and she can watch us and see that we’re not behaving.”
After a few minutes of more banter back and forth among the eight and nine-year-olds, the first young man adds “‘Cause if the principal finds out that we are being bad right now, we’ll be in big trouble with our parents.”
Another tot chimes in after him, agreeing “Yeah, we’re toast.”
A discussion then ensues regarding what foods might go best with toast.
Cats, of course, have always been in a class by themselves when it comes to taking part in office work, pushing things off desks, pressing computer keys and walking in front of the screen. Dogs of course also made many appearances in 2020 Zoom and news videos as their owners struggled with trying to present reports from home while their canine companions barked incessantly — usually at just the wrong moment.
Some Moments Perhaps Only Funny in Retrospect
As anyone who has ever taken part in city — or, sadly, church — politics can attest, the proceedings can go a little awry at times and things can escalate quickly.
A church parish meeting in England went off the tracks early on this past year, with the participants arguing that the woman who called for online voting for a new chairman did not have the power to hold the election in the first place. The proceedings quickly devolved into vicious name-calling and angry retorts — thereby adding “You do not have any authority here, Jackie Weaver!” the the world lexicon.
Jackie herself took it well, gamely staying on the Zoom call despite the verbal onslaught against her. A few minutes later, another participant officially welcomed the unfortunate woman, who had apparently just joined the church council, saying that kind of behavior was what she had in store for her as part of the parish council.
Sometimes kids are simply just too adorable and they cannot be contained, leading to them taking a prominent place in the funniest Zoom moments of the past year. Many interviewees who worked form home during 2020 struggled valiantly with children who had urgent needs such as having a biscuit or rearranging stuffed toys on a shelf while their parents explained serious policy matters on international television.
And last but not least, one of the first episodes of worlds colliding unexpectedly, a noted expert in Korean politics was being interviewed by the BBC while his daughter broke into his home office, walking across the room as she recounted the events of her birthday party to her Dad.
All his years of postgraduate study and accomplishment went out the window after the tiny tot strutted her stuff for a worldwide BBC audience and her father completely lost the thread of the interview.
Whether it was misbehaving pets, children, errant unclothed husbands — or all the other possible distractions we had to deal with over the past year — tolerance and a healthy dose of a sense of humor were the order of the day.
None of us were at our best during the past year of the global pandemic, but we did the best we could. And that was enough.