Embarrassing Zoom calls provide a cautionary tale to the flexibility in remote working. Online meetings have introduced a whole new sub-genre in accidental hilarious videos, showcasing gaffes at an employee’s most personal space: their home. In particular, the last two years have introduced a new online world, shifting the workplace to the internet. Of course, adjustment issues have been plentiful. From people only dressed from the waist up (like a cocky news anchor) to children abruptly walking into the background, video chatting has recorded it all.

Tips To Avoid Embarrassing Yourself On Zoom

Follow these simple steps to prevent the ensuing humiliation:

  • Familiarize – get used to Zoom. The video conferencing program has several tools and options that are fairly simple to navigate. Presenters and listeners need to understand how to interact with their audience.
  • Mute yourself – everyone can hear you unless you toggle the microphone option. No one wants to hear music, flatulence, noisy housemates, and/or other disruptive noises.
  • Video awareness – be attentive to what your video is capturing.  Nothing is worse than being seen in your skivvies or revealing god knows what in the background.
  • Know your internet — double check your broadband. No one wants to hear the auditory equivalent of a strobe light. 

For more tips, read: “Zoom Meeting Etiquette 101

Online Video Video Meeting Failures

Make sure both your camera is off and your mic is muted before checking out The Worst Zoom Fails Ever:

Potato Head

There has always been paranoia about cyberspace – in particular the internet. Some critics are so distrustful, that they think phones and computers will turn us into mindless zombies. Just take a look outside: people mope slack-jawed, arms slack, heads bowed into their screen. 

Well, they got it mostly right. Not the zombie part, but definitely the transfiguration. This helpless victim was turned into a spud, against his consent.

On a Zoom meeting, a boss was inadvertently turned into a potato, and couldn’t figure out how to become a woman again. While busying herself looking how to switch off the produced filter, she finally gave up, and was stuck in her form for the duration of the meeting. 

Hope Mrs. Potato Head had thick skin.

I’m Not A Cat

Speaking of turning into things that we aren’t, likely the most famous on this was a lawyer going Animagus and becoming a feline. To make matters worst, he coughed up the verbal fur ball that made him viral: “I’m here live! I’m not a cat!” 

Besides the legal call, these skittish and sassy pets have no concept to meetings in progress, often sneaking into the camera’s periphery. A lovable fur ball leaped into his master’s lap during a Zoom call, prompting the employee to apologize for his uninvited guest. Instead, the CEO stopped the conversation and declared “is that a cat! Show me the cat!” 

A definitive win in the debate of which is better: dogs or cats?

Bare Background

The bedroom is composed of many personal accouterments. There’s a bed for sleeping. The television for watching. The dresser for dressing. This last personal addition has proven to be an intrusion to some Zoom participants. Various stages of undress that range from undies to background nudity is popular faux pas. Here are examples seen in the bedroom: a lover walked past completely naked; a child streaked across the screen; a father started rubbing his beer belly in full view. 

We’ve heard of wearing no pants under the desk, but this takes comfort (and discomfort for the victimized viewer) to a whole discomforting level.


It’s strange saying goodbye after an interaction. Occasionally, hands are left to shake nothing but air and high fives wave at invisible people. Even more peculiar: bidding adieu to colleagues on wi-fi connections, varying in strength. Words are clipped from speakers that deliver exit lines, paused halfway through talking. 

Because it fails to accurately depict the in-person experience, finishing a Zoom call with others is super strange. 

Supervisors fail to locate the end call button, leaving their subordinates to stare blankly at their cameras, pretending like they no longer see each other for five seconds. Others checkout of the meeting early, standing to leave their computer before the conversation was finished. The number of hand symbols used to mark the end of the chat looks like an individual attempting to communicate in ASL.  

Not So HBD

Singing Happy Birthday is a wonderful — albeit copyrighted — gesture. Attempting to harmonize over a teleconference is an asinine idea, a performance rehearsed by singers all in tune to their own individual key. WHS Choir attempted to make their teacher Miss Rodriguez feel acknowledged on her special day during the pandemic. Instead, they nearly forced her into an early retirement. 

A smart idea would have been to recite their parts separately, have a volunteer edit the voices together (who isn’t tech-savvy at a young age these days?), and synchronize the entire song into a cohesive whole. Over a dozen people wailed like a bunch of buzzed revelers at an Applebee’s Happy Hour, each wavering pitch a beat behind the other. 

What’s That Behind You

Though the program automatically keys out the background, the Zoom software doesn’t always work appropriately. A nature-enthused man found out his beard merged with a bison, imagining a life out of the house and into the plains. A woman opted not to have a background, the old technology turning her into a transparent and ablaze “hell beast. “

If you want something that doesn’t look like a scene glitching in The Matrix films, put a green screen behind you. Or, if you don’t want to get that technical, it’s safer to just position yourself in front of a bookshelf… unless you left your beer can hidden amongst the volumes. 

If you’re looking for an entertaining rabbit hole to go down on YouTube, search for “Zoom Fails,” and you’ll be able to see hours of epic video conferencing fails. But, don’t fall victim to a zoom fail. If we do a follow-up blog post, you don’t want to make the list!