Balancing kids, household distractions, TV, and the ever-present anxiety that fills us all with despair every morning has made it very difficult for many to productively work from home. Well, life for telecommuters has gotten a little bit harder this week now that Grammy winner John Legend has downloaded Zoom and begun crashing conference calls with home concert performances.
“It was so strange,” said Vanessa Reyler, head of human relations for Pipestart Inc., an auto parts distributor based in Elkhart, Indiana. “There were about 6 of us on Zoom discussing the need to immediately lay off about half of our salesforce and all of a sudden John Legend is on our screens singing All of Me. He sounded great, but it was a little much.”
“‘Zoombombing‘, the act of crashing a video conference, has become rampant over the last few weeks,” explained UCLA media professor Heinrich Jabory over a Zoom interview with the Avocado. “Conference crashers tend to be trolls and perverts, but since the quarantine, we’re seeing more and more Grammy-nominated singer-songwriters take over work calls with impromptu performances.” I asked Professor Jabory if there were ways a business could protect against unwanted intruders, but was interrupted when Dave Matthews crashed the interview to begin a 16-minute acoustic version of Dancing Nancies. “I’m sorry, I can’t listen to this guy again,” apologized Professor Jabory as he left the conference, leaving just me to awkwardly listen to Dave Matthews until he finally finished the song.
The Avocado attempted to reach out to John Legend through Twitter, but our messages went unanswered. Being quite clever, I decided to start a Zoom conference with members of our staff under the auspices of having to let them go and, sure enough, John Legend showed up.
“It’s such an honor to be able to sing for you all,” he said unprompted over the cries of Janice, our copyeditor who believed she was being let go, before beginning an understated cover of John Lennon’s Imagine.
“I love John Lennon,” said Janice, to which John Legend misheard and thanked the still crying septuagenarian.
“Um, excuse me, excuse me! John!” I called out. “Can you stop singing for a minute?”
John Legend looked confused. He had never been stopped in the middle of a performance before. “What’s wrong? Do you not like this song? Do you want me to play an original instead?” he asked before starting into Ordinary People.
“No! I’m just wondering what are you doing in here? This is a work conference about firing Janice,” I said, to which Janice started to wail again. “Why are you singing in here?”
John’s brows furrowed in deep thought. “I guess I just felt that this was a way I could spread a little joy throughout the world,” he said. “I’m sorry if you don’t like it. I’ll go.”
I watched a single tear fall from John Legend’s eyes, and lots more from Janice who was streaming herself from her grandson’s iPad. At that moment I felt a great sadness for John Legend whom I made feel bad for trying to share his art for the world during this difficult time.
“John,” I called out. “I’m sorry. I think you’re great, are you going to be okay?” I asked.
“Yeah, I hope so,” he said as he left his piano to rejoined Chrissy Tiegen and his children in the east wing’s home theater.
“So, what about my severance?” sniffled Janice.
“What, oh, you’re not fired,” I said and explained that the meeting was just a ruse to lure John Legend on cam.
“But why did you have to make me think I was getting fired? I have a heart condition, you know!” Janice said, angrily. I thought about it for a moment and didn’t have a great answer, but luckily Dave Matthews crashed the video conference causing Janice to flee.
“Why, hello again!” Dave Matthews greeted before going into a 35-minute version of Don’t Drink The Water.