‘Goodnight Zoom’ Is a Children’s Book the Indignities of COVID-19

James Corden ended last night’s The Late Late Show with a reading of “Goodnight Zoom,” a spoof of a children’s classic created for the COVID-19 era.

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The tale is chock full of topical references — Joe Exotic makes an appearance — and lamentations about the COVID-19 world. It’s one in which video calling on questionable software is suddenly the primary way to conduct business and stay in touch with family and friends, with strict stay at home mandates altering the daily routines of the vast majority of Americans.

Corden touches on the wide variety of uses for Zoom — 2 p.m. beers, workouts, cast reunions — before running through a laundry list of the irksome banalities that will be familiar to anyone burned out by constant videoconferencing.

  • Looking at the wrong place
  • Extreme close-up of face
  • Boss in a full sweatsuit
  • “Hold on, I think you’re on mute”
  • Faces poorly lit
  • “Wait, what day is it?”
  • Interrupting ding
  • Talking to a guy offscreen

But it’s not just the professional indignities of quarantine that Corden focuses on; the father of three also focuses his attention to the difficulties of parenting under quarantine.

“And tired parents screaming ‘I’ve had it with these dumb math questions,'” he says about halfway through, returning to the topic at the end of the reading: “Goodnight to tired parents screaming ‘Seriously, I’ve had it. Math time is over. I’m done. Daddy needs a drink.'”

Having to suddenly become their kids’ primary educator is something parents did not expect and Corden speaks to the frustration parents are feeling. It is enough to make you want to have a drink, stay up late, and comiserate with a fellow soccer dad.

Parenting during a pandemic is hard.
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