Speed Reads

By Grabthar's hammer...

Congressional hearing derailed for over 20 minutes as audio from Galaxy Quest plays

Even after over a year of the pandemic, congressional Zoom snafus haven't gone anywhere.

The House Appropriations Committee held a virtual meeting on Monday on energy and water development, but for over 20 minutes, it wasn't easy to make out what anyone had to say on the subject. For a while, audio from at least two different movies, including the 1999 comedy Galaxy Quest, could be heard loudly playing.

What sounded like the 1996 comedy Down Periscope also played before that, meaning a lawmaker attempting to give their opening remarks hilariously did so over the sound of the film's credits song, "In the Navy." The audio from these movies could be heard from literally the moment the hearing began — including while it was explained that participants would be muted when not speaking to eliminate "inadvertent background noise" — and at times it was louder than the actual members.

Somehow, the movies continued to stream at full blast for over 20 minutes before a recess was finally taken and the audio fixed. House Appropriations Committee communications director Evan Hollander chalked the incident up to an "issue with the House Recording Studio feed" but said the "hearing itself was free of any disruption."

Either way, with virtual Zoom meetings potentially set to soon become a less regular occurrence, for now, we can savor this moment: perhaps the first and last congressional hearing ever to feature audio from both Galaxy Quest and the Kelsey Grammer movie Down Periscope. Put that in the pandemic history books. Brendan Morrow