Awkward E3 press conferences have been a staple of the expo for about as long as it's been running. Of course wild mishaps like hot mic situations and behind the scenes blunders aren't restricted to games, but the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo certainly hosts more than its fair share of mishaps. Maybe it's all the actors, celebrities, and presenters who aren't familiar with the games they're presenting, or the developers who've probably never stood on a stage in before, or just the sheer awkwardness of presenting video games to excitable and critical crowds of hardcore gamers and industry professionals.
Whatever the reasons for painful E3 moments, the schadenfreude of seeing someone bomb onstage is immeasurable.
When comedian and actor Jamie Kennedy took the stage on behalf of Activision at E3 2007, he immediately made it clear that he was not on top of his game. He was swaying, he was slurring a bit, and his first real attempt at a joke was, "I see some virgins in the audience."
The remainder of the presentation found him playing against Activision executives who had no idea how to handle the situation, especially when Kennedy doubled down on insulting the crowd. It only worsened from there, to the point that a developer onstage openly mocked the Malibu's Most Wanted star.
Aisha Tyler hosted Ubisoft's conference from 2012-2016, and for the most part did a great job. Unfortunately in 2015, Ubisoft was obsessed with making a meme, and Tyler was caught in the crossfire. After a trailer she appeared in the audience next to a cosplaying fan for an uncomfortable speech about how meme-friendly Ubisoft was, the monosyllabic cosplayer's hotness, and how she might catch rickets from him. Then she asked him to make a meme on the spot, which entailed a bit of fumbling before rocketing out of her chair with a pained groan that every viewer felt in their bones.
Aaron Priceman's alter ego, Mr. Caffeine, served as the energetic host of Ubisoft's 2011 E3 conference, and boy did he live up to his name. He spoke 500 words a minute and was so hyped for all of Ubisoft's titles that the crowd didn't have to be.
The poor guy couldn't land a joke with the E3 audience. To be fair, his brand of comedy was mainly making "a few d*ck jokes" about various game controllers and waving his fingers while making his own transitional sound effects, maybe in order to compensate for the sound of crickets coming from the crowd after every joke.
YouTube creator Jesse Wellens couldn't catch a break during EA's 2017 press conference. He appeared on camera two presentations early, and the teleprompter he was relying on had the wrong presentation queued up. This left him sputtering as he tried to come up with anything to say about Need for Speed: Payback. Eventually he called the game's producer to bail him out, only to refer to him by the wrong name. Though the rest of the presentation went much more smoothly, that calamitous first minute earned Wellens a place in awkward E3 history.