When Shaun Majumder answers the phone in the backyard at his LA home he’s in the middle of something very important: putting together a trampoline for his two-year-old daughter Mattis. Somewhere in the house his second child, four-month-old Eslyn, sleeps soundly–maybe waiting for her dad to wake her up and make her laugh, which is something he’s proven good at over the years.
Majumder’s current state of domestic bliss will provide the bulk of the material for his upcoming comedy jaunt, The Love Tour, which includes a stop in New Westminster on May 13. Things are definitely going to be a little different from the last time he was on the road, making the rounds with The Hate Tour.
“The Hate Tour really came around when the world was experiencing something, I wouldn’t say ‘unique’, because there’d been ebbs and flows,” he says. “But with social media and with the amount of vitriol that was going on, I mean 2015 to 2019, obviously 2020. It was talking about mostly news-driven stuff, topical material, stuff that was happening on Twitter and Facebook, people getting caught on video saying horrible things.
“So that tour was really focused on a lot of those outward things that people were experiencing,” he adds, “and this has gone inward now. I’m talking about things that are happening to me personally on a deeper level, and it All is kind of focused on using parenting as kind of the theme that talks about love–all the good, the bad, and especially of being an old dad, starting late. I’m hoping to build out using similar things the way I did The Hate Tour, with some pictures, videos, and making it a little more of a one-man show as opposed to just a straight standup show.”
As well as developing a career as a touring standup comic, Majumder has made a name for himself through a wide variety of film and TV work, including 14 years on the iconic CBC show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. He believes that part of what kickstarted his fruitful career in comedy was simply growing up in the small Newfoundland town of Burlington.
“In places like Newfoundland where I grew up, everybody’s got a story to tell,” he says, “and everybody has some kind of sparkly sense of humour–it’s just the way of the place. You’ve gotta have a sense of humour based on the weather and, you know, based on a lot of the economic situations. in a way where you put together thoughts in a different way.
“So you catch the wave and you ride the wave and you be that,” he continues. “As a person, growing up, I always had a sense of humour, and I found that making people laugh helped me along the way, in many circumstances–whether it was when I was being bullied in school, or if I was with a girl. Humor was a pretty good bit of currency, you know, to get you through.”
“But more than that, for me, it wasn’t just comedy, it was also just being free in being creative. And acting was something that I loved to do from a very early age. Little did I know that there was a career in it, but there is. And then when you start seeing, ‘Oh, wait a minute, you can make money and be exactly who you’re meant to be,’ that’s kind of a special thing. , but it is definitely driven by passion and that’s kind of what matters the most to me.”
Early on Majumder–who currently portrays Father Khatri on the Halifax-shot EPIX TV horror-drama From–was inspired by the comedy stylings of Canadian acts like CODCO, Wonderful Grand Band, and SCTV. He recalls how when he was young he and a cousin would pretend they were SCTV’s Bob and Doug McKenzie and tape their own “Great White North” sketches on a little cassette recorder. Eventually Majumder would create his own memorable characters, one of those being Raj Binder, the awkward and sweat-soaked reporter with the heavy Indian accent, who came out of an experience Majumder once had at a tennis tournament.
“It was back when cigarettes sponsored tennis tournaments,” he recalls with a chuckle. “It was the DuMaurier Open–I’ll never forget it. I mean, what the fuck! Tennis athletes. Great. So I went to this tennis tournament, and it was one of those muggy Toronto days, like 40-degrees Celsius , and I was just sitting at the stands and my friend Chris and I were just riffin’ on the fact that it’s so hot. I started telling him, ‘Dude, what must this be like for sportscasters in places like India?’
“I just started riffing and being an Indian guy doing this thing, and then that evolved into when I was doing sketch comedy with a group called The Bobroom. I started doing it as a voiceover in the back, like a radio broadcast, and then somebody went, ‘Dude, we gotta see that guy! I want to see what he looks like.’ And then I just kinda came up with Raj, the character. He was born and then he was on 22 Minutes and he was on Cedric the Entertainer Presents. Ya know, he was ringing in the New Year, he was at the Olympics, sneakin’ into hockey photos. Raj has just been everywhere.”
Looking back on his career in entertainment, Majumder cites his time on This Hour Has 22 Minutes as being particularly fulfilling. “I cut my teeth in so many ways on that show,” he says. But he also has fond memories of his early role as Slime Master Shaun on the wacky YTV game show Oh Oh!
“I would say they’re equally valuable,” he points out. “It’s funny, man, you do different gigs, especially when you’re starting out, and then what makes me laugh is what people recognize me for, ya know. ‘Cause as a Canadian celebrity I’ve done everything–I’ ve hosted stuff, I’ve done comedy, I’ve done drama, I’ve done all these random things, and people will spot me and be like, ‘Hey, I think I went to school with your sister.’ Or they go, ‘Wait, I know you. Are you that guy Jian Ghomeshi?’
“And then when they figure out it was Oh Oh! or Brainwash or these old-school YTV things, then they freak out. So I’m not famous enough to be, like, ‘famous’. I’m just kinda well-known. Sorta. And I’m very proud of that.”
Shaun Majumder performs on The Love Tour at New Westminster’s Massey Theater on May 13.