Arts + Culture » Theatre

Funny boy

Newfoundland comic and 22 Minutes star Shaun Majumder just wants to make you laugh. And Megan Wennberg does.

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Shaun Majumder’s a funny guy. Which is lucky, because his singing career won’t be taking off anytime soon. After missing his first few interview calls, Majumder answers his cell phone singing “I’m a loser, I’m a big fat loser.” The sentiment is endearing, the tunefulness debatable. But with a full slate of acting, stand-up and hosting the Just for Laughs comedy tour ahead of him, Majumder wouldn’t have time to sing even if he could.

Flying into Halifax from Los Angeles today, Majumder will be in town until Monday to host the Just for Laughs Comedy Tour 2005 at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on October 22 and 23. The tour, packed with stand-up comedians from Canada, the US and Australia, will hit 20 cities across Canada.

Aside from his clean-cut love of work, audience and laughter, Majumder seems to be most looking forward to the tour bus. “It’s set up perfectly to have hookers and cocaine,” he says. “But we’re not rock and roll stars, so we’re not going to know what to do with them.” Fortunately for the hookers, Majumder is a quick learner, having only gotten into comedy in his 20s when he “moved to Canada.” From Burlington, Newfoundland.

When he’s not touring the country with other funny people and a “party cubicle” full of sex workers and illegal drugs, Majumder can be seen on numerous television series, including CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Fox’s Cedric the Entertainer Presents and the upcoming Hatching, Matching and Dispatching. Majumder’s CV also includes film and television credits for Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, The Ladies Man, Pushing Tin, On the Edge with Shaun Majumder, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn and The Bob Room.

Currently residing in LA, Majumder loves working on both sides of the border, but believes his career is best served by living south of it.

“The amount of work that’s here and the level of financial backing is ridiculous,” he says. “There’s so much, there’s so many opportunities here, it far outweighs the amount of opportunities that are in Canada. Now what’s great about it is I’ve moved down here, to start chipping away at this ice block, but Canada’s always going to be there, and I’m always going to go home to work.” Opportunities aside, LA also has nicer weather, but he refrains from boasting about it “because I don’t want to make you punch yourself.”

Beyond cracking jokes, Majumder’s true passion is for acting, and he’s keen to try everything. “Anything dealing with human relationships,” he says. “I love it all. There’s so much to explore. Life is so—yeah there’s some jokes, there’s some comedy, there’s some ha ha—but a lot of stuff that’s really, deeply funny can be dramatic all in the same breath.” He cites the hit British series The Office: “It’s the funniest shit you’ll ever see, but at the same time you’re moved emotionally, you’re invested. That’s brilliant. That’d be my goal to do things like that.”

Majumder was offered an audition on the American version of The Office, but had to turn it down because he’ll be on tour. For the next six months he’ll be sticking to what he knows: the Just for Laughs tour, 22 Minutes and pilot season in LA.

“I think the purpose is just to straight up make people laugh,” he says. “I think the act of laughing—that gut-shaking, face-cringing, abnormal- breathing, snot flying out of your nose, tears pouring out of your eyes, loss of all control—that act that releases seratonin or dopamine or whatever, is such a cool thing that only human beings can do, and there’s only a positive result. It’s healthy for your body and your brain.

“That’s the big picture benefit, and then within that there’s these sub-micro reasons as well. You want to make people laugh at the darkest shit in the world, like genocide and murder and political corruption, to make people go ‘Oh my god, I’m laughing hysterically but that’s so true, that pisses me off, I want to do something about it.’ It ignites fires under people’s asses sometimes.”

Just for Laughs, October 22 and 23 at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, 6101 University, 7pm, $39.50.

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