SHAUN MAJUMDER SHAUN MAJUMDER SHAUN MAJUMDER
appearing in the RAISING THE ROOF COMEDY CABARET Saturday (February 10), 9 pm, at the Rivoli (332 Queen West), $15; and Sunday (February 11), 7:30 pm, at the Second City gala (56 Blue Jays), $125. 416-481-1838, 416-343-0011; also headlining at yuk yuk's superclub (2335 Yonge), February 14-15, $10-$15. 416-967-6425. shaun majumder remembers the audition well. The L.A. casting director wanted him to be, well, more East Indian."What do you mean?" asked Majumder.
"Kind of like Apu from The Simpsons," said the director.
"Sure. Where's the door? I'm leaving. This sucks."
Majumder, a good Canadian boy who grew up in Newfoundland in a tin trailer, then moved to Mississauga as a teen, didn't say that last line, but he felt it.
"I've never played the ethnic card," he says now, crouching between the sofa and a coffee table in the Second City lobby. He's in from L.A. to perform Sunday in the closing-night gala of the Raising The Roof Comedy Cabaret.
The evening before, the fest's Shaun Majumder And Friends night takes over the Rivoli, then the fine young comic headlines Yuk Yuk's from Wednesday (February 14).
"Still, I'm auditioning soon for something called The Guru Of Sex," he says. "The role is Ramu Gupta, who's described as an East Indian Brad Pitt. Maybe that'd be cool."
Onstage, Majumder -- who's part Indian and part Irish/English -- is an original. His broad Newfoundland accent is endearing, his comedy all-inclusive, his boyish enthusiasm for all weird things infectious.
But he's got a wicked streak, too. After all, he's written for This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and underlying many of his best routines is some sharp social criticism.
You want edge? Ask him about Hollywood and he doesn't hold back.
"It's a town ruled by fear and greed," says Majumder, who says he was amazed at the $60,000 holding deal from CBS he snagged after a six-minute Just For Laughs set a few years ago.
"There are so many conditions on human interaction down there."
That would apply to the Ellen DeGeneres affair, which went down eight months ago.
"We had a professional relationship, which was cool. I was writing with her for a while, and her company hired me to be in the pilot for a new sketch show. Three days in, I was let go.
"At first I took it personally, wondering if I wasn't talented. But then I realized that the pilot was in trouble and they had to figure things out and make changes. People tell me you haven't lived in L.A. until you've been fired.
"Even Tim Conway, who was involved with the show, told me it was stupid that I was fired but that I should suck it up, because he's been fired more times than he could count. Tim Conway!"
Now Majumder's back on track. He's got a lead role in an upcoming independent feature called Purpose, about three computer entrepreneurs who are tempted to sell out.
The supporting cast features Paul Reiser, Mia Farrow, Hal Holbrook and Peter Coyote.
"The role reflects my life a bit," he says. "Here's this guy who's doing what he's doing for the right reasons."
Continuing in stand-up works a certain creative part of his brain, he says. He enjoys the instant feedback. Plus, he's only now beginning to understand the power that comes from being behind the mike. His recent material on plastic surgery in image-conscious L.A. is hilarious.
"I'm developing more opinions as I get older," he says. "Stand-up is a great way to share them with people."
Although it's difficult to meet people in L.A., especially women, he's happy to be down there.
Sure, he misses T.O.'s electronic music scene, and misses doing sketch work with the troupe the Bobroom. But he's enjoying the ocean, and checks out the desert occasionally.
Plus, there's the work.
"The potential down there is ridiculous. The opportunities for me to tell my stories far outweigh the opportunities for me here. Hey, I auditioned for Dude, Where's My Car? I didn't get it, thank god. But I was still there."
And, no, they didn't ask him to sound more like Apu from The Simpsons.
roof-raisersThursday, February 8
RODNEY PENTLAND At the recent ALT.COMedy Lounge anniversary show, Pentland killed with his series of bizarre impressions, including The Wizard Of Oz as directed by Scorsese and his now legendary spin on De Niro, complete with mole.Friday, February 9
SEAN CULLEN He's about two seconds away from being a household name. Catch the cerebral and silly Cullen, along with his alter egos Father Sean and Dame Sybille, Queen of the Stage, in a rare all-night romp. Saturday, February 10
jo-anna downey With her frosted 60s shades, she's looking quite retro, but Downey's act is all contemporary sass and attitude. She's fearless and frank. Janeane Garofalo, look out. Sunday February 11
martha chaves The Nicaragua-born host of Yuk Yuk's monthly Broad Appeal night of women's comedy has roles in new movies with Chris Rock and Denzel Washington. Count on Chaves to do some major scene-stealing, both in those films in in the fest's closing gala. GScomedy profile
Homelessness is no laughing matter, but that hasn't stopped comics from raising money for the cause in the Raising The Roof Comedy Cabaret, on until Sunday (February 11). Here are some names to check out. For more info, see comedy listings, page 56. Homelessness is no laughing matter, but that hasn't stopped comics from raising money for the cause in the Raising The Roof Comedy Cabaret, on until Sunday (February 11). Here are some names to check out. For more info, see comedy listings, page 56.