NL COMEDIAN TALKS HOME, INTERNET TROLLS AND HIS UPCOMING TOUR
Though Shaun Majumder finds himself living miles away from Newfoundland in the big city of LA, he never has much of a chance to miss home.
“I’m there so much. I spend so much time home. I’ve had a good dose over the last few years,” said the actor over the phone from his home in LA. “This is my view right now. I’m literally staring at a dish cloth with three mummers on it. Mummers is something close to home for me. Now that being said, if a group of mummers were following me around LA, that would be another story.”
The award-winning comedian will be returning home once again in April for a stop on his HATE tour While in Newfoundland he will be joined by St. John’s comedian, Matt Wright.
“He’s the most hateful of all humans” joked Majumder about his good friend. “There is hate spewing from him. Don’t let him fool you. He is bright-eyed and bushy tailed, but he’s a cobra in sheep’s clothing.”
The name of the tour, HATE, was born from a series of incidents that Majumder recognized throughout his career and lifetime- a theme that that comes in larger quantities the more well-known you are.
“The tour anchors around a theme. It’s a pretty important one. The troll armies are out on a whole other level. The amount of vitriol hate that people can spew out- the cap has been blown off the hatred jar with what I have experienced in the last few years,” he said of the tour. “There are some specific angles I take. I interview myself on how and why I left 22 Minutes. I get into all the dirty stuff.”
Majumder was a cast member on the Canadian sketch comedy This Hour Has 22 Minutes since 2003, but was not hired back to the series in August 2018 due to creative differences. The comic said he dives into more detail about the experience during his HATE show.
While working with 22 Minutes, Majumder says he enjoyed doing the news with Mark Critch and that they “cracked up a lot off camera.” He remembers “Bragg and Sons Variety” short standing out for him. A skit in which two Newfoundlanders own a confectionary store with one of them only speaking in inhales. And of course, who could forget the comedian’s famous character, ‘sports journalist’, Raj Binder.
The 22 Minutes skit that catapulted the idea behind Majumder’s tour was the controversial short titled “Beige Power” which created some hateful response.
“During the Trump campaign in 2015, people were calling him a white supremacist. We were looking for ways to talk to that idea,” recalled Majumder. “We didn’t expect to find out this was a real thing. People actually think immigration will ruin their race but if you go to ancestry.com you’ll find out we all come from the same place.”
“Beige Power” critics claimed Majumder expressed hate and racism towards white people, to which he laughed and sarcastically responded, “It’s true, I wake up next to my own family everyday and hate them.”
The Newfoundlander found it backwards and hilarious that he was accused of such specific hate given his own background, experience and family members.
“I’m from Newfoundland. I’m whiter than most of these supremacists. I didn’t even know I was brown growing up. People were saying it was white genocide. Some tweets were savage. David Duke from KKK tweeted,” said Majumder of the reaction to “Beige Power. “ skit. “My show (Hate tour) points a finger at the society we are living in right now but it’s not all doom and gloom.”
Though Majumder is no stranger of the stage, the HATE tour takes on a different feel and presentation than his previous stand up shows. He explores the tweets that lashed out in hatred after the short was released, while also unraveling other social media backlashes. He also looks at his responses to negative commentary when he saw fit and discussion about such behaviours.
“It didn’t hurt. I was never offended looking at them, more like ‘are you kidding me, holy sh— b’ys look at this. You can’t take it seriously. They give a reason to fear. They are hellbent on their way of thinking and they aren’t the majority of people,” he said of internet trolls.
The tour covers a lot of dark material with a comedic angle and Majumder warns that it’s not for the light of heart, nor is it censored.
“You gotta have both. It’s tough stuff to talk about and comedy for me now is to take things we experience, and put my own lens on it for a different perspective. There is some coarse language and brief nudity,” he joked. “This is not CBC Majumder. It’s not a G show.”
It’s important to highlight the negative aspects of life and the hate that people express, said Majumder. Though the experience is not comfortable, it has to be dealt with, sometimes with humour and other times with discussion.
“We have to put a light on it. Don’t be offended but embrace it and say this isn’t acceptable,” he stated. “This has to change. Maybe we all have a little bit of hate but there are words we shouldn’t use and we have to shift perspective.”
All photos submitted by Shaun Majumder