"I'm deeply, deeply patriotic to Canada. I'm so Canadian and there's not an ounce of me that will ever discard that – but in the industry and from a business point of view, the opportunities are here. I can't grow up there. I grew to a point. But in Canada, you're going to only reach a certain point and then you're going to do the same things over and over again in different forms. And I don't want that. There's just not an infrastructure. The money's not up there. And I'm not talking about money in terms of wealth, I'm talking about to get things done."
– Shaun Majumder
Guy MacPherson: You're in L.A. What are you doing there?
Shaun Majumder: Kickin' it.
SM: I'm down here. I just drove across the country, the great nation of Canada, all the way to Vancouver and then – this is me and my dad, by the way, in a Volkswagon Golf with a brand new clutch. So we get to Vancouver then drive down through Washington, Oregon, California to L.A. This is, like, all last week. Well, two days after the tragedy. We hopped in our car. It was a Thursday.
GM: Why didn't you fly?
SM: (laughs) Feeling a little tense about it... No, I had to have my car down here because I moved here, right?
GM: Oh, you're moving there?
SM: I'm here now.
GM: With your dad or is he going back?
SM: No, he's going back. He came with me to help me drive. And just to come on a road trip. He's retired, why not? You know what I mean?
GM: Well, that's nice.
SM: Oh, it was awesome. It was so great. Have you ever been to Morain Lake?
SM: Go. If you're in the Banff, Lake Louise area--
GM: Oh, I thought it was in L.A.
SM: No. If you're in the Banff, Lake Louise area, go to Morain Lake.
GM: Is that where there's turquoise water?
SM: Yeah! And so is Lake Louise, but Morain Lake is the image on the twenty dollar bill – the old twenty dollar bill. Unbelievable.
GM: You could do a travelogue of this great nation.
SM: I did, I did. On video, it's all there. So we're going to take it back to -- I have a friend in Toronto who has a sweet little edit machine chummy. I call it a sweet edit chummy. Whenever. I don't have time for that right now at all. But I do have it all logged.
GM: Why did you move there?
GM: What are you doing? Anything specifically?
SM: Infinite opportunity in the entertainment world.
GM: It is the Land of Opportunity. I've heard that.
SM: Just in terms of... within entertainment. Hollywood is... is crazy. Busy. Well, not busy right now. It's dead right now.
GM: Your timing was impeccable.
SM: Man... The whole planet is off-kilter, so honestly, in terms of my career and acting and, wooo!, standup comedy! Truthfully, these are the last sort of things on my brain right now. But being down here, I have a Green Card now. Over the past two or three years I've been making, like, little re-con missions down here and coming down and getting a feel for what the city's all about.
GM: What part of L.A. are you in?
SM: I'm in Hollywood in a place called Hancock Park.
GM: Oh, it's lovely. Hollywood is lovely.
SM: Do you know Hancock Park?
GM: No. But I know Hollywood.
SM: Hollywood can be a little crappy. But Hancock Park is... like, I've landed a great apartment in an amazing area. I'm super happy with the space and everything, you know?
SM: So it's just sick the amount of opportunity that's going to be down here. Before I didn't have any kind of working status. I had some visas, some work visas and things like that, but now I have a Green Card.
GM: How did you get that?
SM: Over a two-year period, I guess. I had to prove to the immigration and naturalization services that I was an Alien of Extraordinary Ability. And I've done that.
GM: How did you do that?... I'm not questioning, I'm just asking.
SM: Well, there's a lawyer who had some insight. And there's a whole process which you go about doing that and gathering all this material from all the things that you've done in Canada, and awards and things like that. Then letters of recommendation and press and all of these things you accumulate. And then they put it in a huge package and send it off to the INS, and they say yay or nay.
GM: What is that? International...?
GM: Naturalization Services.
SM: You got it.
GM: I got it. I know there are a lot of entertainers and comedians who go down there and can't get that. Right?
SM: I guess so. I guess so.
GM: So you really do have--
SM: I am an Alien of Extraordinary Ability. When the guy said that to me as he was stamping my passport, oh dear, I just started laughing. And this past weekend I had to fly back to Ottawa to do a Yuk Yuk's 25th Anniversary show, and when I was coming back into the country, I knew I was going to get... Before, the last two or three years, any time I come into the country coming this way, I'm a little nervous. Like, what are they going to ask me? Don't say you're an actor; don't say you're a comedian. Because they won't let you in. There are all these things and these myths about what you have to deal with at the border if you don't have your Green Card and stuff.
GM: So you lied to them?
SM: Well, I would say, sometimes, that I'm a writer. Because I wasn't doing anything down here that was illegal. But it's just a matter of getting across the border. Like, you're allowed to come and visit. But if you start saying you're an actor, they'll be, like, "Well, are you looking for work?" "No." "That's a lie. You are. I know you are." Because so many people abuse the system. So I've always come down here on recon missions. You know, just come down. I didn't really do any work, but I could audition for things. I could go out for things and meet with people. But you're not allowed to work and get paid. Anyway, at the border all that time I always skewed the truth a little bit and say I'm just visiting down here, I'm gonna go see some friends, come back and all this stuff. So now that I have a Green Card, they're like, "So, what's your status?" And I said, "Oh, I have a Green Card." "What did you petition under?" I said, "Alien of Extraordinary Ability." Thinking that these were just legal terms that they were going to know. And they're like, "Oh, yeah? What's your extraordinary ability?"
GM: "Wise guy."
SM: And I was like, "Um, well, I do standup comedy and stuff like that." This was the first guy, and he was like, "Oh yeah? Say something funny." And I was so hung over. And I was like, "No, I'm not going to say anything funny. I don't have anything funny to say right now."
GM: "I'm a professional. You gotta pay me."
SM: Yeah, dude! And then I went to the next guy. They go, "Okay, cool, go over to that next guy there." Same thing: "Really? Say something funny." And the third woman, I just said, "You know what? You don't go around, like, everywhere you go, to parties and go, 'Hey, could you open up that bag, ma'am? How long do you plan on staying at this party?' You don't ask questions. Just leave me alone." But I got a feeling that every... Like, I gotta come up with some jokes now.
GM: Do a bit. Do five minutes for them.
SM: Yeah. Or I'll come up with really inappropriate jokes and not be funny.
GM: Do your blue material.
SM: Yeah! I'll be like, "So, a Chink and a Paki and a Spick all go into a dyke bar and go up to the faggot bartender." Every race I can possibly think of.
GM: Just say to them, "Where you folks from?" That would work.
SM: And they'd say, "Uh, that's not funny." "But this is how I do my job, miss. Where you from? Is this your beautiful husband next to you?" And nobody's there; just a dog.
GM: Shaun. I got this huge long fax with information on you. There's even a résumé.
GM: Like I was going to give you a job or something.
SM: Oh, if you... there's one reference on there that you can't call anymore because he's burned in a horrible accident. Jim.
GM: Okay, I'll cross him off. But I have some questions. I was shocked at a few things.
GM: One is the photo. You're so serious.
SM: Which one is it?
GM: So sexy. You're not smiling, you're just sort of glowering at the camera. Just staring it down.
SM: I'm pretty intense.
GM: Yeah. That's the image you want to give as a comedian.
SM: I want to give people the image that I've written a big, huge novel about death, then they see me on stage and it feels better, they laugh harder. They're like, "That's not who I was expecting!" And then, boom, he's not so dour and glowering. No, I know, that's an old picture. I gotta get new pictures in general. But there are other ones out there.
GM: That was just one of the things that shocked me. Here's another one.
GM: I've seen your act. Even live.
GM: Yeah. And you play up that you're a Newfie. You moved to Mississauga when you were 14.
GM: You're a phoney.
SM: That's not phoney! Growing up in Newfoundland when you're a kid? How's that a phony?
GM: I don't know. But 14's pretty young. You moved away from it.
SM: Yeah, but I bought land there now.
GM: Or really? It doesn't say that.
SM: It's not like I left and then turned my back on it. I've been home every year for the last, like, 12-15 years.
GM: Home meaning Newfoundland.
SM: Yeah. Like, I have loads of relatives there. And now I've bought land there and plan on building a house there.
GM: Okay. I feel a little better now.
SM: End of shock on that one, I hope.
GM: The other one is that you're an actor, not just a funny guy on stage. Pushing Tin. I didn't see it...
SM: You won't see me in it, either.
SM: Because I'm hardly in it. You gotta look real close.
GM: Oh, okay. My roommate hated that movie.
SM: Yeah, it wasn't so great.
GM: But I didn't see it. Once a Thief. John Woo.
SM: You got it. Now, you'll see me in that episode. I'm a prince that steals a bus to save the day, my friend.
SM: Yeah, it's pretty intense.
GM: This is TV?
SM: It was a TV show, yeah.
GM: Is it still on?
SM: It comes on every now and then, yeah. On Showtime or Showcase or whatever.
GM: Ladies Man.
SM: You got it. Did the Ladies Man.
GM: You did the Ladies Man???
SM: Yup, did the Ladies Man right in his anus. No, I did the... have you seen it?
SM: No, you haven't seen it. Anway, there's a pack of people who want to hunt him down and kill him because the Ladies Man has slept with all of our wives. And I'm one of that group. One of the motley crew led by Will Ferrell.
SM: Yeah, it was awesome. Plus a new movie coming out called Purpo$e.
GM: Yes, that was next on my list.
SM: Oh, it was? It's there?
SM: Because I don't think a lot of people know about it. Some people do. It's on some things. But that was a substantial role, actually. The rest of them have been just learning experiences.
GM: What's Purpo$e's story?
SM: Purpo$e is a story – and you can find more information on IMDB – about a young entrepreneur who wants to start up his own internet company. And I play one of the programmers, one of his right-hand people. Me and my quote-unquote boyfriend. I play a gay computer programmer. It was great.
GM: Any love scenes?
SM: No love scenes. There was no hanky-panky. There was no physical groping.
GM: Did you get to work with Mia Farrow?
SM: No, I got to work with Paul Reiser.
GM: Paul Reiser! Wow!
SM: Yeah. He was pretty cool, I guess. I didn't really get a chance to talk to him much, but I got watch him work. But the most impacting man on that set was Hal Holbrook, who I got to meet at the table read. And he impressed me deeply just from that one little hand shake and hi. He was cool, man. The man's incredible. So, yes, my passion has always been acting first. I did theatre and whatnot before I ever did standup. And from theatre I went to improvisation.
GM: Yeah, Second City.
SM: And then standup came later. So standup has been great for me. And I love doing it and things that I've been recognized most for in Canada have been standup. But I look forward to pursuing acting. And directing and writing. I want to do all of it. Everything there is to do.
GM: Well, you are a man of extraordinary ability.
SM: Lasers out of my left ear. I'm going to improve people's eyesight. And remove tattoos everywhere I go.
GM: Another shocking bit of information: All the training that you have had. You're not just this guy getting up on stage. You, my friend – and I call you my friend even though I don't know you –
SM: Yeah. I called you my friend.
GM: You did this workshop with Avery Schreiber.
SM: Awww, yeah!
GM: Burns and Schreiber. I remember that comedy group. How was that?
SM: Oh, incredible!
GM: Is he still alive?
SM: I don't know. That was amazing. That was when I was with Second City. Yeah, he came in and had us workshop so many things. It was really cool. Because he comes from that whole old Chicago school. That was amazing. I wish we had more time with him. I wish he was a director or something. Colin Mochrie is somebody else I've had great... he was a director for a while. Probably the most influential of all those people was Tim Simms, though. Do you know Tim Simms?
SM: Do you remember the old Reese's Peanut Butter commercials where there was Rory Pate(?), Circle Researcher? He would investigate the peanut butter cups. And he was a little nerdy looking scientist guy. Does that name ring a bell? There was always a reporter following him around, Dave Huband.
GM: Don't know.
SM: Anyway, he was a director and he hired me first at Second City. And he was brilliant. Tim Simms.
GM: Kinda like Professor Irwin Cory?
SM: Who's he?
GM: An old-school comedian. He played a scientist and he did the How did they get the caramel into the Caramilk bar?
SM: Oohh! That's a very popular campaign.
GM: Yes, it was. Another thing from your bio. Your comedy, quote – I'm quoting now –
SM: Oh, no.
GM: "...rollicks from hilarious to dark to ultra hip." End of quote.
SM: Okay, let's go through those.
GM: To dark.
GM: To ultra-hip.
SM: Okay, let me see... Hilarious... let me see... That would be my bit about blind people, I think. I do a bit about blind people, I don't know if you've ever seen it.
GM: I've seen it; they haven't.
SM: The beep-boop.
GM: Oh, yes, I have seen that! On Bullard.
SM: Yeah. Ha-larious.
SM: Dark... Uh, I do a bit about parents of a crack baby.
GM: No, you don't.
SM: Sure, I do! Yeah.
GM: And ultra-hip.
SM: Ultra-hip... I'd have to say my bit about Buffy Saint Marie is ultra-hip. Did you hear the one about Carol Baker, Tommy Hunter, and Buffy Saint Marie going to the Junos? And Relic comes in and goes, "Hey, where's the King of Kensington?" And then The Littlest Hobo starts humping--
GM: The kids must love that.
SM: Oh, the kids dig it. It's ultra hip.
GM: What do you think the percentage, the breakdown, is in your act?
SM: I think if you were to draw a circle graph, in each circle there would be a lot of overlaps. Macro-economically speaking, I think there'd be a lot of overlap, definitely. I think hilarious, I'd like to put up there somewhere in the high, maybe 75 to 92 percentile.
GM: Okay, I'm writing this down.
SM: I think dark, there are splashes, each coming in splashes of about seven percent of darkness. And ultra-hip... But bridging the gap between ultra-hip and universal--
GM: Ooh, they didn't mention universal.
SM: They didn't mention universal, but I'm working towards the universal. I think there would be somewhere between 20 to 23 percent. Give or take a couple of references to pop culture.
SM: Like, for example, this is me being ultra-hip: "Hey, what am I? Alicia Keyes?"
GM: That's so ultra-hip, I don't get it.
SM: Exactly. And this would be one where I'm not being so ultra-hip.
GM: Being universal?
SM: Nope. This is just not ultra-hip: "Hey, what am I? Orange Juice Jones?" (pause) Do you know him?
SM: "Hey, what am I? Cameo?" Do you remember Cameo?
GM: No. Are these rappers?
SM: Uh, maybe I should change the colour of their skin. What about, "Hey, what am I? El Debarge?"
GM: Oh, okay! I'm with you now.
SM: I got it! "Hey, what am I? Helix?"
GM: I get it.
SM: Helix maybe? Trooper? You gotta know Trooper.
GM: That would be not ultra-hip. That would be a small percentage, wouldn't it?
SM: Not ultra-hip?
SM: Yeah, that's a very tiny percentage. That's even in the negatory.
GM: It also says you do "high-wire comedy." And I've never seen you actually do balancing acts.
SM: Lately I've put it away.
SM: I tried to do a thing on an amateur night in Whidby. I had the whole rigging up. And every show I'd do it – and I've been doing it about four years – I always get four people from the audience to come up with me. And I'm the first person on a unicycle out, and I go out and come back. Then I go out and I get two people to sit on seats that I have across a giant bar across my lap.
SM: And then these two people – one could be from Ajax, one could be from, oh, I don't know, somewhere in the 905 area code sitting on the other side – and they balance. And they have to sit there. Then I back out and come back and usually I get a hot girl to sit on my head. And I go back out. Now, the last time I did it, there was a big slo-pitch convention and there were no hot girls at all. There were a lot of fat guys. So I did it. I thought, well, the show must go on – which is a term that I've coined: "the show must go on." And "see outside the box" is another one that I came up with.
GM: I'm writing this down. See outside the box.
SM: See... outside... the... box. And I'll deal with what that means later. But let's stick with "the show must go on." Fat guys. Three of them. On the head. I go out and one of them starts laughing and his big belly is jiggling and jiggling, up and down, up and down. It threw the whole unicycle and the whole trapeze thing right off--
GM: Did you have netting?
SM: -- and off he goes. No netting. This is the Yuk Yuk's in Whidby. Down we go, splash on the tables. And one of the ball gloves takes one of the guy's right in the soft spot in his head. Now, I didn't even know he had it. He had some kind of weird hydrocephallus, and his head burst open and he died right there.
GM: Ooh, that's not funny.
SM: No, it wasn't funny. It was very uncomfortable for a lot of people. So we had to cancel, and I just said, "I'm not gonna do it anymore."
GM: Give it a rest.
SM: I'm gonna give it a rest. I might not even do it anymore.
GM: It's terrible, in that you have that talent and you're not using it.
SM: Yeah, but I'll maybe... I have an audition for Cirque du Soleil next week.
GM: Well, good luck.
SM: So I'll have to take some five CD Roms to learn French.
SM: Je ne sais quois.
GM: So it's really paying off, then, these CD Roms.
SM: Totally! I'm also learning about sun spots. You know sun spots? Sun spots on the sun?
SM: I'm learning about solar winds.
SM: Because it's on the CD Rom. It came with the Learn the French. But you have to go into a different menu and a different file to access it.
GM: I see.
SM: But I'm resourceful.
GM: It sure sounds like it.
SM: Which is another term I've coined. "I'm resourceful."
GM: Oh, the two words together. Because I've heard "resourceful"--
SM: You have?
GM: And I've heard "I'm" several times. But never "I'm resourceful."
SM: Yes, exactly. Exactement. Exactly what I'm talking about.
GM: So you're using your imagination in coining all these terms, like "see outside the...?"
GM: Box. Yes. I see now why you got this development deal with CBS. So what's happening with that? And, this is a two-parter. Did this come after your spot on Craig Kilborne? Because that was a killer spot.
SM: Did you see it?
GM: Oh, yeah.
SM: That was fun. I learned a lot on that show. I learned a lot leading up to that show, not so much on the show. The CBS holding deal, which wasn't a development deal, happened, like, two years ago after I did Just For Laughs. And that was nothing. I mean, it was, but it wasn't. They gave me 60 thousand US dollars for me doing seven minutes of standup comedy because they thought I might be something that they'd want to think about. This opened up all the doors. The fact that I got a holding deal, and came down to L.A. and got my agent through that was great. But then that money was spent through investments and things like that. That was just like they were interested in me, so I auditioned for all kinds of stuff with them, but it didn't mean anything more than that. So that has ended long ago. But the Kilborne thing came after that, yes. Kilborne came, like, last October.
GM: So we shouldn't talk about CBS.
SM: Well, we could. It was a great experience. It was very cool. But again, you hear about these kinds of things all the time, people getting deals, and it sounds much bigger than it is.
GM: It still is something, though.
SM: Oh, it's great! I don't mean to denounce it. But I'm trying to pull it back because people always make it seem like, "Wow, you had a deal with CBS! Wasn't that great?" Yes, it was. I thought it was in that moment, too. But it didn't put me ahead of the game or make me... You know, I didn't "make it." Like, people were like, "Wow, you've made it." No! You know what? That's just a business transaction that takes place many times down here. All the time it happens. People go through like five, six deals before they get anything going sometimes, you know? All they are are money and investment. They have a vested interest in you. They don't want you auditioning for any of the other networks if they give you a deal. So that's how that works.
GM: You were on Ellen, right?
SM: I did, the, uh--
GM: The show, I'm talking about.
SM: The old one. No, not the old show. There was a show she did in between the show she does now. There was a show that she was trying to get to work last year. A sketch show with CBS. So basically, she met me in Toronto and we worked together for a while. I wrote with her for a bit. They hired me for her sketch show and then three days in I was fired.
SM: Um, many reasons, I would think. But none of them having anything to do directly with me. I had nothing to do on the show as it was. I had, like, one line. The show was in jeopardy; they were having so many troubles getting anything organized and straightened out. You know, I was in, like, one sketch. The show was around her. So after day three, when they didn't have a finalized script and there was confusion and anger and a lot of stuff going on on the set, they needed to make some changes. And I felt so brutal! I was like, this sucks!
GM: When they fired you?
SM: No, no, no. During that third day and leading up to it. I was confused. I'm like, "Is this how it always is?" And everything just didn't feel good. The whole process, by that time, was not feeling good. And something wasn't right. And then that night I got a call: "You know what? They're gonna let you go from the pilot." I was like, "Why? I don't get it." And I started taking it personally. It was hard for me to understand because I wasn't doing anything on the show. There wasn't anything where they could say, "Wow, he didn't say 'Dinner is served' good enough." You know? So it took me about an hour maybe to figure out and to really put it in perspective. My mom called me. She was like, "Shaun, don't even worry about it. I see in Us magazine that things like this happen all the time." So her reference to Us magazine really put it all in perspective.
GM: Hey, I just coined a phrase that seems to apply to showbiz life. Get this: emotional roller-coaster.
SM: (pause) So, as a roller-coaster goes up and down and through loop-de-loops--
GM: Yeah, sometimes upside down.
SM: And corkscrews, emotions--
GM: Go up and down.
SM: And through corkscrews. And also stop really quickly at the end with a g-g-g-g-g.
GM: Right. But that's much later down the road.
SM: Way down the road. But emotionally, I think your coined term... it works! Brilliantly!
GM: Because here you were, riding high, doing Ellen.
GM: And then three days later, you're fired.
GM: Then you're thinking, "Oh, this is it. My career's over."
SM: And here comes the up:
GM: Yup, exactly.
SM: I still got paid! Check it out, check it out. I'm gonna take you through an up and a down, okay? Ready?
SM: Okay, so up the roller coaster we go: I got paid, I'm gonna go to Thailand and travel in Thailand for a bit and hang out with my buddy Pete, then come back here to L.A. and start working on a movie immediately, after I got fired. Boom, I'm into Purpo$e. Got hired to be in this independent film. Beautiful. A good role, a big, chunky role in this film.
GM: They don't pay in independent films, though, do they?
SM: Well, here's the thing. It was a full-on SAG film. Mia Farrow, Paul Reiser. They pay.
GM: A full-on what film?
GM: Oh, SAG. I thought you said a 'fag' film.
SM: No. But have you ever been to that festival? The Full-On Fag Festival?
SM: It's awesome... So I'm doing this film, right? I'm like, "Wooo! I'm a star!" But I was waiting to get paid for the film. Because I was Canadian and didn't have my Green Card, didn't have my papers. So they couldn't pay me until I had my papers. So I went home for Christmas. This is in November when I shot the film. December I'm in Mississauga, Ontario, with my dad. In Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, without a car, and on a dial-up network, by the way. So things were kind of down tempo for me. I was broke-ass. Just finished a film, though. That was great. So I'm waiting for the five grand or whatever I'm supposed to be getting – I knew it was somewhere around there. I just packed a small bag and I left L.A. with the intention of coming back in, like, mid-January. Back to my apartment where all of my things are. Everything is here: Computer, clothes, bed, guitar, everything. So I go home, waiting for my cheque. Finally my agent calls me in, like, mid-February, after finally the visa came through. "Your cheque's here." "Great! Gimme my money so I can go back to L.A." "Well, it's gone from nine-thousand US dollars. And after taxes and commissions to us and to the manager and to legal fees, your cheque now weighs in at 364 bucks." I was like, dude, roller-coaster. Crash.
GM: But that's US bucks, though.
SM: That's US bucks. We're looking at a solid 550 Canadian. So I just started laughing. I'm like, "Oh, dude, no momentum." Doing a big film! Then crash down, no money. So I gotta stay in Canada. So I stayed in Canada. Finally got my Green Card in July. It's just now, in this moment as I sit here speaking with you, that things are starting to pick back up again in my world, in my wanting to explore everything. My hands were tied before. I had nothing. But a lot of good came out of it. I got to travel across the country. I did a lot of standup in Canada this past summer and over the last ten months. Did some commercials, got some work up there. But everything, by me being up there, informed me how deeply I need to be down here. That's what the whole experience did for me.
GM: Why? I don't get it.
SM: Well, because the resources aren't up there. I mean, Canada, the country, having nothing to do with the industry – I'm deeply, deeply patriotic to Canada. I'm so Canadian and there's not an ounce of me that will ever discard that – but in the industry and from a business point of view, the opportunities are here. I can't grow up there. I grew to a point. But in Canada, you're going to only reach a certain point and then you're going to do the same things over and over again in different forms. And I don't want that. There's just not an infrastructure. The money's not up there. And I'm not talking about money in terms of wealth, I'm talking about to get things done.
GM: Oh, I hear you.
SM: That's what I mean, because I don't care about individual wealth at all. I just want to be free to be able to be fully creative. To be able to do everything that I want to do, I can't be in Canada. It's very limiting. And by my being back up there for the last ten months really showed me how much that is so true.
GM: Although you got lots of work.
SM: I did lots of work, yeah. I did lots of standup. And a few commercials. There were no auditions. All the auditions that I had were for little bit parts in big movies, where if I was here, I would go in for bigger lead roles and parts. They don't cast them up there. They cast all the big roles down here.
GM: When does Purpo$e open?
SM: I don't know. They're still trying to sell it. You might get some information off of IMDB. I gotta go check it myself.
GM: Then, I'm assuming, the big roles will start to come in.
SM: Well, I don't know if it works like that even. Now that I have my Green Card, what's important now is that I'm going to be, in the next year, able to go out and audition for everything that there is to audition for. As opposed to before when I didn't have my Green Card, I could only go out for, like, pilots. In pilot season, you can audition for all the major roles that are in a pilot. But for something like episodes of TV shows, where you want to go in for a guest lead for a show, you can never audition without your papers because if you audition on Tuesday, they might shoot on Friday. In order to get the visa processed in that time, you can't do it. So now that I have a Green Card, and I got my social security number today, by the way...
SM: Thank you.
GM: Is it a good one?
SM: It's a good one. There are some sixes and fours.
SM: (laughs) That was a great reaction to sixes and fours.
GM: There's not much you can say to that.
GM: Shaun, on a serious note now.
SM: Look at my picture.
GM: I'm looking at it... Okay, guys like Kilborne, Jon Stewart. Two really almost arrogant, in a good way, cocky smart asses, funny... They were reduced to whimpering puppies after the terrorist act. And their shows have changed now.
SM: Have they?
GM: Expecially Stewart's. Craig Kilborne is starting to get back into it, but I'm just wondering where you see comedy after this.
SM: After this?
GM: Their comedy was so borne out of our easy lives.
SM: Priorities are changing. It's almost like all of a sudden, someone's had a baby. And I've heard this saying that you live your life and you're carefree and you're doing everything you want to do, and you're just running off to Vegas and getting hookers pregnant and things like that.
GM: Yeah. Like we all do.
SM: Like we all do. But then, when you have a child, all of a sudden, your world, your whole universe changes. And priorities change. I don't know what's going to happen. I have no idea what's going to happen. I think humour will never go away. There's that old thing where comedy is tragedy plus time. Maybe five years from now... I mean, you hear it all over the place right now with people making jokes about different things. I had the thought the other day about how I'd hate to be a guy named Jeff bin Laden right now. That would suck so bad. And then I started thinking about Hitler. I don't know anybody named Amy Hitler. So, you know, I've been thinking about things. Humour, I think, will always be there, but it's how it's communicated on a mass scale. Will it change? I haven't been watching TV.
GM: Can you do the same material?
SM: Yeah. I don't do anything having to do with bombings or terrorists. I used to. No, a long time ago. I think I did a bit one time about the voice recorder of some plane they found. And they think, based on the sound... I can't remember the joke. It's some stupid joke, hacky joke about the voice recorder recording. "It sounded like a big bang." And I made some snide remark. This is when I was just starting out. My punchline was something like, "Well, duh." (laughs) So that would go into the ultra-hip category, I think.
GM: How long did it take you to write that one?
SM: It took a team of seven people. All Arabs.
GM: Working night and day. So speaking of Arabs now.
SM: Yeah? Let's talk about 'em.
GM: So let's talk about you, Shaun Majumder. I just know that being in the States the reaction some people are having to anyone dark-skinned – and you're half...
SM: Picture this: Me and my dad in a white Volkswagon Golf crossing the border.
GM: So how was that?
SM: Easy. It was unbelievably easy. I was shocked, to be honest. I was waiting for them to go through every item, every package of black hash that I had. But nope. They did nothing. They just asked me where I was going, looked at my passport, and I think they looked and saw that I had a Green Card so that makes a huge difference. It does, it really does. I'm not like a straight visitor. "This is my dad." They asked me who the guy was in the passenger seat. "Have a good trip." Looks under the hood, I popped the trunk, they looked in in the back, and I closed it up and off we went. And I was shocked. Forty-five minute wait at the border crossing from Vancouver into Washington and that was it. I mean, there has been some thought of that, but personally I don't think about it too much. I haven't had any problems at all. Some people may have looked at me, but I'm such a hard one to pinpoint, too. It's not as simple as looking at me and going, "Oh, he's Arab." I could be anything.
GM: Yes, I saw that by the number of accents you do.
GM: British proper.
SM: (laughing) I gotta change all that shit. That's so funny.
GM: Parisian. Not just French, but Parisian.
SM: "Zees is my ot dog." That's my Parisian.
GM: So you actually differentiate between southern France and--
SM: No, no, just Parisian. Just in that one city because I've been there a lot.
GM: And then there's Portuguese and Spanish. You do them both.
SM: Yes, Portuguese is like, "Hey, you schtoopid monkey. Hey, schtoopid!" That's Portuguese. And Spanish is, "Chwat?"
GM: (pause) That's it?
SM: That was it!
GM: And then you do Austrian and German. A lot of people can't hear the difference, but you can.
SM: (laughs) I love that you're hi-lighting that. I put that on there a long time... my first résumé! I haven't even looked at it since. I guess I should. It's so dumb.
GM: And even though you do Irish, you don't do Scottish.
SM: Oh, I do. I've worked that in. I guess I should add that then.
GM: You should, yeah.
SM: Yeah. There's a lot I gotta add.
GM: I'm looking forward to this big, big show here. Kevin Pollak is hosting.
SM: I don't know much about him.
GM: You've never seen him?
SM: I just know he's one of the funniest black men this side of Delta.
GM: He does lots of impressions. Do you do impressions?
SM: Well, is it on the résumé?
GM: No, it isn't.
SM: Well, I gotta put it on. I do Pacino.
SM: Yup. And I do the Godfather. Those are the two that I do. So first I'll do Pacino: "(long mumbling sounding a lot like the Godfather)" And that's Pacino.
GM: Is that Grandpa Pacino?
SM: And now the Godfather: "(mumble) gonna eat some pudding (mumble sounding much the same as the first one) ...three-for-one pizza."
GM: Is that the Godfather as played by Bill Cosby?
GM: I thought you said "eat some pudding". Jello-pop pudding?
SM: "(More mumbling a la Godfather)" And that's the Godfather.
SM: (laughs) That's my 'goto', I call it. G-o-t-o, no space.
GM: No hyphen?
SM: No hyphen.
GM: Your goto.
SM: That's right. In Commodore 64 language.
GM: Is that the big killer closer bit?
SM: It will be. I'm working it in now. I gotta figure it out.