At Lafflines Comedy Club, New Westminster, on Wednesday, December 29.
Shaun Majumder has got it all: looks, charm, and a wicked sense of humour. So why does he bother arming himself with cheesecake? There was no reason for him to bribe the audience by serving pieces of the pie to random people during his second sold-out show of the night at Lafflines in New Westminster. Everybody was there to see one of the best comics in the country, a star of such TV shows as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Greatest Canadian, and Cedric the Entertainer Presents.
Majumder had expressed nervousness about his Vancouver engagement on his Web site (www.shaunmajumder.com/) because he hadn't done much standup in the past year. Those jitters didn't manifest themselves in botched lines or wobbly knees. If anything, he relied too much on his rapid wit and improvisational skills, doing his stream-of-consciousness thing for the bulk of the show before realizing his time was winding down and trying to squeeze in all his prepared material. But if there's anyone who can get away with goofing off on-stage, it's the eminently likable Majumder. After laughing hysterically at his act, you go back and try to analyze it, only to find that it had little substance. His delivery and force of personality are what make him so good.
Majumder's jokes are as disparate as his ethnic makeup: his father is Indian and his mother--"as white as the snow was white"--is from Newfoundland, where he grew up. He'll start a nonsense Bollywood song ("If you want to take a ride with me/I'll set the meter at $2.50") and switch to the kindness of Newfoundlanders, who'll donate organs to strangers ("Hand me that shard of glass, I'll give you a kidney"). At one point, he began a story about the gifts he received as a child, like Jovan Musk and books of LifeSavers, then got sidetracked, Don Rickles like, when he spotted a black man. "My African brother!" he declaimed in a James Earl Jones baritone, before moving on to something completely unrelated. He had to ask the crowd what he'd been talking about, saying, "I'm all over the map. You gotta keep me on track."
Majumder gets away with the racial humour (his voices include African, Punjabi, Arab, American, Newfoundlander, and Chinese) mostly because he is, as he describes himself, "beige"--a man of indeterminate ethnicity. But audiences--including the veritable United Nations gathered at Lafflines--also indulge him because he's so disarming. His jabs seem to come from a position of love rather than divisiveness.
The Los Angeles resident is definitely not a message comic; he's more like a buddy who keeps you in stitches with his constant creativity. But if he had a message, it would be summed up in his bit about the Virgin Mary: "You ever look at Mary's face in the nativity scene? She looks a little bit guilty. And so does the guy who brought the gold." He has her explaining her predicament to Joseph, sounding like a Valley girl: " 'Omigod, you're not gonna believe this... Do you not trust me?' " He sums up with, "She told a little lie, and look where we are now."
Majumder is sure to sell out again when he makes a return visit to Lafflines in February. With the rust gone, that show should be even better.