No joke, Canadian funny-man Shaun Majumder is serious about giving back to his community and it's all being documented in what promoters promise to be a hilarious, heart-warming 12-part series called "Majumder Manor."
Majumder, of "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" fame along with his fiancée Shelby Fenner, embarks on a quest to make the idyllic town of Burlington, N.L. a hot destination spot by building a $2-million-plus, five-star eco-luxe resort. The idea is that it will eventually generate jobs and other knock-on effects in the community.
But it won't be an easy task. The sleepy town of 350 lacks the basic necessities most of us take for granted such as cafes and hotels.
"It started from I love this place. That's it. That's the first thing," Majumder says in the first episode that premiered on W Network on Monday.
"My drive and my desire is to bring as many people to Burlington as I can, to share that place with as many people as I can," he says. "But the flip side of that is there's nowhere to stay and there's nowhere to eat."
Majumder's hopes include "drawing adventurous travelers to my hometown so that they can experience what I have been bragging about for years: that rural Newfoundland is one of the most amazing places on earth!"
In the series, expect to see a lot of nature as the Gemini-award winning, Los Angeles-based actor lays out the blueprint for his grand plan.
The following is a condensed and edited version of an interview with Majumder.
Has your family always been that funny or are they really hamming it up for you and your show?
"The thing about our show is that everything is natural, true, it's real. That's how we are ... Last night we had our little party and we screened it all together and I mean, yeah, we were cracking each other up all night. It's quite fun ... it's just the culture of chitchat in Newfoundland. It's kind of a survival mechanism around the dinner table. You've got to be able to keep up, be witty."
Did you ever think you would be a project developer?
"At first it was just going to be just a house for me and the filmmaker in me went, hey, we need to bring David Suzuki here, we need to do a documentary film about me building in my home town, we're going to do something environmentally responsible. That's what the film will be about. But then it evolved into I'm not going to be there all the time maybe I don't build my own house. Maybe we build something there that the community can benefit from. Then I started learning a little bit about social enterprise and that married with the idea of rural sustainability."
What kind of kind of reception have you gotten from the series so far?
"Based on Twitterverse, it's been very positive. There's a lot at stake for me personally. My name's on it, we created it, it's my town, my family. So I'm really nervous about putting that out there ... It's a unique project and it's a unique television show, and merging those two together is the biggest challenge to make sure both are honored."
You've said the project is started as a seahorse and has turned into a monster. Do you still know why you are doing this?
"It's evolved. I think it's evolved for a reason. It's almost like I was naive to think in the beginning that it could be just a little small house. I could do that, I could build my house and keep it really simple, but when you start opening up the doors, you start looking at the potential, you start looking at OK if I build something there on that piece of land and I create a micro-economy ... is that going to be sustainable, is that viable, then maybe I need to consider making it bigger. It grows on its own ... You cannot move forward on a project like this without considering all the factors. It became, instead of just building one building, it became a community development project."
What's your plan B if this doesn't work out like you want it to?
"The plan B is not, hey, not to do it. There is no, not to do it. There's always going to be A,B,C,D, E and F. There's always go to be alts, there's always going to be evolutionary changes based on what's happening in front of me and based on timelines."
Have you even been tired of it all and can you describe a moment in detail when you wanted to toss the whole thing out the window?
"No, no, it never has happened. In fact it gives me great energy to think about the momentum here. I have a very clear vision. I know what the end game is."