Canadian actor-comedian Shaun Majumder says he’s not angry or upset over his departure from the CBC-TV comedy series “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” but he was shocked by it.
The Burlington, N.L., native announced on social media Monday morning that after 15 years with the satirical news program, he won’t be returning to the new season this fall — a decision he says wasn’t his and is due to creative differences with the show’s producers.
In a subsequent interview with The Canadian Press, Majumder said it happened in June after he wrote a letter to Halifax-based DHX Media with suggestions for how the team could make the show better this coming season, which starts Sept. 18.
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“It was a very positive letter, a very constructive letter and I think they felt like I was overstepping my boundaries a little bit and then they chose to let me go,” Majumder, who was also a writer on the show, said by phone from Burlington.
“So it was an odd thing, it kind of came out of nowhere. I was expecting a phone-call conversation about the letter that I wrote,” Majumder continued.
“Then my conversation with the producer didn’t go the way I thought it was going to go. Basically instead of talking about the letter, they had offered up the idea that I wasn’t happy there — which, I was happy there, I just felt like we could make a better show.
“And they said, ‘No, I think it’s time you move on.“’
A request for comment from DHX Media was not immediately returned.
Majumder joined “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” in 2003 and won a Gemini Award for his role on the show in 2006. His other credits include the film “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” and the American series “The Firm,” “24” and “Detroit 187.”
Majumder owned a home in Los Angeles during his run on the show and spent years flying to and from the “22 Minutes” studio in Halifax.
He heaps praise on the show, but he wants it to be “the absolute best it can be” and has been pushing for changes for a few years now, he said.
“I feel like our show should be a show that is unapologetic — it always has been — and it should be a show that really pushes the boundaries as much as we can,” Majumder said.
Majumder said he also wanted the cast and writers to be more involved in the decision-making.
“There was a lot of funny being left on the editing floor and I just felt like the show was not reaching its full potential, it wasn’t fully optimized,” Majumder said.
He said he hasn’t spoken with the producers since that phone conversation.
“I’m not angry, I’m not upset. I understand this business and I understand that every production team has to have their system work the way that they have it work,” he said.
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“It was very much a shock to me, I was not expecting that conversation to go that way. But I feel really good about where I want to be and what I want to do.”
Majumder said he hopes to continue working with the CBC, and the public broadcaster said it hopes to continue its relationship with him.
“Given the nature of the industry, it’s not uncommon to make a change with a cast member. In fact, this has happened several times over the years with other cast members on ‘22 Minutes,“’ Chuck Thompson, head of public affairs at CBC English Services, said Monday in a statement.
“Shaun made a huge contribution to the success of the program but after a great run, CBC and DHX Media decided to go in a different direction. That said, CBC looks forward to the possibility of working with Shaun again in the future.”