Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, Shawn began his career as a magician and circus performer, dangling from a burning rope fifty feet in the air while struggling to free himself from a straightjacket. He migrated into stand-up comedy, appearing regularly in renowned clubs from Yuk Yuks to LA’s famed Improv, eventually landing his own show “Switchback” for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. That gig eventually led to Shawn as a replacement host for Joan Rivers on her Live FOX TV talk show.
After his early days as a stand-up, Shawn is perhaps best known as an actor. He has appeared in many films and television series alongside a wide range of talent. His roles include “Corny Collins” in John Waters’ original hit film “Hairspray," a leading role on the long-running daytime drama “The Guiding Light,” and performances alongside Rod Steiger, John Cryer, Eric McCormack, Edward Asner, Michael Rooker, just to name a few. He also wrote and starred in the comedy series “The Newz” for Fox Television. Most recently, Shawn was a lead in the Netflix/BBC family series “My Perfect Landing.”
Shawn is also an accomplished writer and director. In addition to television writing credits, he wrote and directed his first feature film, “Dinner At Fred’s,” for George Harrison’s legendary Handmade Films. The film starred Parker Posey, Christopher Lloyd and Gil Bellows, and was an official selection of multiple film festivals worldwide.
Shawn is a multiple Canadian Comedy and Gemini Award-winner for his direction and has been nominated seventeen additional times for Gemini, Canadian Comedy, and Directors Guild of Canada Awards. His directorial talents were tapped to establish ground-breaking series in both comedy and drama, including the quirky cult hit “Puppets Who Kill,” the award-winning “Less Than Kind”, “Murdoch Mysteries,” and “Sunnyside” for Netflix/City TV. Other directing credits include “The Line” starring Ed Asner and Linda Hamilton, and “Call Me Fitz” starring Jason Priestley.
As a teenager, Shawn was a passionate photographer. Over the past three years, he has re-immersed himself in the medium, now reimagined and informed by his diverse background in comedy, magic, and filmmaking.