REDUNDANT — A Response

Spoilers ahead! This review will discuss elements of the show that could be considered spoilers. You have been warned.

Upstairs in Q Theatre, a chalkboard listed the upcoming show: REDUNDANT. The front row was filled with eager audiences. Upon walking into the venue, comedian Jess Karamjeet stood at the entrance in a sequin butterfly top and wide navy jumpsuit. She humbly greeted guests and welcomed us to the Loft. On the stage, there was the brown leather couch of the therapist, a side table with a stack of books and an acoustic guitar.

When Karamjeet took her place before the microphone, she encouraged everyone to sit front and centre, bringing everyone close together. The entire show felt like an open, slightly tipsy conversation with your bestie, with her charm exuded through dialogue. This Auckland Pride event was a fantastic contribution to the festival and Karamjeet created a safe space to laugh at the incredible inconveniences of being a minority.

Throughout the evening, Karamjeet would share the story of her life as a little brown girl in England and how she travelled to Australia and New Zealand with the dreamy pursuit of becoming a writer. She expressed her thoughts through song, resembling American musical duo, Garfunkel and Oats. Her singing and acoustic guitar within the cosy environment created an intimate familial atmosphere, like a rowdy cousin claiming the stage at Christmas and ultimately horrifying grandma. Karamjeet has hilarious songs throughout the show, from stories of botox in intimate places to having sex and being worried her dead dad is watching.

Karamjeet uses her life as every possible minority—a disabled, queer Indian woman who was born in the UK and moved to NZ—to tell her autobiographical narrative that inevitably becomes chaotic and unbelievable. These controversial experiences are expertly turned into a hilarious story that’ll leave you questioning your own morals. The room came together to laugh at the self-deprecating humour that comes from being a minority, led by Karamjeet’s brilliant telling of a dark joke with her beautiful British accent and smile.

Auckland Pride at Q Theatre was the perfect place for Karamjeet to be gossiping about her past relationships. Her romantic anecdotes were fun, flirty, and rude in a way that is sure to make the conservative audiences squeamish and contemporary audiences scream. She correctly described herself to a latecomer, “I was a lonely brown girl in school and now I am travelling across the world for minge,” and proposed a very relatable sentiment to all the bisexual girlies: It’s fantastic dating women (they’re so pretty to look at) but boys are just easier to handle.

Throughout the show, Karamjeet revisits her time as a long-time viewer of Australian soap opera, Neighbours, and dreams of becoming a writer on the show. While it would be beneficial to marathon the show to understand the jokes, it is easy enough to pick up. Karamjeet was a writer on the series during its final seasons (before the 2023 restart), working on the iconic gay wedding and introducing the first transgender character. Eventually, with the final curtains on Neighbours, she became redundant, begging the question of whether she was responsible for its cancellation. 

“Jess Karamjeet has a kind personality that will make you root for her and instantly have a high-school-level crush.

After a large portion of the show, Karamjeet takes a rest on the leather couch. The lights dim and create a restful space. This was the perfect time to discuss with her father, who passed away in 2020. This may feel like a morbid topic to present for a comedy show, but she manages to turn her father’s passing into an unbelievable story that deserves to be shared. Karamjeet has an incredibly strong connection to her father, privileging the audience with his memory and sharing his final moments with us. Despite the tricky topic, she easily transforms a tragedy into a dynamic joke (with her dead dad’s approval). 

REDUNDANT was a comedy show that made for a wonderful evening of laughter and comradery. Jess Karamjeet has a kind personality that will make you root for her and instantly have a high-school-level crush. Not content with the multitude of skills she excels at, Karamjeet is also the founder of the Pan-Asian Comedy School Aotearoa, aka PACSA (Laughs), which trains Asian women and non-binary creatives in the art of stand-up comedy.  If you’re looking for “a hot personality and a charismatic body”, you’ll have to catch Jess Karamjeet and Sophie Gibson’s upcoming show, Grief-Sex-Race. In the meantime, we’ll be waiting for her to revive this show.

Featured photo courtesy of Jess Karamjeet.


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