The Journal Gazette
Thursday, January 07, 2016 10:10 pm

Couple hope variety tour starts conversations

Keiara Carr | The Journal Gazette

Comedian Krish Mohan and musician Liss Victory don’t argue like regular couples.

"We’re not arguing over who left the toilet seat up. It’s more like philosophical debates," Mohan says.

Differing in race, ethnicity, religion and even citizenship – Mohan was born in India – Victory says their views of the world "makes it even more exciting."

"Really, all of the differences have added to our relationship," she says.

Both Mohan and Victory are hoping to strike up similar conversations with their Transcontinental Tour, which makes a stop today at The Brass Rail.

The two are traveling across the country, setting up local variety shows that not only showcase area talent, but it also helps Mohan and Victory open up a dialogue on social issues within their own mediums.

"We both have this message that we want very much to deliver, and it’s one of positive change," Victory says in a phone interview from Pittsburgh. "It’s not necessarily a specific message like, ‘We need to fix the climate!’ We haven’t zeroed into one specific message, and I think the reason why we haven’t done that is because really what we’re trying to do is create conversations."

The show will feature local music from Mickyle James and The Orange Opera and comedy from Alex Price.

"When you do more independent shows, especially the variety shows, you don’t know what’s really going to happen," Mohan says in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. "There’s this spirit of discovery, which is great. That’s exactly how people should come in to every show rather than this preconceived notion that the second somebody stands onstage, you’re going to laugh or that you’re going to hear the rock ballad that will change your world or whatever."

Dating for six months, Victory says their passion for their work is what brought them together. Mohan recently released his comedy album "Get Krushed Exclamation Point" in November, and Victory’s EP "The Low Lights Make Me Love You" was released this month.

Victory says the initial idea was to take off on a cross-country drive, something Mohan had never done.

Mohan, who admits to being one of the few people to hate vacations, suggested making it a tour.

Mohan approaches race, religion and relationships from an outsider’s perspective, which stems from his feelings of being an immigrant who doesn’t seem to fit into American culture.

"It can be very difficult. I’ve had audiences completely shut down when they disagree. Usually, if an audience is a little bit more open-minded to say, ‘OK, we don’t agree with what you’re saying, but we’re willing to listen and see where you’re coming from,’ that usually leads to some laughter," he says.

Victory writes songs inspired by social injustices and protests, domestic violence and women’s rights. She says that the advantage of working through art is that she and Mohan can construct a safe space.

"I think what we’re doing is creating an environment where people can feel comfortable and safe talking about things that would otherwise scare or intimidate them or just make them uncomfortable," she says. "And I think that’s what we need to do in order to achieve this positive change."

And of course, it’s hard to conceive that one show can change the world, but it certainly can be responsible for a series of smaller changes, Mohan says.

"Starting the conversation is the first step," he says. "And then, once you can have a conversation at the dinner table without screaming at each other, I think we’re headed in the right direction."

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