Julio Torres and Contemporary Comedy
September 4, 2019 | By Nadia Naeem
A relative newcomer to the comedy world, you have probably never heard of 32-year-old comedian Julio Torres — but you’re probably already a fan of him. During his time writing on Saturday Night Live, Torres was responsible for sketches such as Papyrus, Customer Service (Melania), Drag Brunch, and Wells For Boys.
Photos Courtesy of Sofia Malamute // The Last Magazine
But Torres is just getting started. In his short career, he’s established a strong and unique comedic voice. In addition to writing on Saturday Night Live for four seasons, Torres has appeared on a number of shows, including The Chris Gethard Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Other Two. He has also been a correspondent and guest comic on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and is a leading character on Los Espookys, the HBO show he co-created with Ana Fabrega and Fred Armisen. And on Aug. 10, HBO rolled out Torres’ first special, My Favorite Shapes.
Born and raised in El Salvador, Torres spent his life observing American culture, and later emigrated to New York for college. As a member of the queer community, he has made the “outsider” perspective — and his unique personality — a staple of his comedic method. This is ever-present in My Favorite Shapes, as Torres takes on an ”alien” persona to deliver his niche prop-centric comedy. Torres’ perspective of the world is something that is wholly one-of-a-kind, and he masterfully delivers a hilarious show simply by embracing who he is.
At one point in My Favorite Shapes, Torres says, "I have often been called too niche, to which I’ll say, I have no idea what you could possibly be talking about," as he places a crystal in a tiny chair. He explains that he bought little chairs and little desks for all of his crystals, because he doesn’t know if they work, but he wants them to be prepared just in case. This is just a taste of the off-beat humor in the show, but perfectly embodies the essence of Torres’ comedic style. Viewers will be surprised to find out that some big names lent their voices to the show, including Lin-Manuel Miranda as a little cactus, Ryan Gosling as a blue toy penguin, and Emma Stone as a shoe-shaped shelf holding a number of smaller shoes. All of this culminates in a highly entertaining show that is unlike anything we've ever seen before.
In addition to his special, Torres has seen great success with his Spanish-language show, Los Espookys. Los Espookys follows a group of friends who are passionate about horror and the supernatural, and turn this passion into a business bringing spooks to the people. Along with fellow SNL alum Fred Armisen and emerging comedian Ana Fabrega, this team brings another breath of fresh air to the silver screen. Sitting at 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, Espookys has already been picked up by HBO for a second season.
Torres is just another name to join the ever-expanding list of comedians breaking down stereotypes and creating a more diverse and inclusive environment for the entertainment industry. Trailblazers like Hasan Minhaj, Ali Wong, Jaboukie Young-White, Lilly Singh, and Trevor Noah are just a few of the entertainers who are representing all kinds of people. As our country becomes more and more divisive, we should be proud of the progress made in the entertainment industry and support those who are making a difference by simply being themselves.