You probably haven’t met a comedian quite like the Space Prince.
That’s Julio Torres’ username on Instagram, which is his platform for dry observational humor and long-winded dispatches from his companion, Krisha—a small rock painted bright orange with big eyes and a sly smile. (Her lipstick is impeccable.) Julio —a writer, actor, and comedian— had a breakout moment as a writer on “Saturday Night Live” in 2016, and his following has been steadily growing ever since.
During his time at “SNL,” Julio created innovative and exciting sketches for the show, many of which went viral: “Papyrus,” “Wells For Boys,” “Melania Moments”… the list goes on. But after a few years, Julio decided to leave 30 Rockefeller Plaza and strike out on his own.
In 2019, he released a comedy special for HBO called, “My Favorite Shapes.” That same year, he also co-created the hit television show, “Los Espookys,” which he also writes, produces, and acts in. And this year, he took an unexpected turn into children’s literature with his new picture book, “I Want To Be A Vase.” He’s currently working on two new series for HBO and HBO Max, along with writing, directing, and starring in his filmmaking debut for the production company A24.
Julio immigrated from El Salvador to the U.S. for college, doing the rounds in New York City’s stand-up scene before finding steady employment and securing a green card. He says his background and experiences inspire his work, even if that’s not always front and center. It took a minute for the entertainment industry to realize that.
“I felt like I had to take a little longer to sort of prove that I am valuable,” he said. “Not because of what I look like or what I was born as, but because of the way I think, which is incidentally informed from where I come from and who I am.”
Julio’s work is highly visual and deeply inquisitive, often focusing on everyday objects or routines and giving them a surreal twist. His work will take you into the psyche of a Ferrero Rocher chocolate, empathize with the never-ending work of a Brita water filter, and leave you wondering if your toilet plunger has a dream job outside of the bathroom. He will ask you to accept the mythological while sharply lampooning U.S. immigration policy. Julio’s drawn to asking questions about the status quo, but he’s more interested in mining the humor from it than landing on any answers. That part’s up to you.
“I really am a believer that if you let an artist be who they are, you just need to trust that identity is a part of that,” he added. “If a work of art is honest, then it doesn’t matter how narrow or broad that point of view is. It will honestly attract some audience.”
On this episode of Latino USA, Julio Torres talks about developing his own comedic style, his journey in the industry, and how he enjoys challenging audiences to look at the world from a different perspective.
Featured image courtesy of David Brandon Geeting.