Julio Torres is creating a dreamworld of queer comedy that is also deeply personal - Queerty (2024)

Julio Torres is creating a dreamworld of queer comedy that is also deeply personal - Queerty (1)

If you are into hyper-specific niche comedies like Los Espookys, you know Julio Torres.

On the other hand, if you are a long-time Saturday Night Live fan, you know the gay writer/director/actor penned the much loved sketch “Papyrus,” for which Ryan Gosling recently asked Torres to write a sequel.

Torres was a writer on SNL from 2016-2019.

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One of the bigger moves and most personal in Torres’ career is his directorial feature debut, Problemista, which was released earlier this year by A24.

The film also stars Torres as Alejandro, an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador (where Torres was born) who has to navigate the horrendously broken U.S. immigration system after his work visa runs out. He turns to Elizabeth (Tilda Swinton), an erratic art critic, who offers to sponsor Alejandro if he can help her curate an art show of her cryogenically frozen husband’s egg paintings.

As working for Elizabeth becomes its own nightmare, Alejandro dreams feel further and further away.

Torres bringing his fantastical, shape-obsessed viewpoint to something so personal to him, and by proxy incredibly political, on first glance doesn’t seem like it should be a fit. Turns out it’s a natural one.

The 37-year-old tells Alejandro’s tale through the lens of fairytale, making Swinton’s Elizabeth into a hydra, the immigration system a haunted maze full of sudden stops and starts. Torres said he knew he wanted to tell this story based on his own experiences, but it never really clicked for him until he envisioned CraigsList as a monster in the vein of Ursula from The Little Mermaid (played by comedian Larry Owens). This allowed him to dive into Alejandro’s story.

“This movie’s very personal, and so I wasn’t thinking about any sort of political statement. I was just expressing emotion and expressing the heart and emotional ecosystem of this specific character. I’m very interested in just bureaucracy and broken systems. And so I made something that was very specific, that felt very honest and very true. And like you say, it’s low and behold, it’s pretty relevant,” he told RogerEbert.com.

Community is something that also permeates Torres’ work both on and off-screen. Many of the collaborations who show up in Problemista, like Spike Einbinder, River L. Ramirez, and Greta Titelman, were also seen in Torres’ 2018-2022 HBO comedy Los Espookys, which he co-created with Ana Fabrega.

For Torres, working with friends is just the way he works best. “It’s the way that I like to work. It’s what makes very interesting work for me,” he told the outlet.

“I think it’s the reason Tilda and I mesh so well because she was brought up creatively in a similar ecosystem. I just think that’s the best way to work. It’s an expression of love and it’s something made in community and that’s what I hope to keep doing.”

Those collaborations are in the fabric of what Torres makes so wonderfully and unabashedly queer. Los Espookys, about a group of friends who monetize their interest in horror, is a comedy that can’t quite be defined. It’s a mix of Scooby Doo meets a telenovela meets queer fantasia. Once you know the makings of a Julio Torres piece of art—you can’t really go back.

Thankfully, this June, HBO is bringing another one of Torres’ fantasies to the screen with Fantasmas—a six-episode series where he’ll play a fictional version of himself looking around New York for a gold oyster earring he lost.

It’s a safe bet that some of Torres’ frequent collaborators will show up, but most of all, Torres has staunchly made his mark in the bounty of queer comedy resonating with audiences today.

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Julio Torres is creating a dreamworld of queer comedy that is also deeply personal - Queerty (2024)


What is Julio Torres known for? ›

Julio Torres (born 1987) is a Salvadoran-American writer, comedian, and actor. He is known as a writer for Saturday Night Live and as the co-creator, writer, and executive producer of the HBO series Los Espookys. He previously wrote for The Chris Gethard Show on truTV.

Why did Julio Torres leave SNL? ›

Last year, Torres left “S.N.L.” to focus on “Los Espookys,” the outré HBO sitcom that he created with the comedian Ana Fabrega and Fred Armisen, a former “S.N.L.” cast member. Torres plays the heir to a chocolate fortune, who goes into business with his friends producing custom horror and gore effects.

Who wrote the SNL papyrus sketch? ›

During his time at Saturday Night Live, Julio Torres was responsible for writing some of the show's most beloved recent sketches — from Emma Stone's awards-worthy turn in “The Actress” to the emotional melancholy of “Wells for Boys.” But he's perhaps best known for one sketch in particular: the instant-classic “Papyrus ...

Who wrote the papyrus 2 sketch? ›

Yes, Julio Torres did write Papyrus 2.

Who is the Mexican SNL guy? ›

Marcello Hernández (born August 19, 1997) is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He joined the cast of the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live as a featured player before the start of the show's 48th season in 2022.

Who left SNL in 1994? ›

Hartman leaves (1993–1994)

Julia Sweeney left due to frustration and burnout. Another departure was that of Phil Hartman, whose final moment on the show was at the end of a musical number with the entire cast singing a parody of the song "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music.

Is Avatar really just Papyrus? ›

But while the original made a good point — Avatar's logo really did look like a barely-modified Papyrus — the sequel's contention that The Way of Water's typeface is merely “Papyrus in bold” is a flat-out lie, as some fans pointed out.

What is the Avatar font? ›

In preparation for the expansion of the Avatar franchise, Avatar: The Way of Water saw the film series change to a proprietary font called Toruk; Papyrus is still used for subtitles.

Who wrote SNL Wells for Boys? ›

This, of course, is not Torres' first time mining comedy out of fictional toys – when he was a writer on Saturday Night Live, Torres delivered one of the most unique and touching parody commercials in the show's recent years with the 2016 sketch “Wells for Boys.” And, as we found out last night, Colbert was buying what ...

Where is Candra Torres now? ›

Candra Torres remarried and is now known as Candra Robinson. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, close to her children and grandchildren.

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