Julio Torres is hoping to cultivate new comedic talents…
The 36-year-old Salvadoran writer, comedian and actor has agreed to a deal with Ars Nova, the Off-Broadway, non-profit theater in New York City, that will see them partner to identify, develop, and commission full-length projects from early-career comedy artists.
Under the partnership, Torres and Ars Nova will look to provide comedians with opportunities for development and production outside of the traditional model of sketch shows and 10-minute sets. They’ll offer funding up front to create brand new, uniquely theatrical shows, while providing mentorship and development resources to the artists involved, the first set for a commission being Ars Nova Vision Residency Alum River L. Ramirez. Others will be announced at a later date.
To celebrate the alliance, the Problemista star will return to the Ars Nova stage on October 26 to host Showgasm. — the theater’s variety-show-meets-party that serves up comedy, burlesque, and more. In addition to the newly commissioned Ramirez, Showgasm. will feature performances by Spike Einbinder, Macy Rodman, and Max Wittert, among others. Tickets are Name Your Price starting at $5 with every dollar going directly to the artists involved.
“This is such a dream—I get to guide Ars Nova into commissioning shows from my brilliant friends, starting with the unique and powerful River L. Ramirez, who has been an inspiration of mine since I met them years ago doing open mics,” said Torres in a statement to Deadline. “Many years ago, John Early introduced me to Ars Nova where I had my first solo show. I’m proud that now I get to put the spotlight on others and give them the resources they need to translate their talent and experience into formal commissions by a welcoming theater.”
Added Founding Artistic Director Jason Eagan, “Julio is a singular talent whose groundbreaking work in comedy and television continues to redefine our culture. We’re ecstatic to have him actively in our community again and inspired by his desire to help the next wave of comedy talent break barriers, by getting their work made and seen. Placing this partnership alongside our ongoing comedy residency program CAMP, led by Matt Gehring and Mahayla Laurence, further cements Ars Nova’s commitment to its comedy, music, theater, and everything-in-between, mission.”
A Brooklyn-based comedian, writer, filmmaker and actor, Torres is best known for his Emmy-nominated and WGA-winning writing on Saturday Night Live, the Peabody and GLAAD Award-winning HBO series Los Espookys, which he co-created with Fred Armisen and Ana Fabrega, and his forthcoming directorial debut Problemista, a comedy he wrote and stars in alongside Tilda Swinton, which premiered at SXSW and will premiere theatrically in 2024, having been one of the many titles pushed out of 2023 amidst the strikes from the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
First performing on the Ars Nova stage in 2014, Torres has also been seen on shows like High Maintenance, Search Party and Shrill, the Ed Helms–Patti Harrison indie Together Together, and on assorted late-night shows, where he’s performed stand-up. His next television series, Fantasmas, will premiere on HBO next year.
Torres previously wrote, produced and directed the comedy special program Pervert Everything for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. They teach performance and public speaking at The Brick Aux in BK, perform experimental comedy at Littlefield in BK, and have been commissioned for original musical and dance-based performances by Baryshnikov Arts Center, Gibney, Ars Nova Vision Residency program, and Moma PS1. Named one of Comedy Central’s Up Next Comedians for 2018, Ramirez has additionally written for High Maintenance and The National Lampoon Radio Hour.