Julio Torres may have been a writer for “Saturday Night Live” and is the co-creator of HBO’s “Los Espookys,” but it wasn’t that long ago when he was one of countless struggling artists in New York City.
He came to New York 10 years ago from his native El Salvador “the easy way.” “I came here on a student visa that turned into a work visa that turned into an artist’s visa that turned into a Green Card,” he says.
But there were many tough times, especially when he wasn’t able to work legally. “All I wanted was to be able to get a f–king job as a waiter,” Torres remembers. “That’s all I wanted — have a job that pays the bills and be able to go to bars and restaurants with my friends.”
When his bank account was low, his roommate spotted him the rent. When he realized he couldn’t afford the fees it would take to get his artist’s visa, his friends launched a GoFundMe page.
In other words, Torres didn’t get by on his own.
That’s why he’s put together a virtual comedy show fundraiser Friday night for the New York State Youth Leadership Council to support undocumented youth and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I get to do what I love for a living and get to ride out this really horrible time isolated alone in a nice enough apartment,” Torres says. “It really puts into perspective just how lucky I was with my circumstances, that being able to migrate here legally has been such a gift.”
Joining Torres on the “My Sun in Aquarius” benefit will be Aidy Bryant, Fred Armisen, Natasha Lyonne and Nick Kroll. The show is sponsored by New American Economy, an immigration advocacy organization.
“Undocumented workers are the backbone of the backbone of New York City, of any major city really,” Torres says. “To have the hardest jobs but also be legally banished from the protections everybody else is getting is just mortifying. I want them to know that there are people thinking of them and it’s really f–ed up and unfair and it’s not their fault.”
“My Sun in Aquarius” streams live on Friday, May 15, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. Click here to reserve your spot.