As we suspected, Julio Torres has done something groundbreaking with his new comedy special My Favorite Shapes. Torres has managed to make prop comedy vulnerable, deep, personal in the way that the rest of stand-up comedy has been for the last few years.
Prop comedy usually conjures up some sort of mysteriously big box that some sort of high energy comedian picks weird, often Frankenstein-ed items that are a visual punchline/aid to some cheesy one-liner. It’s so hackneyed that it’s often made fun of by many other comedians playing a prop comic that has some sort of breakdown in the middle of their intentionally cheesy set.
Every detail of My Favorite Shapes seems so stylized in a some sort of ethereal-80s-parallel-universe way, coming from the very soul of Julio Torres to be cleverly shared in little joke morsels. The shapes do operate similarly as any sort of comedic prop, but the structure and narrative of the show and the consideration to have this conceit of Julio “sharing his favorite shapes” brings into Julio’s mystical, weird, and wonderful world (that’s often in miniature). Also, for all the supposed pretension one might think is running amok in this special, it’s pretty accessible and self-aware of its own indulgence, which is a pretty fun gag in its own right. To our knowledge, we haven’t seen props used so frequently to such great comedic and emotional effect.
My Favorite Shapes, for our money, is something that will indeed move the needle forward for the art form of comedy. Additionally, we like the big chances that HBO is taking in comedy specials recently (Drew Michael, Feelings, Home Videos).
Go watch and enjoy and revel in My Favorite Shapes on HBO GO or HBO NOW.