Torry was born and raised along with his brother, actor and comedian Guy Torry, in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, where he earned a B.A. in mass communications/broadcast journalism. While attending school, Torry pledged Omega Psi Phi fraternity. In 2001, Lincoln honored him with both The President's Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2002 an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Humane Letters. He was also inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame in 2001 where many other famous African-American college alumni have been inducted as well. Joe married his wife Chrystal Benson-Torry and they have two kids Joseph II and Chrysette Jolie. Joe also has a teenage son named Kameron.
They reside in Los Angeles now.
Torry began his acting career around the age of 23. He made spot appearances in films such as House Party and The Three Muscatels. He also made guest appearances on television shows including Def Comedy Jam, Roc, and Amen. It wasn't until 1992 when Torry would receive his big break, he was given the job of hosting Def Comedy Jam after Martin Lawrence left the show. This gave him is largest audience to date and a lot more air time. This also brought Torry larger roles in newer movies. He starred in Poetic Justice, Sprung, and Tales from the Hood among others. He has also been in various commercials for large corporations such as Anheuser Busch, Pepsi, and Nike.
Joe founded the Giving Back the Love Foundation in 1996. With this foundation, he gives back to his hometown community (St. Louis) through youth and community programs. Torry has recently developed and begun his own production company. His production company is called MO Films and he started it in 2003. With this company Torry plans to bring filmmaking to the Midwest and help other actors, musicians, and artist showcase their talent. He works many times with his brother, Guy. He has also been writing and producing projects for his company and plans on directing in the future.