We caught up with internet sensation Tony Cantwell to talk about Dublin's "booming" comedy scene and the upcoming Vodafone Comedy Festival.

"For a child of divorce looking for attention, things are working out really well," laughs Tony, reflecting on his comedic career thus far. "It's been a huge challenge to transition the Facebook thing to live comedy but it's been really enjoyable."

"The Facebook thing"? Unless you've been undergoing the digital detox of a lifetime, you'll have seen the comedian's viral videos showcasing a host of oddball characters including 'The Dublin Frenchman', Your Ma's Mate' and, most famously, the soft-drink obsessed schoolboy from Clongowes.

Under the name Tony Horror, the funnyman has gained a cult following on social media with 30,000 Facebook followers, 13,500 Instagram followers, and just over 3,000 Twitter followers, all of whom enjoy a variety of memes, impressions, and rants about The Lion King on a near-daily basis. 

However, despite appearances, Cantwell insists that his success didn't happen overnight.

"I had tried stand-up in London, very unsuccessfully, for years," he laughed. "I kept trying to differentiate myself by making these ridiculous Irish jokes but it was very unsuccessful so I took a break for about two years."

Fast forward to 2016, a fortuitous trip to Dublin landed Cantwell on stage at the Cherry Comedy club thanks to fellow-comedian Duane Doogan, who invited him to try out some new material. Thankfully, the gig went well and just like that, the internet-sensation was drawn home to a thriving stand-up career.

"I couldn't believe how many people came out and how well it went. I had no idea, when I was living in London, that the Dublin comedy scene was as booming as it is. There are so many incredible people who are so talented, not particularly cliquey, and actually very supportive of each other." 

Despite moving home, the funnyman doesn't believe that Ireland is generating enough opportunities to give comedians the chance at a full-time career, but - on a happier note - he does consider Dublin to be a melting pot of talented performers, attracting an audience that "probably didn't know they liked live comedy".

"I had no idea how talented the comedians in Ireland were," he says. "I don't think it's been given the spotlight it deserves. There are so many different types of comedy; Enya Martin and Rory's Stories, for example. 

"Look at Dream Gun and what they do with the Film Reads, the fact that people are going to see radio plays and are queuing around Vicar Street to see people read Lord of the Rings, it's incredible. 

"There are opportunities to be made off your own back but it's pure graft, there aren't handouts," he concludes.

If you're already sold on the magic of Tony Cantwell then you'll be delighted to hear, he's coming to a stage near you. The funnyman will be playing the Vodafone Comedy Festival along with an incredible line-up of homegrown and international talent.

"Bren [Berry] has curated very well known people with people who you might not be that aware of," he explains. "Once you go see them, you won't be able to tell the big names from the smaller acts because you'll have people who have been honing their fifteen minutes until it's so tight they could steal the show."

As for his own recommendations, the big names will always top the list.

"I'm a huge fan of Jim Gaffigan, he's one of the funniest comedians going," he said. "Everyone has told me to go see Dylan Moran, apparently, his new set has zero fat - it's just a collection of perfectly worded jokes."

Following Vodafone, Cantwell will make his first-ever appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Show which he is hoping will be just like "a big sleep away summer camp for comedians" before bringing the show home to the Dublin Fringe Festival.

Tickets for Vodafone Comedy Festival are on sale now.