We sat down with comedian Stephen Mullan to discuss the Vodafone Comedy Festival, Argentinian humour, and his connection to Love Island.
"My father was a born-again Christian preacher, my mother is from Buenos Aires, and I grew up in a working-class council estate, so it made for plenty of comedy growing up," laughed Stephan Mullan, describing an upbringing that would quickly become a treasure trove of material.
"My dad was a performer of sorts, I suppose, but my comedy side definitely comes from my mother," he continued. "There's a different sense of humor with the Argentinians, I get the creative side from her."
When it comes to labeling a country by its comedy, many would describe Irish wit as being sarcastic, self-deprecating or at the very least, a tad facetious. Whether it be the twisted duo of Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in In Bruges or the unpredictable stylings of Dylan Moran and Tommy Tiernan, Irish comedy has always had a little bit of an edge.
According to Stephen though, when it comes to gallows humour, Argentina has us blown out of the water.
"It's definitely darker," he laughed. "In Latin culture - specifically in Argentinian culture - you would say everything that you're thinking, which is a very un-Irish thing. There's definitely a craic element to it. Sometimes people think my mother is being rude, but she's actually just thinking out loud."
When it comes to transforming dark and deeply personal events into a side-stitching 5-minute anecdote, look no further than a stand-up comedian. From poor life choices to the depths of grief, certain comics can always find the funny side - a talent that Stephen cultivated from a young age.
"In my teens, I ended up in a psychiatric ward with drug abuse issues and depression and, thankfully, I got through the other side of that. That's when I started getting into the arts and the artistic attitude is: no matter how dark things get, there's always something beautiful in it."
"It was the type of comedy I always loved," he continued. "Richard Pryor would talk very openly about the tough things he went through, but always made it funny. That's why I wrote my debut album Son of a Preacher Man, which is about my issues with suicide* and depression. Thankfully, I get a lot of young men messaging me after they see the show, thanking me for talking about men expressing themselves."
The area of mental health has become a particular interest of Stephen's, so much so that he launched a podcast called Hello Stevo which aims to find the funny in everyday life, even - or perhaps especially - on the toughest of days.
"I've lived a life where the dark and the funny are actually really close to each other. I've found that I was able to have conversations with people who really opened up. I don't necessarily know what they have going on, but through having a laugh, they open up and talk about things they're really struggling with. Crying and laughing are very close to each other."
"I still struggle when I'm really angry or really down about something," he quickly added. "I'm not great with expressing it, but I have noticed a change [in Ireland] since people like Blindboy have opened the world up for young people to say they're having a bad day.".
Now, keep in mind, Stephan Mullan is no one-trick pony. Before you write the Corkman's material off as gallows humour, you need to see his cheesy side. Every night, before you binge on Love Island (don't lie, we know you love it) you can catch the funny man milking puns in a series of pro-dairy advertisements.
"There was no context when we were filming," he laughed. "They kept asking me to refer to relationships which made no sense. Then, halfway through the shoot, I found out that the ads would be opening for Love Island."
The reality TV fave is on track to earning some of its biggest ratings yet, and Stephen has received more than a few messages online following his pre-show appearances. But have the social media reactions translated into ticket sales?
"The reaction has been good fun. You get messages and pictures from your aunt down the country, with her two kids pointing at a billboard with your face on it, that's about the height of the fame," he laughed.
Following his Love Island-aligned stardom, the comic will bring Son of a Preacher Man to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where he will perform from July 31st to August 1st in the Gilded Balloon.
However, if you're hoping to catch him on Irish soil before then, he'll be on stage in the Iveagh Gardens this July bank holiday for the Vodafone Comedy Festival.
As well as American all-stars, Jim Gaffigan and Michelle Wolf, Stephen recommends catching John Spillane in action: "You can not describe what he does but he'll make you laugh, that's for sure."