A stand-up comedian died on stage during a performance on April 11, but fans had no idea — those in the audience actually laughed, as they thought Ian Cognito’s death was part of his ‘act’.
British stand-up comedian Ian Cognito, who was in his early 60s, died suddenly on Thursday, April 11, during a performance in England, according to the Daily News. Fellow comedians actually confirmed the news on social media and revealed that Ian’s death came as a shock to those in the audience, during his performance. “The audience thought it was part of the act. Died with his boots on. That’s commitment to comedy,” comedian Jimmy Carr tweeted. “I’ll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was.” Jim Smallman, a stand-up comedian, also tweeted his condolences, saying, “A proper comedy legend.”
Ian was in the midst of a performance at The Atic Bar in Bicester, England, when, according to the BBC, he went to take a seat. He then “laid back for five minutes” during the show and people in the audience thought it was part of his act — they even continued laughing as Ian lied down. “We came out feeling really sick, we just sat there for five minutes watching him, laughing at him,” John Ostojak, who was in the audience, told the BBC. After it finally became evident that something was wrong, a staff member called an ambulance, while other employees tried to perform CPR. Meanwhile, audience members were asked to leave the venue. Sadly, Ian was pronounced dead at the scene, the venue’s owner, Ryan Mold, confirmed to CNN.
Mold also revealed that Cognito was a “flamboyant character on stage,” so his actions “didn’t seem unusual” to the audience at first. “We were called at 22:11 last night to Crown Walk in Bicester to a medical emergency. We sent a rapid response vehicle and an ambulance crew but sadly one patient passed away at the scene,” the ambulance service said in a statement to CNN.
Ian, whose real name is Paul Barbieri, performed at clubs since the mid-1980s. His death is a tragic loss for everyone that knew him or witnessed his hilarious acts on stage. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.