Ian Cognito, a popular British stand-up comedian, passed away on Thursday night while performing a routine at the Atic bar in Bicester, England.
He was 60 years old.
According to the bar’s owner, Ryan Mold, per an interview with CNN, Cognito “sat down” at one point in his set, “put his head and arms back; his shoulders were twitching.”
The crowd presumed it was part of his act initially, as Cognito had joked about his health shortly beforehand.
“Imagine if I died in front of you lot here,” he actually, incredibly told attendees.
An ambulance was quickly called after it was clear this was a serious situation because a fellow comedian realized something was legitimately wrong.
Cognito was pronounced dead at the scene upon the arrival of the paramedics.
Andrew Bird, who runs the Lone Wolf Comedy Club, told BBC News that Cognito was not feeling well before he went on stage, yet he wanted to perform anyway.
Cognito began performing as a comic in the mid-1980s.
He was best known for envelope-pushing comedy, claiming to have been banned from more clubs than any other comedian in all of Great Britain.
One of his signature bits involved hammering a nail into the wall and hanging his hat on it.
“This lets you know two things about me,” he explained. “Firstly, I really don’t give a sh-t. Secondly, I’ve got a hammer.”
That’s pretty funny.
Cognito earned Time Out Comedy Award in 1999, earning respect of countless comedians over the years.
Many of them paid tribute to him on social media after learning of Cognito’s death.
Tweeted Jack Whitehall:
“Gigged with him when i first started out and he was always so much fun, had his own mythology on the circuit his exploits where [sic] legendary. A true maverick. Hope he’s found somewhere to hang his coat in heaven.”
And Jimmy Carr:
“I’ll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was.”
And Matt Lucas:
“He was always kind to me when I started out, and brilliant and provocative and entirely original onstage. What a loss.”
We echo the sentiments of those who knew Ian Cognito.
We send our condolences to his friends, family members and loved ones.
May he rest on stage.