Stand-Up Comedian Ian Cognito Dies On Stage During Performance 

Ian Cognito

British stand-up comedian Ian Cognito has died on stage during a gig, just minutes after joking about having a stroke.

Cognito was performing at the Lone Wolf Comedy Club at The Atic Bar in Bicester on Thursday night (local time) when, mid-performance, he fell ill and took a seat.

South Central Ambulance Service confirmed the 60-year-old comic died at the scene.

Event host Andrew Bird said the crowd thought Cognito was joking, and continued to laugh. The veteran comedian had not been feeling well before his set but insisted on performing, Bird told the BBC.

“He was like his old self, his voice was loud. I was thinking ‘he’s having such a good gig’.” 

Audience member John Ostojak added: “Only 10 minutes before he sat down he joked about having a stroke.

“He said, ‘imagine having a stroke and waking up speaking Welsh’.

“We came out feeling really sick, we just sat there for five minutes watching him, laughing at him.”

Cognito, whose real name was Paul Barbieri, had been performing gigs since the mid-1980s. He won the Time Out Award for stand-up comedy in 1999.

Tributes have poured in for Cognito on Twitter with comedians Jimmy Carr, Jack Whitehall, and Matt Lucas each remembering the man as a kind and brilliant comic.