No Laughing Matter: Stand-Up Comedian Dies On Stage During Performance

The audience thought British stand-up comedian Ian Cognito was joking when he sat down and fell silent, according to the show's organiser.

British stand-up comedian Ian Cognito has died on stage during a gig.

Medics were called to a club in Bicester, southern England on Thursday night and one patient died at the scene, South Central Ambulance Service said.

Police said the death was not suspicious.

Show organiser Andrew Bird told the BBC that when Cognito, 60, sat down and fell silent, "everyone in the crowd, me included, thought he was joking".

Cognito, whose real name was Paul Barbieri, never achieved wide fame but was highly respected among fellow comedians.

Entertainer Jimmy Carr tweeted of Cognito's onstage death: "That's commitment to comedy. I'll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was".

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Little Britain star Matt Lucas also paid tribute to Cognito.

"He was always kind to me when I started out, and brilliant and provocative and entirely original onstage. What a loss," he tweeted.