Ian Cognito

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Ian Cognito
Birth namePaul Barbieri
Born(1958-11-21)21 November 1958
London, England
Died11 April 2019(2019-04-11) (aged 60)
Bicester, England
Education University of Bath
Years active1985–2019

Paul Barbieri [1] (21 November 1958 11 April 2019), known professionally as Ian Cognito, was an English stand-up comedian. An iconoclastic performer, Cognito had been compared to Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, and Jerry Sadowitz but never achieved success in the mainstream media, in part at least due to his reputation for being short-tempered. He won the Time Out Award for Stand-up Comedy in 1999. [2]

Lenny Bruce American comedian, activist and social critic

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Bill Hicks American comedian

William Melvin Hicks was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist and musician. His material—encompassing a wide range of social issues including religion, politics, and philosophy—was controversial and often steeped in dark comedy.

Jerry Sadowitz Scottish comedian

Jerry Sadowitz is a Scottish-American stand-up comedian and magician.



He was born in London of Irish and Italian ancestry, and likened arriving at his stage name to Dr Jekyll creating Mr Hyde. He first performed stand-up comedy in 1985, [1] and by 2008 was described as Britain's "most banned" comic. [3] Cognito played with audience's sensibilities, as when winning cheers with an emotive speech against domestic violence and then puncturing it with a lengthy dance to Darius Danesh's hit "Rushes" in his crotchless lime harlequin costume. [4] Part of his act involved bringing a hammer on stage, banging a nail into a wall and hanging a hat off it, following it with the lines, "This lets you know two things about me [...] firstly, I really don't give a shit. Secondly, I've got a hammer". [5]

Stage name pseudonym used by performing artist

A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers, such as actors, comedians, singers and musicians. Such titles are adopted for a wide variety of reasons and may be similar or nearly identical to an individual's birth name. In some situations, a performer will eventually adopt his or her title as a legal name, although this is often not the case. Personal names or nicknames that make up the professional name should not necessarily be considered as a "fake name" like Lady Gaga : for example: Miley Cyrus: born Destiny Hope Cyrus, uses her personal nickname "Miley" and her maiden name "Cyrus" as her professional name, in 2018 she legally changed to kimberlea Ashley carprice kenny.

<i>Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde</i> novella by Robert Louis Stevenson

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a gothic novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1886. The work is also known as The Strange Case of Jekyll Hyde, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde. It is about a London legal practitioner named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" entering the vernacular to refer to people with an unpredictably dual nature: usually very good, but sometimes shockingly evil.

Darius Campbell Scottish singer

Darius Campbell-Danesh is a Scottish singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and film producer. He is currently an ambassador for The Prince's Trust.

In his autobiography, A Comedian’s Tale, he wrote:

I was always pushing the envelope. I regret the dangerous ones and tried not to be too shocking (because that is easy to do). If I did shock, there was always a reason for what I did, even if it was taking my knob out. I was building a contradictory reputation as a dodgement and a great compere. If I was booked, the promoter could no longer plead ignorance. I was sometimes stepping over the line, if not during the show, then afterwards. In fact, I was getting away with murder. Good job I was funny. [6]

His autobiography was originally published on his website in 1995, [1] and appeared on Kindle in 2013, billed as "the best book about comedy I have ever writ". [6] He claimed he had been banned from the most comedy clubs in the country, [5] and to have thrown a television set out of a hotel window "because room service was late". [4]

The Amazon Kindle is a series of e-readers designed and marketed by Amazon. Amazon Kindle devices enable users to browse, buy, download, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines and other digital media via wireless networking to the Kindle Store. The hardware platform, developed by Amazon subsidiary Lab126, began as a single device in 2007 and now comprises a range of devices, including e-readers with E Ink electronic paper displays and Kindle applications on all major computing platforms. All Kindle devices integrate with Kindle Store content, and as of March 2018, the store has over six million e-books available in the United States.


On 11 April 2019, Cognito suffered a heart attack and collapsed on stage during a comedy show in Bicester. This was initially thought by the audience to be a part of the act, until emergency services were called in. The audience was evacuated and he was declared dead at the scene by paramedics. [7] [8] He was praised for his work by fellow comedians Jimmy Carr, Matt Lucas, and Katy Brand. [5]

Bicester town and civil parish in Cherwell district, Oxfordshire, England

Bicester is a town and civil parish in the Cherwell district of northeastern Oxfordshire in England.

Jimmy Carr British comedian and humourist

James Anthony Patrick Carr is a stand-up comedian, presenter, writer, and actor who holds both British and Irish citizenship. He is known for his deadpan delivery, dark humour, and heckler interaction. Carr moved to a career in comedy in 2000.

Matt Lucas English comedian, screenwriter, singer and actor

Matthew Richard Lucas is an English comedian, actor, writer, and singer. He is best known for his work with David Walliams on the television show Little Britain, as well as for his portrayals of the scorekeeping baby George Dawes in the comedy panel game Shooting Stars, both Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee in Alice in Wonderland and its sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Nardole in the tenth series of Doctor Who.

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  1. 1 2 3 "Here comes trouble". Fest Magazine. 22 July 2013.
  2. "Comedian Ian Cognito dies onstage – and the audience think it's part of his act". The Daily Telegraph. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  3. "Funny ha ha". The Scotsman . 17 March 2008.
  4. 1 2 "Beyond Compere". The Guardian . 12 November 2002.
  5. 1 2 3 "Comedians pay tribute to Ian Cognito after standup dies on stage". The Guardian. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  6. 1 2 "'Shit, fan; fan, shit... let's see what happens' : Features 2013 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  7. ""Ian Cognito Dies"". beyondthejoke.co.uk. 12 April 2019.
  8. ""Ian Cognito: Comedian dies on-stage in Bicester"". BBC. 12 April 2019.
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