Philadelphia comedian Chris Cotton has died, according to several social media posts, including a eulogy from Comedy Central. He was 32. The cause of his untimely death was a pulmonary thromboembolism according to records from Delaware County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A South Philly native, Cotton married fellow Bok high school grad EricaLynn in May 2011. She is expecting to give birth to the couple’s first child this February.
Cotton was known for his work in standup and as writer. He wrote, produced and appeared in the Comedy Central talk show Every Damn Day, and performed in New York City’s Gotham City comedy club. Whatever the venue, his sets often included riffs about his hometown.
A GoFundMe set up to help support Cotton’s family has raised tens of thousands of dollars with big contributions coming from comedy heavy hitters like Amy Schumer, Sal Vulcano, The Lucas Bros and Colin Quinn.
Locally, Cotton performed regularly at the Raven Lounge in Center City, a comedy stage he created with local comics Conrad Roth and H. Foley in 2007 to help provide a platform for comedians of color. and appeared as the special guest at a recent talent event hosted at Henny’s Sports Bar in North Philadelphia. He only just performed at South Street’s Tattooed Mom on Monday, Dec. 9 and spoke at an anti-violence community chat in South Philadelphia on Dec. 6.
“Last night we lost a lot,” a local comedy show series called The Comedy Jawn posted after hearing about Cotton’s death.
Born Christopher Edward George Cotton, the entertainer talks about his South Philly upbringing in his published book, What My Dad Did: My Theory On Joke Writing. The book, he wrote, was designed to help guide comedians through the business of comedy while teaching them how to maintain their art.
“I was born and raised in four different locations in Philadelphia (it matters),” Cotton writes in the book. “The foundation of my stand up was forged in Philadelphia.”
Per his LinkedIn, Cotton attended Cheyney University, a college in Delaware County that’s considered the nation’s oldest HBCU. He had started a company called Center City Comedy in December 2010, state records show.