Chris Cotton, an up-and-coming comedian from Philadelphia who Comedy Central made one of first hires in 2018 for its Creators Program, has died unexpectedly. He was only 32.
“We’re devastated by the loss of Chris Cotton – a hilarious comedian, a beloved member of the Comedy Central family and a joy to be around,” Comedy Central announced Wednesday on Twitter. “He will be missed.”
Cotton, a South Philly native, helped his hometown comedy community by starting rooms at Raven Lounge and elsewhere, a regular on the scene at the Punchline, Laff House, Center City Comedy, Helium and the like.
as part of Comedy Central Creators, he had co-written and co-starred in the network’s weekday talk show, Every Damn Day, which broadcast on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel.
The network also had Cotton working the red carpet for the Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis.
Cotton just headlined Carolines on Broadway last week (Dec. 3), and had gotten booked to perform on this coming weekend’s Isola Fest put together by Hannibal Buress. Buress wrote: “A few weeks ago Chris Cotton randomly hit me up to thank me for a gig I got him YEARS ago that led to some other work for him. I was in the middle of booking Isola Fest and booked him during the call. I was psyched to see him this weekend. RIP.”
Sal Vulcano from Impractical Jokers added: “So sad to hear about Chris Cotton. He was always kind and always real. And I always noticed him helping others get work and get booked. (including myself) His wife is due in February. Heartbreaking.”
Cotton first popped up on TV screens via Gotham Comedy Live in 2015. Around that time, he also became a fixture on Artie Lange’s podcast that he had begun in his kitchen in New Jersey.
Cotton self-published a memoir in August, “What My Dad Did: My Theory on Joke Writing.”
Because of his stature in Philly, so many comedians poured out their positive memories of Cotton upon learning of his death.
In late October, though, Cotton shared some real talk with friends on Facebook.
One year ago today I was living in North Jersey and working at Comedy Central in NYC. Dealing with the most depression I’ve ever had to deal with thus far. Don’t get me wrong, I am super grateful for all opportunities I was blessed to experience.
But, being in Nyc was extremely depressing and lonely. I was doing a lot of things most comedians would kill for but my wife, family and friends weren’t there. They say “home is where the heart is”. My heart was and still resides in Philly, so I moved back to Philly.
Yes, I still suffer from depression (I’m going through a flare up as I write this). Now when I going through these flare ups of depression I can go physically be with my wife, family and friends. Being able sleep next to my wife, pop up on my dad or grab a drink with a friend makes the world of difference for me.
Let’s get it straight, My comedy career was beginning to go great in Nyc but I was crashing on the inside. In philly my comedy career has been doing very well. For me, moving back to philly has done a ton for my mental health.
Listen, I wholeheartedly believe every comedian needs to spend some time in LA or NYC at some point. I also know you need to pay close attention to your personal mental health.
Lastly, I’m posting this because I’m laying next to my sleeping pregnant wife. I’m slightly depressed (my normal “healthy” amount), feeling happy to be laying next her. Instead of living in another state. Blessings appear differently for all.
After performing on the road since Thanksgiving, he returned to record a new episode of his East Roast Podcast, and just a few days before his passing, Cotton talked about everything that was going on in his life and career.
He joked on this podcast about folks donating to baby registries online.
Friends already have raised more than $30,000 for his wife, Erica, and their unborn child, due in February. You can still donate on GoFundMe.
Memorials and tribute shows are planned but not yet scheduled in both Philadelphia and New York City.