While accepting the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy at the BAFTA-LA gala, Cohen decided to take advantage of the ceremony being broadcast for the first time on BBC America to make it a particularly memorable night of merriment and mayhem.
After being handed "Charlie Chaplin's cane" by a woman introduced as 87-year-old Grace Collington, "the oldest surviving actor to have worked with Chaplin in a silent movie," Cohen mimicked Chaplin's signature walk for a second before promptly pushing poor, wheelchair-bound Mrs. Collington off the stage.
Naturally, the incident was, appropriately, staged — Grace Collington was, in reality, a stuntwoman — but that didn't prevent the audience from initially believing they had just witnessed the death of the last living link to Charlie Chaplin.
Cohen played the prank through, taking to the microphone to deliver his acceptance speech which, according to the LA Times, involved egging the woman's family to "try and sue," adding, "She's dead. Get over it."
"She'll probably make the Oscars In Memoriam section," he offered as consolation, before quickly reminding attendees that "tonight is not about her, it's about me."
As some have pointed out, Cohen's gag appears homagingly reminiscent of Andy Kaufman's infamous Carnegie Hall stunt, which also involved the on-stage "death" of a "last surviving" actress (starts at 2:50):
[video via BBC America]