It’s little wonder Warwick’s happy
It’s the dream show for a man of Warwick Davis’s standing, writes
OT long ago, Warwick Davis, the 107cm star of the new comedy Life’s Too Short, and his wife Sam, who is also a dwarf, attended the christening of their friends’ new baby.
The couple, who had been asked to be the godparents, were invited to come forward during the ceremony by the vicar, who referred to Davis and his wife as Warwick and Samantha.
The child’s mother corrected the minister, saying their names were actually Warwick and Sam. The vicar replied, ‘‘Oh, she’s shortened that as well, has she?’’
At which point, Warwick Davis doubled over laughing and couldn’t stop.
‘‘The poor vicar didn’t know what she’d said,’’ Davis says.
‘‘I actually find it really sweet that people want to be careful with what they say, that they don’t want to offend. But there are times when it can get in the way of a nice chat. It’s a very politically correct world and we’re all a bit afraid of saying something that causes offence.’’
Given this line of thinking, it’s only natural Davis has joined forces with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, two comic talents who’ve made a grand career out of walking the fine line between amusement and offence.
The three have teamed up for Life’s Too Short , a six-part sitcom in which Davis plays himself . . . sort of.
The show’s protagonist has the actual Davis’s long list of acting credits, including roles in Return of the Jedi, the guiltypleasure Leprechaun horror-movie franchise and all eight films in the Harry Potter series.
But unlike the actual Davis, the TV character is a manipulative and exploitative egomaniac running a talent agency that specialises in short-statured performers.
Life’s Too Short had its origins when Davis made a guest appearance on the Gervais-Merchant comedy Extras. (Like Extras, Life’s Too Short is studded with celebrity cameos, including Johnny Depp and Liam Neeson hilariously dropping in.) Davis cracked up the series’ creators with anecdotes about his acting career and his everyday life.
‘‘As an example, I went to the bank – one with those automatic sliding doors – and the sensor doesn’t pick me up, so I can’t get into the building,’’ Davis says.
‘‘So I’ll be out the front, sort of dancing around frantically trying to get this sensor to read me, and meanwhile there are people inside looking out at me, wondering if they should come and help or just stay there.
‘‘It’s not just my experiences but the experiences and reactions of people around me, people who are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. And the more they try not to, the more they do.’’
More often than not, it’s Davis’s bad behaviour on Life’s Too Short that’s the butt of the joke. And while his short stature is occasionally played for laughs – with Davis relishing the opportunity to engage in some slapstick – it’s more his outsized ego, sense of entitlement and desire to keep himself in the spotlight that provide the punchlines.
‘‘Everybody should have a sense of humour about themselves,’’ Davis says.
‘‘I’ve got two kids, eight and 14, and they’re both short, and what I say to them is, if they can have a sense of self-belief and a good sense of humour about themselves and the world, then they’ll go far.’’
Warwick Davis, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant