It’s lit­tle won­der War­wick’s happy

It’s the dream show for a man of War­wick Davis’s stand­ing, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

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.’’

9.05pm, ABC1

Wed­nes­day,

War­wick Davis, Ricky Ger­vais and Stephen Mer­chant

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