HBO premiered the new comedy series ‘Life’s Too Short’ on Sunday. The show was created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and stars famous little person Warwick Davis. Is this the next ‘The Office’ or ‘Extras’, or does the premiere episode come up a little… umm… short?
Davis plays a fictionalized version of himself, and proudly announces that he’s “the UK’s go-to dwarf.” He both acts (occasionally, when someone will have him) and runs a talent agency for other dwarves. He’s not particularly successful at either. Nevertheless, he struggles to put a positive spin on his situation, mostly because he’s a conceited jerk who refuses to acknowledge that anything could be his own fault. In other words, he’s a typical Gervaisian character.
Like Gervais’ other shows, the series is shot in mockumentary format. In the pilot episode, Davis’ incompetent accountant informs him that he owes a great deal of money in back taxes and has no hope of paying it. We see that his marriage is failing (though he won’t acknowledge it) and his supposedly best pals (Gervais and Merchant) dread it when he shows up at their office practically every day for no reason. In an extended, hilarious bit, Liam Neeson (playing himself) stops by to consult Ricky about how to start a new career in stand-up comedy, even though he has no concept whatsoever of how to be funny. Scenes from future episodes promise a lot more celebrity cameos.
Aside from Gervais and Merchant playing themselves, the show could easily be a new season of ‘Extras’, with Davis taking over the role of struggling actor navigating the fringes of the entertainment industry. Not that this should be a problem. ‘Extras’ was a funny show, and so is this. Davis makes a great charming asshole. Even though he’s essentially just doing Gervais’ schtick, he’s pretty good at it. I look forward to watching again.