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Ricky Gervais previews next project

Talks up 'Life's Too Short' at Banff TV festival

BANFF, Alberta -- Ricky Gervais insists "Life's Too Short," his single-camera comedy pilot for BBC2, is long on laughs.

"It's the funniest thing we've done," Gervais said of his latest collaboration with fellow "The Office" and "Extras" creator Stephen Merchant while attending the Banff World Television Festival.

"It's pure funny," he added about the observational comedy starring Warwick Davis ("Star Wars," "Harry Potter") as a little person with "a small-man complex."

Davis first grabbed the attention of Gervais and Merchant while performing in an episode of "Extras." While on set, he told the writing duo of his frustrations and real-life experiences living in a grown-up world at only 3'6" in height.

"The real Warwick tells us these great stories. They're comedy gold," Gervais recalled.

Davis' real-world experience includes using a broom handle to retrieve out-of-reach supermarket products, or being forever touched by ordinary people for good luck, as if he were a leprechaun.

Gervais and Merchant eventually approached the BBC to turn Davis' comedy material into a half-hour series, albeit one without the pathos of "The Office" or the drama of "Extras."

"He refuses to live his life as a disabled person. We're making him empowered but also give him these foibles," Gervais said of Davis' character.

Gervais, in Banff to receive the Sir Peter Ustinov comedy award, will executive produce "Life's Too Short" along with Merchant and Mark Freeland.