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A Night Too Short

18 March 2012
Ricky Gervais' Q&A for Life's Too ShortSeton Davey/BAFTA New York

BAFTA New York's Tobin Asher looks back at the recent HBO " Life's Too Short," evening with Ricky Gervais and finds it a Night Too Short

After a delightful reception of finger-food and wine, over 120 BAFTA New York members expectantly gathered in HBO's New York screening room to preview Ricky Grvais's new television show, Life's Too Short. Filled with edgy humor, the show was greeted with laughter and a warm appreciation for an outstanding script and flawless acting. Immediately following the screening, actor John Hodgman (renowned for his work on “The Daily Show” and as the PC in the popular Apple commercials) took the stage to continue the entertainment as the moderator. Hodgman’s comedic introduction caused Mr. Gervais to exclaim, "I'm not coming down there; this is too good!"
When the laughter died down, Mr. Gervais made his way to the front of the house where he was welcomed with applause and cheers. Familiar light patter between the two – they had worked together in Gervais’ The Invention of Lying and have been interviewer and interviewee before –began what was to be an informative and amusing Q&A.
Mr. Hodgman began with simple questions: What is Warwick Davis, the star of Gervais’s mocumentary, really like, and does Gervais plan on writing a second season? He assured the audience that Davis’s portrayal of himself was entirely fictional. In fact, according to Gervais, Davis is such a likable person that they had to completely re-write his personality so that people could easily laugh at him.
Gervais then shared the news that the series been picked up for another season. With this answer, he provided an interesting insight into his work. Unlike most television shows, especially in America, he writes or co-writes all of his scripts. Therefore, when he is ready to move on to a new project, he usually stops his previous one. Mr. Gervais is committed to maintaining the integrity of the work and will turn down offers if he cannot write a show the way he originally intended it.
The conversation got progressively more serious (although it was constantly lightened by the inherent humor of both Hodgman and Gervais) and eventually turned toward Gervais’ views on religion, technology, and human interaction in our modern lifestyle. Much of what he said was met with nods of agreement and applause.
The last few minutes were spent covering questions from the audience, which ranged from the best moments of the show to his favorite beer. By the end of the night, both the audience and the talent seemed more than satisfied, although most agreed the end arrived much too quickly. As Gervais left the stage, he was given a standing ovation for a brilliant show, and a humorous, educational, and engaging evening.

--Tobin Asher