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Small in stature, big in laughs: Tanyalee Davis comes to Diss

PUBLISHED: 10:10 26 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:22 26 May 2019

Stand-up comedian Tanyalee Davis, who is also a director of GR8 AS U R anti-bullying charity. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Stand-up comedian Tanyalee Davis, who is also a director of GR8 AS U R anti-bullying charity. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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A Canadian by way of Los Angeles, Las Vegas and North Carolina, Live at the Apollo comic Tanyalee Davis now calls Norfolk home.

Comedian Tanyalee Davis who will be headlinign the latest Corn hall Comedy night in Diss. Picture: The GarageComedian Tanyalee Davis who will be headlinign the latest Corn hall Comedy night in Diss. Picture: The Garage

She might be small in stature, but for the 3ft 6in stand-up comedian things are looking up and she has made a big impact on the UK comedy scene.

"I'm certainly not your average comedian. I have a unique perspective on life, but that is basically comedy gold," she observes.

She will be headlining the latest Corn Hall Comedy night in Diss on May 31, topping a bill that also includes the sardonic Matthew Osborn, BBC New Comedy Award nominee Jake Baker, and MC for the night Jeremy O'Donnell, with his sharp oneliners and surreal observations.

Tanyalee's experiences as a little person are advantageous to her outstanding comedy persona. They set her apart and offer something different to the "same generic material by some white guy," she says.

Matthew Osborn, Jake Baker, and Jeremy O'Donnell will also be on the Corn Hall Comedy bill. Picture: Diss Corn HallMatthew Osborn, Jake Baker, and Jeremy O'Donnell will also be on the Corn Hall Comedy bill. Picture: Diss Corn Hall

Living with a disability can be tough at times but she rolls with it in her brand of risqué and self-deprecating humour: "that is my reality and that's funny!"

The comedian has hit the headlines by highlighting the treatment she has received as a disabled person touring around the country, including one instance when Great Western Railways insisted she moved her mobility scooter from the disabled space.

Her dwarfism — she has a form of dwarfism called diastrophic dysplasia — may be central to her act, but she wouldn't describe herself as a political comedian.

"Not at all, I stay away from that," she explains. "It all about making fun of the situations I sometimes find myself in and not complaining about it. I may face challenges but the overall message is that I can overcome.

"I'd like to think my act is very positive. I deal with social issues as far as physicality and that everyone can be insecure and how you have to work with what you've got.

"I'm very aware of how I'm perceived and I like to tackle how I see how people perceive me. It's a lot of fun basically."

Having previously lived a nomadic life moving from Winnipeg to Calgary to Vancouver in her native Canada, then on to the comedy scenes across the US, its a little surprising to learn the diminutive dynamo now calls Norfolk home.

Whis is a labour of love rather than laughter. "About five years ago I joined on the board of directors of an anti-bullying campaign called GR8 AS U R, though we now prefer to call it a kindness campaign, and that is based in Norwich," she explains. "So I moved to Norwich because I wanted to be involved in that and to go into schools and talk about my life and how it's okay to be different."

- Corn Hall Comedy Club is at Diss Corn Hall on May 31, 8pm, £11 adv/£13 door, 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk

- More about the GR8 AS U R anti-bullying campaign at gr8asur.com

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